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Chargers Week 16 ‘Surge or Static?’: Vintage Allen arrived to punch Bolts’ playoff ticket

The Slayer was back doing his thing against Indy.

NFL: Los Angeles Chargers at Indianapolis Colts Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

A day later than usual but we’re here now.

The win over the Colts on Monday Night Football was filled with notable performances in primetime, mainly from the defensive side, but you don’t win by 17 points without someone doing something special on offense, either.

Let’s go ahead and take a look at this week’s “Surge or Static?” players from this week’s win over the Indianapolis.


WR Keenan Allen

Allen has put together some strong performances since returning to the field this season, but none may have been more vintage than the 11 catches and 104 yards he put up against the Colts on Monday night. The Slayer was targeted 14 times in total, which was a whopping 10 more than the next closest player.

During the Chargers’ three-game win streak, Allen has caught 31 passes for 282 yards but has unfortunately yet to find the end zone, however that should come as a surprise since the team hasn’t registered any passing touchdowns over the past two weeks.

The entire pass rush

Six different players managed to register a sack against Nick Foles on Monday night with defensive tackle Morgan Fox leading the way with a pair of takedowns. The other players to get in on the action were Khalil Mack (first since week 10), Kyle Van Noy (third in as many games), Drue Tranquill, Chris Rumph, and Kenneth Murray.

This group is a big reason why the Chargers defense was able to hold Indianapolis to ZERO third-down conversions among nine attempts. Over the past three games, the Bolts have held opponents to just six conversions on 32 total attempts.

Five of the players mentioned above landed in the team’s top seven highest-graded defenders from Monday night, with Drue Tranquill finishing with a team-high pass rush grade of 76.6.

If this unit can continue to create pressure as they head into the playoffs, I like this team’s chances of hanging around longer while also not having to put an immense amount of pressure on Herbert’s shoulders to be perfect.


QB Justin Herbert

If you looked at Herbert’s stats over the past two games, you would probably think that the Chargers were 0-2 and on their way to missing the playoffs entirely. But somehow, some way, the team is 2-0 and have already clinched their place in the postseason with two weeks remaining in the regular season.

That’s largely due to the defense’s third strong performance in as many weeks which has allowed Herbert to be — for what certainly feels like the first time in his young career — less than perfect in order for his team to win.

Monday night marked the fourth time in his near-three professional seasons in which Herbert failed to throw a touchdown pass. It was also the second consecutive game and the third this season.

Herbert still made an impossible throw look possible, and he still made the other plays necessary for his team to win by a comfortable margin. But in a game where so many other players enjoyed standout performances, Herbert’s latest quiet performance unfortunately leaves him here on the wrong side of “Surge or Static.”

OT Jamaree Salyer

After starting hot once he took over the left tackle job, Salyer has been just “fine” in recent weeks. While he hasn’t allowed a sack since week 13, he’s let up four or more pressures in three of their past four games. His 53.9 overall grade from Pro Football Focus in week 16 made him the lowest-ranked offensive lineman against the Colts.

Salyer’s 48.8 run block grade was also lowest on the team and his pass-blocking efficiency rating (93.1) was his worst mark since the Browns game when he allowed a season-high six pressures.

The Chargers could absolutely have a much bigger problem on the blind side, that’s for sure. But any type of rebound back to a place where he was only allowing one or two pressures per game would be ideal as the team begins to prep for the postseason.