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Chargers Week 3 “Surge or Static?”: Mike Williams is playing up to his high price tag

Justin Herbert finished his first clean game of 2021, as well.

NFL: Los Angeles Chargers at Kansas City Chiefs Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

The Chargers went into Arrowhead Stadium on Sunday and walked out victorious behind a four-touchdown performance by Justin Herbert and four huge takeaways from the defense.

This game was full of strong performances by Chargers players but I did my best to highlight the three best outings. On the other side, I highlighted two players who definitely need to hit practice hard this week and come back stronger on Monday night against the Raiders.

Without further ado, this week’s “Surge or Static?” players of the week.

Surge

WR Mike Williams

What has gotten into Williams lately? Following an offseason in which many — including myself — believed he wasn’t worth the $15 million price tag, Williams has consistently used his big play to make us eat our words for three-straight weeks. As of this moment before the Monday night game, Williams is currently sixth in receiving yards, fifth in total catches, and tied for second in the NFL with four touchdown catches.

Against Kansas City, he caught seven passes for 122 yards and two scores. Most of those catches were big-time plays. Whether it was a third-down conversion, drawing a penalty to continue a drive, or the aforementioned scores, Williams is truly on another level this year.

QB Justin Herbert

Herbert saved his best performance of the young season for when he and the Chargers needed it the most.

The reigning Offensive Rookie of the Year threw for 281 yards and four touchdowns to no interceptions against one of the best team’s in the NFL. He also converted numerous third downs and currently leads the NFL in third-down conversions by passing as Monday morning.

His smart play, combined with the calculated risks he takes in lock-step with Brandon Staley, has made for quite the pairing and I’m not sure the NFL knows what it’s about to get in the coming weeks.

CB Tevaughn Campbell

Stepping in for an injured Chris Harris Jr., Campbell was tasked with defending the slot against Kansas City and that usually means going head-to-head with Tyreek Hill on more than one occasion. While Hill may have won a few battles, it was Campbell who eventually won the war in large part due to a pair of fumbles he forced in the first half. Both takeaways were turned into touchdowns and the Chargers needed every bit of those points to pull out another nail-biter in Kansas City.

Campbell finished the game with four total tackles and two passes broken up along with his forced fumbles. He also finished with the team’s second-highest defensive grade by Joey Bosa with a 77.1 overall.

Static

K Tristan Vizcaino

In a game that essentially came down to the wire, Vizcaino put himself in a position to hurt the Chargers more than help them as he missed two of his three extra point attempts. The first came on the team’s opening touchdown of the game in the second quarter and the second came on the game’s final score that put the Bolts ahead for good.

That first one reeked of “this will come back to bite us in the end” but luckily the offense was able to convert a two-point conversion to erase that early mistake. The second missed extra point forced the Chargers to play with even more pressure in the final minute as a Chiefs touchdown could effectively win the game at that point.

Luckily, neither miss hurt all that much in the end, but this is just another pitiful outing for a Chargers kicker who was kept to replace the previous kicker who also couldn’t make extra points. Will the bad kicker luck ever end?

LB Kenneth Murray

It’s still early into his second NFL season and first with a new system, but the initial returns on Murray’s progression haven’t reaped much to be positive about. All of that athleticism and explosiveness is still there, but it’s flashing far to little thus far.

Murray continues to struggle shedding blocks and reading plays in front of him. There was one specific play where Chiefs rookie right guard Trey Smith took Murray for a ride and finished him into the dirt before essentially “tea-bagging” him on his way up off the turf. You want to talk about debilitating? You don’t ever want to see your former first-round starting middle linebacker getting abused in that fashion.

Prior to Sunday’s game, Brandon Staley mentioned that Murray’s play has been “up and down” this year and that’s a pretty blunt way to put it. Staley wants to tell the truth about themselves at all times and the truth is just that, he’s been far too inconsistent through three games this season.