I was not able to watch the Los Angeles Chargers game on Monday night but I was following the play by play tracker on NFL Mobile.
From that perspective it sure looked like a lot of linebackers were getting beat on pass coverage. On Tuesday morning, I did a quick view of the Chargers game on NFL Game Pass and typed up a quick game review blaming the linebackers for being horrible in pass coverage.
As the morning went by, I read a fan comment blasting Casey Hayward for his coverage on Monday night. As I read that comment I wondered if he was right. Then I wondered if I was right about the Chargers linebackers or if I had made a snap judgment. Well, there was only one way to find out. It was time to go back to the tape.
I opened up NFL Game Pass and started going through all of Trevor Siemian’s throws to see how good the Chargers pass coverage was on Monday night. And here are the results.
Now first off, I have Siemian with more pass attempts than the box score. I am not sure how that happened, but I am willing to put in a disclaimer here that my numbers might not be 100 percent accurate.
Jason Verrett gets the game ball here. He was targeted 4 times. The results were 3 incompletions and 1 reception. And it is worth noting that the reception was on a rub route.
Desmond King also gets an honorable mention. One target, one incompletion and a tipped ball that led to an interception.
Now the defensive line (Melvin Ingram) was found in pass coverage once for one completion, but also it needs to be noted that they tipped two passes at the line of scrimmage as well as put good pressure on Siemian.
Casey Hayward did not have a bad performance. He was targeted eight times which was more than anyone else. He gave up four completions and one of those was on an obvious push off by Demaryius Thomas early in the game which should have been offensive pass interference.
Now for those who struggled in pass coverage.
Trevor Williams did not do well in pass coverage. He was targeted once and gave up a completion. He was also one of the nearest guys (Hayes Pullard being the other) to a touchdown reception. This was one of two touchdowns that the Chargers surrendered while playing zone defense in the end zone. Please Gus Bradley do not do this again, it was a fiasco.
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Tre Boston and Jahleel Addae were the other two who were caught watching a touchdown pass be completed in a gap in the zone defense. Other than that they were non-existent in pass coverage other than Boston coming up to help Hayward break up a pass in the second quarter.
The linebackers were horrible in pass coverage. They were targeted nine times and surrendered eight completions. The only incompletion was an overthrow to Emmanuel Sanders in the end zone, where he had Kyle Emanuel beat. My first question here is how do the Chargers allow Emanuel to be matched up on Sanders with no safety help? I would like to say this was a blown coverage and only happened once, but I know it happened at least twice. This has to be remedied.
In conclusion, the middle of the field was a huge soft spot for the Chargers. The safeties were nowhere to be found in pass coverage and the linebackers were continually exploited. If this is part of Bradley’s scheme it needs to change. If the Chargers do not have the linebackers to cover they seriously need to consider playing in a nickel or dime formation more often.