The Chargers didn’t play their worst game this season against the Vikings, but it might as well have been when it came to letting pivotal moments slip from their grasp.
Minnesota’s run game only mustered 103 yards on the ground and averaged 3.1 yards per tote. That’s a big win for the Chargers’ run defense compared to how they perform most weeks. Unfortunately, it was the banged up secondary that was the squeaky wheel in what otherwise was a pretty decent defensive performance. The pass rush was active and the Vikings were faced with quite a few third-and-longs.
However, while the defense didn’t give up a ton of big plays, they struggled to stop the Vikings on the most important ones. That’s why this game felt so bad yet showed a bit of a different game on paper.
Drops were also huge in this one. Mike Williams, Jared Cook, Austin Ekeler, and Jalen Guyton all let passes soar in and out of their hands. If it’s not the injury bug, it’s something else keeping them from consistently playing to their potential.
I’m fine. We’re all...fine.
At any rate, here are this week’s “Surge or Static” players from week 10.
RB Larry Rountree
Rountree took a handoff at the goal line and soared over the top to score the first touchdown of his NFL career. He followed it up with one of the most-enigmatic touchdown dances I’ve ever seen and from that point on, it would have felt wrong not to place him among this week’s winners.
While he only finished with 10 rushing yards, him showing that he can finish near the goal line will do wonders for the coaching staff’s confidence in him going forward.
LB Kyzir White
White has played like a man on fire this season and it’s been one of the better storylines up to this point in the season. He tied Derwin James with a team-high 12 total tackles against the Vikings, including a bone-crushing tackle for loss on running back Dalvin Cook. He finished Sunday’s game with a 70.6 game grade from PFF, good for fifth-best on the defense.
In coverage, White allowed three catches on four targets but limited them all to a combined 18 yards. He’s done a phenomenal job of rallying to the ball and each week it seems he makes at least one play that causes the entire team to erupt.
There’s another contract in his future if he’s able to keep this type of play up.
EDGE Uchenna Nwosu
Nwosu arguably had his best game of the season against the Vikings where he played a major role in limiting their run game to under 4.0 yards per carry. He set the edge with force and finished with a pair of tackles for loss. His active play in the first quarter really helped set the tone early on but it unfortunately led to zero points in the opening period. Regardless of the outcome, this is the type of performance we’ve been expecting of Nwosu for quite some time. If he can replicate it going forward, this pass rush could instantly look a lot better than they have up to this point in the season.
QB Justin Herbert
Herbert’s ability to go from rising star in the NFL to middling performer has been much to erratic in recent weeks. Since the team’s shootout against the Browns in week five, here are his performances over the past month:
- VS. Ravens - 22-of-39 for 195 yards snd one touchdown (one interception)
- Vs. Patriots - 18-of-35 for 223 yards and two touchdowns (two interceptions)
- Vs. Eagles - 32-of-38 for 356 yards and two touchdowns
- Vs. Vikings - 22-of-39 for 195 yards and one touchdown (one interception)
Over the past four games, he has twice thrown for under 200 yards. Before the game against the Ravens, Herbert had only one such game to his name.
Blame it on a sophomore slump, Joe Lombardi’s play-calling, or the drops by his pass-catchers, but something isn’t right with this offensive unit and it’s hurting Herbert’s stellar start to his career.
CB Tevaughn Campbell
This was going to be a tough game for anyone, but Campbell allowed just the second receiver this year to go over 100 yards receiving against the Chargers. He finished the day with the Chargers’ lowest individual PFF grade on defense at 49.0, allowing seven-of-eight targets in his direction to be caught for 127 yards.
Last week, Chris Harris was in this position for the same reasons. They weren’t up to the task of defending the opposing team’s best wideout and were burnt to a crisp by the end of the game. The Chargers are are probably missing Michael Davis something fierce right about now. Right next to right tackle and defensive tackle, I’ll have cornerback right up there at the top of the team’s draft needs come April.