The Chargers have played six great quarters of football this year. If they had played eight they would be sitting at 2-0 instead of 1-1. For any fan, this makes us wonder, “How good are these guys? Can they get their act together and make a deep run?”
As a fan, our emotions always run high. The slightest glimmer of hope makes us think playoffs. But lets get our emotions out of the way and look at the hard cold facts–the numbers.
The Chargers boast the second-highest scoring offense in the league, totaling 65 points over two games. The Panthers are the only team ahead of them with 66. According to the numbers, the Chargers have one of the best offenses in the league.
Leading the way for the Chargers has been the run game. They are third in the league in rushing with 152.5 yards per carry–and they are not doing this with just an obscene amount of runs. They are averaging 4.6 per carry, which is good in this league.
What this brings to the Chargers’ offense is balance. While we all know Philip Rivers can carry this team on his arm, he is best when he does not need to. For example, Rivers threw four TDs last week, but he only tossed for a pedestrian 220 yards. The Chargers’ passing attack is ranked 25th in the league in total yards, but that seems to be a winning combination.
Now, most of us feel like the defense is much improved. It certainly feels that way to me, but lets put our feelings aside and look at the numbers.
The Chargers have the seventh-best rushing defense based on total yards, but they are giving up 5.1 yards per carry–this is bad. Teams have had to play from the behind against the Chargers and may have abandoned their rushing attack too early. Here maybe we can say, the best rush defense is a good offense.
The Chargers’ pass defense has surrendered a lot of yards, making it the 29th ranked pass defense in the league. This is the result of getting torched in the second half of the KC game and opponents playing from behind.
The overall defense rating is not much better. The Chargers are 23rd giving up more than 400 yards per game.
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So how are they doing it? Because by the numbers, the defense does not look very good. One stat that jumps out at you is turnovers. The Chargers are +3 in this category, which is good enough for fourth in the league, and the Chargers’ three interceptions puts them third in the league in that category.
One more area where the Chargers are doing well is penalties. The Chargers have only eight penalties this season, making them second best in the league in that area.
So how good are these Chargers? The offense looks sharp. They are also minimizing mistakes and creating turnovers. But those defensive numbers have to make any fan worry. If the Chargers are going to be playing in the postseason, the defense is going to have to improve.