Regardless of the score being a little too close for comfort at the end, the Chargers were able to do exactly what they needed to in order to end the game with the ball in their hands. That was the expectations set by Brandon Staley following their week one game against Washington and it was good to see the team get back to that this Sunday in Philly.
Plenty of players stepped up against the Eagles which always makes a article like this harder than usual. Regardless, we’ll get the job done just like the Bolts did on Sunday.
Without further ado, here are your “Surge or Static?” players from week nine. Enjoy!
TEs Stephen Anderson and Donald Parham
I freaking love these guys. Seriously. They don’t make a ton of pays, but when they do, isn’t it some of the coolest stuff you’ve seen all season?
The pair of tight ends combined to haul in seven catches (on seven targets) for 78 yards and two touchdowns. Anderson got the scoring started in the first quarter while Parham’s came halfway through the third quarter.
Parham’s touchdown was one heck of a play. He took a flat route near the line of scrimmage and turned it into an eight-yard touchdown after stiff-arming Eagles cornerback Darius Slay into the dirt. Normally we see Parham sidestep or use more finesse when avoiding tackle attempts, but this time is was refreshing to see him use his lengthy appendages to get the job done.
QB Justin Herbert
Herbert is back, baby.
After two porous outings against the Ravens and Patriots, Herbert rebounded by throwing for 356 yards and two touchdowns on 32-of-38 passing. He also added an eight-yard touchdown run to put the Chargers ahead early in the fourth.
In this game, Herbert became the fastest quarterback to 600 completions in NFL history. He became the first to do it within the first 25 games of his career, despite actually only needing to do it in 23.
Next up, a Vikings defense that’s allowed at least four touchdowns in their last two games when facing a team’s starting quarterback — the exception being Cooper Rush for Dallas last week.
DT Linval Joseph
I thought several players along the defensive line looked great against Philly, but Joseph seemed to standout early and often throughout the night. With the Eagles taking a run-first approach for obvious reasons, Joseph worked like a dog to disrupt the middle running lanes. He had a number of notable stops and unsurprisingly finished tied for the team lead with nine tackles. That’s one heck of a number for a true nose tackle.
After looking like his age against both the Ravens and Patriots, it’s a huge deal that he was able to look this good against an All-Pro like Jason Kelce.
The Chargers’ interior active early on against the Eagles offensive line.— Gavino Borquez (@GavinoBorquez) November 7, 2021
~Jerry Tillery beats Jack Driscoll to pressure Jalen Hurts.
~Linval Joseph with a run stop at the LOS.
~Justin Jones gets pressure to force Hurts out of the pocket. Joey Bosa cleans it up. pic.twitter.com/FOwcq5EvKS
OC Joe Lombardi
I know the Chargers won. I know they scored 27 points. That doesn’t change the fact that too many points were left on the board and too many times the Chargers ran the ball at objectively-inopportune moments.
For starters, the Chargers’ first drive of the game ended at the one-yard line after the offense had first-and-10 at the two. After the first, second, and third-down plays, the Chargers had actually lost a yard. Ultimately, the fourth-down pass to Allen was a yard short of the goal line.
Secondly, the Bolts ran the ball on several second-and-10 situations despite averaging a little over two yards per carry for most of the night. On the opening drive of the second half, the Chargers chucked the ball all over the field which led to first-and-10 at the Philly 13. After throwing an incompletion, Lombardi called a draw play that went for no gain. In that moment, that close to the goal line, chances are the ground game isn’t going to pop off. Recent history would point to throwing the ball again since your quarterback was rarely misfiring. Third down amounted to a scramble for one yard by Herbert which ultimately led to a field goal instead of what could have been seven.
It was just excruciatingly frustrating because those are the types of plays that put this offense behind the chains way more often than not. Luckily, Herbert was on tonight. But as we saw in the prior two games, if he’s not all there then those types of play calls could easily cause this unit to sputter out.
He’s lucky the Bolts pulled this one out or else we’d start having some serious conversations about how hot Lombardi’s seat is getting.
CB Chris Harris Jr.
Harris hasn’t been all that bad this season, but he looked very much his age in this one as he was beat consistently by last year’s Heisman Trophy winner, receiver DeVonta Smith. The former Alabama standout ended the night with 116 yards and a touchdown, marking just the second time this season that’s he’s notched over 100 yards and/or found the end zone.
Chris Harris is still plenty valuable to this team, but the situation that arose following the injuries to both Michael Davis and Asante Samuel Jr. forced Harris into coverage situations he’s just not suited for anymore. He’s strictly a slot/short area defender as a corner at this point in his career and asking him to guard some of the young, talented wideouts of the next generation is a quick way to earn yourself some deserved frustration.
He allowed all four of the targets thrown his way to be caught for 80 yards and a touchdown and ended with the worst coverage grade for a Chargers defender on Sunday (40.5).
If neither Davis or Samuel can return this week, the secondary is going to be in for a rough time against the Vikings’ duo of Justin Jefferson and Adam Thielen.