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How the 2022 Chargers compare to the 2018 playoff team on paper

The 2018 squad was much more consistent defensively on top of being able to actually run the football.

Syndication: Indianapolis Jenna Watson/IndyStar, Indianapolis Star via Imagn Content Services, LLC

The Chargers are back in the playoffs for the first time since 2018.

From that squad’s roster, only Keenan Allen, Joey Bosa, Austin Ekeler, Michael Davis, and Derwin James remain. Crazy enough, the first two players on that list have, or did miss, most of this season up to this point.

That 2018 squad was still quarterbacked by Philip Rivers, whose 32 touchdowns that year were tied for the third-most in a season during his 17-year career. The defense did not have a ton of star power outside of Joey Bosa (missed nine games), Casey Hayward (zero interceptions), and a rookie James (All-Pro), but they were a top-10 unit by the end of the year. That’s obviously quite the far cry from this year’s group that was, up until their dismantling of the Dolphins, one of the worst defenses in the league.

Regardless, the 2022 Chargers now join the 2018 and 2013 teams as the only playoff teams over the past decade.

For some fun, let’s go ahead and take a look at how this season’s team currently compares to the 2018 squad, and whether or not they’ve made it this far by replicating what worked back then, or by blazing their own trail into the postseason.


*Through 15 games

Total offense: 355.0 (11th)
Passing Yards per game: 270.1 (3rd)
Rushing yards per game: 84.9 (31st)
Points per game: 22.1 (13th)

Leading Passer: QB Justin Herbert - 4,254 yards , 21 touchdowns, 10 interceptions
Leading Rusher: RB Austin Ekeler - 759 yards, 11 touchdowns
Leading Receiver: WR Mike Williams - 769 yards, four touchdowns

Leading Tackler: LB Drue Tranquill - 129
Leader in Sacks: EDGE Khalil Mack - Eight
Leader in Interceptions: CB Bryce Callahan - Three


Total defense: 333.7 (9th)
Passing yards allowed per game: 227.9 (9th)
Rushing yards allowed per game: 105.8 (7th)
Points allowed per game: 20.6 (8th)

Leading Passer: QB Philip Rivers - 4,308 yards, 32 touchdowns, 12 interceptions
Leading Rusher: RB Melvin Gordon - 885 yards, 10 touchdowns
Leading Receiver: WR Keenan Allen - 1,196 yards, six touchdowns

Leading Tackler: S Derwin James - 105
Leader in Sacks: EDGE Melvin Ingram - Seven
Leader in Interceptions: S Derwin James, CB Desmond King - Three