Chargers-Chiefs on Sunday afternoon was another tale of two halves.
The first half was the offense’s turn to be in the spotlight. The sides of the ball switched responsibilities in the second half with the defense doing all the heavy lifting. The lack of “complementary football” is a theme you’re going to hear about all week and maybe longer depending on how the Chargers bounce back this upcoming Sunday night.
Like their performance on Sunday, the Chargers’ Pro Football Grades against the Chiefs really centered around average to below average. Only one Charger found himself with a grade higher than 80.0 while multiple Bolts were graded below 50.0.
Let’s go ahead and dive in.
Best (min. 20 snaps played)
WR Joshua Palmer - 88.7
RB Joshua Kelley - 75.6
OT Rashawn Slater - 75.2
OG Jamaree Salyer - 70.9
QB Justin Herbert - 70.6
Palmer recorded a career-high 133 receiving yards on eight catches to take home the top spot in this week’s PFF grades. Kelley, who had a 49-yard touchdown run, is second behind him.
Nice to see Slater return to the top five after some underwhelming grades the past two weeks. He allowed two pressures, but that was the lowest total among all five starting linemen.
Herbert did not have the bounce-back game may expected but he played well enough to return to the top five.
Justin Herbert SOLTANDO O BRAÇO para o Josh Palmer!— NFL Brasil (@NFLBrasil) October 22, 2023
60 jardas de avanço Chargers! pic.twitter.com/M3eMrIHBYW
OG Zion Johnson - 45.8
C Will Clapp - 54.1
TE Stone Smartt - 58.2
OT Trey Pipkins - 58.2
TE Donald Parham - 58.4
Johnson had his hands full with the interior of the Chiefs’ line, especially their All-Pro in Chris Jones. He didn’t allow a sack but tied for the team lead with four pressures allowed. His pass block grade of 42.6 was the worst among all offensive linemen.
Continuing to see the tight ends near the bottom most weeks is starting to become bothersome. It was such a need this offseason and the Chargers refused to spend any resources to upgrade the room. Run blocking has been a week point for the Chargers since the 2019 season which is why they spent a third on Tre’ McKitty. That hasn’t panned out in the slightest.
LB Eric Kendricks - 81.9
EDGE Joey Bosa - 77.1
EDGE Khalil Mack - 71.5
DT Morgan Fox - 70.0
DT Nick Williams - 67.8
Bosa and Mack combined for seven pressures on Mahomes with two hits and five hurries. Eric Kendricks was fine in coverage with a 76.5 grade but his biggest blunder came when he was called for defensive pass interference inside the end zone on Travis Kelce.
Morgan Fox had two pressures and continues to be a solid rotational pass rusher. Williams has also stayed near the top each week with solid grades as a run defender.
DT Austin Johnson - 42.7
EDGE Tuli Tuipulotu - 45.0
DT Sebastian Joseph-Day - 46.0
S Derwin James - 50.9
CB Asante Samuel Jr. - 58.7
Johnson has not been steady since returning from his season-ending injury that cost him half of the 2022 season. So it could be a slow start, but he’s had only one game grade out of six that’s been above 43.0. That’s enough of a sample size wonder if there’s something else going on.
This was Tuli’s worst grade thus far as a pro and his lowest grades came as a pass rusher and in coverage. He notched two pressures but PFF still saw fit to give him a 46.1 in that area.
Joseph-Day had the worst run grade on the defense at 39.0, but he was second on the team with three pressures.