The Chargers fell 20-17 against the Dallas Cowboys on Monday Night Football inside SoFi Stadium. It was equal parts defensive stalemate and penalty flag throw-off.
It was beautiful at times. The other times, it was one of the ugliest games of football I’d ever watched. Some players came to play. Others did not.
As always, continue on ahead to check out he best and worst game grades for the Chargers from Pro Football Focus.
Best (min. 20 snaps played)
WR Keenan Allen - 87.8
WR Joshua Palmer - 68.2
QB Justin Herbert - 62.5
OT Rashawn Slater - 61.3
OG Zion Johnson - 61.0
Allen was by far the best player on the field for the Chargers offense and his night could have looked a whole lot better had he been able to connect with Herbert on a pair of overthrows. Palmer made a lot of grabs that helped extend drives to help keep the Chargers in the game. He was very solid against the Cowboys.
Slater and Johnson ended up grading better than I would have imagined. They each had some rough snaps in this one. Slater allowed Dante Fowler to get a hand on Herbert’s throwing arm which forced an incompletion. Johnson was called for multiple penalties and couldn’t figure out the tempo to climb to the next level on their RPOs.
OG Jamaree Salyer - 46.4
C Will Clapp - 48.2
TE Donald Parham - 48.2
WR Quentin Johnston - 48.6
TE Gerald Everett - 50.9
Salyer here at the bottom is not a surprise. He struggled against the Cowboys’ Dime front when they utilized smaller, speedier second-level defenders. Salyer was caught whiffing on several blocks which only kept the run game from ever seeing any sort of momentum.
The Cowboys lead the league in run success rate allowed which makes it not so surprising that Clapp and the starting tight ends are here, as well. The Chargers desperately need better run blocking from their tight ends but they look like their content waiting until after the season to fix things.
Johnston was out-muscled by Stephon Gilmore for the game-ending interception. He has yet to make an impact as a pro.
EDGE Tuli Tuipulotu - 90.0
LB Eric Kendricks - 86.2
DT Nick Williams - 85.3
EDGE Khalil Mack - 85.0
DT Sebastian Joseph-Day - 81.7
Tuli with the elite grade! What a monster the rookie has been since the start of the season. He led the Chargers with five pressures (all hurries) and most certainly opened up rushing lanes for many of his teammates.
Kendricks looked better this week. He had a nose for the football and didn’t allow any big plays.
Mack posted another sack to bring his two-game total to seven. That was one shy of the league record of eight set by Derrick Thomas.
CB Ja’Sir Taylor - 29.7
DT Austin Johnson - 41.9
DT Morgan Fox - 48.4
CB Michael Davis - 50.2
S Derwin James - 51.4
Taylor was bullied by CeeDee Lamb for most of the night. Aside from his big special teams play, he was underwhelming in coverage. Morgan Fox posted two sacks per PFF which makes his grade surprising. I thought he played well.
Davis was the next worst coverage player for the Chargers after Taylor. He slipped on a first down grab by Lamb and overall couldn’t stick with the Cowboys’ top receiver. Derwin earned his fourth unsportsmanlike penalty of the season.