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Los Angeles Chargers: Top 5 takeaways from a bad offensive day vs. Chiefs

CARSON, CA - SEPTEMBER 24: The Los Angeles Chargers during the National Anthem before the game against the Kansas City Chiefs at the StubHub Center on September 24, 2017 in Carson, California. (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)
CARSON, CA - SEPTEMBER 24: The Los Angeles Chargers during the National Anthem before the game against the Kansas City Chiefs at the StubHub Center on September 24, 2017 in Carson, California. (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)
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The Los Angeles Chargers can’t get anything going offensively to make up for early mistakes.

124. 10. 13. . 24

It’s was a tough Week 3 for the Bolts.

We’re going to dive into the ins and outs of the game, but I did want to at least mention the Chargers’ and league’s unity protest against President Trump’s comments Friday regarding the NFL. I thought it was a good show of unity for the league, and it does say something in a sport where not every athlete agrees on a lot of issues. But it was nice to see Dean Spanos and the rest of the Chargers lock arms.

All that aside now, let’s get into the game.

1. The offense struggled, specifically Philip Rivers.

The Chargers got off to a bad first half with quarterback Philip Rivers throwing three interceptions. Even after he recovered, the offense slowed to a snail’s pace and simply could not move the ball. Melvin Gordon looked good early in the game, but after he went out with a knee injury, it felt like the offense never really came back, even though Gordon did.

I also should talk more on Rivers. He had a bad game. It certainly was a train wreck in those first two quarters with accuracy and route reading. But, I’m also not kicking Rivers off the team yet and telling the Chargers they need to draft a quarterback with their first-round pick, like some fans are. Minus the Keenan Allen hold interception, he didn’t make a mistake in his first two games and played very well. But he was undoubtedly bad in this game, along with the bad run game.

2. What is up with the missed tackles?

There were so many missed tackles in this game that made the defense look bad for as incredibly well as they played. Melvin Ingram and Joey Bosa were pressuring like crazy and the secondary played pretty well, but there were points where it seemed like the Chargers couldn’t make a tackle to save their lives. It’s just all around sloppy play when Kareem Hunt or Tyreek Hill should be stopped for minimal gains at or behind the line and you let them gain five or six on a play based on sloppy effort that could’ve been prevented.

The Chiefs are a team that primarily plays mistake-free football. If you want to win, you have to go directly at them. And the Chargers did. But some of these missed tackles were so hard to watch. The Chargers also took the lead for first in the NFL in missed tackles. Just unfortunate.

3. Rayshawn Jenkins’ costly penalty.

Rayshawn Jenkins put enough pressure on Cairo Santos to force a missed field goal from 51 yards out, but he ran into him as the play was ending and gave the Chiefs really good field position, which would result in a field goal that was simply a chip shot. Obviously, the Chargers struggled to score the rest of the game and barely got anymore points the rest of the game other than a 29-yard Younghoe Koo field goal, but those are the mistakes we need to cut down, along with missed tackles, penalties taking us out of field-goal range, bad personal fouls, etc.

4. We got Melvin Ingram for a bargain.

A lot of people really questioned the move from the Chargers to sign Ingram to a long-term deal of four years and $66 million this offseason, but he’s proving to be worth every penny and more on defense. Ingram leads the NFL with 5.5 sacks this season, and he’s showing no signs of slowing down.

It may have been a risk to invest in Ingram who did have an injury history and was a question mark as far as how he’d fit into coach Anthony Lynn and Gus Bradley’s defense. But he’s fit in perfectly and has himself on pace to become one of the best defensive ends in the league. Side Note: Jatavis Brown leads the NFL in tackles with 36. He’s playing quite well with Ingram. At least some players aren’t missing tackles.

5. A young defense that still has some work to do but could be elite.

The defense the Chargers have is really good. I hesitate on saying great because of some miscues, like the missed tackles I mentioned earlier, but I believe Bradley has this unit on the right track. There’s a load of great young talent on this defense that could be great for years to come, and I think Tom Telesco has done a great job at scouting for his talent.

Thinking about the fact that Ingram, Bosa, Brown, Casey Hayward and others on the defense haven’t quite hit their primes yet gives me a lot of reason to believe that this can develop into a fearsome unit for years to come. They held the Chiefs to doing virtually nothing in the second half, and only allowed touchdown scores when the ball started in Chargers territory. As I said in my first point, I believe the offense has some big struggles to work through, but the defense will only go up from here.

OVERALL:

The Chargers’ offense was bad. Really bad. Rivers made some uncharacteristically bad choices down the field, and the injury to Gordon midway through the game didn’t help. We have to put up points to win. I’m confident the Chargers will do better next week though, seeing as the Eagles’ defense isn’t quite as top-tier as Denver or Kansas City.

But the defense gives me some hope not just for this season, but future seasons. I’m very excited to see what this defense can become. A lot of things need to go well to harness potential, but potential is certainly key.

The Chargers take an 0-3 start to their next home game against Philadelphia, who’s coming off a seemingly magical win against the Giants on a magical Jake Elliott 61-yard field goal. The game won’t be easy, but I think it’ll be competitive, just as all the other games this season have been. But the offense needs to find a way to play better if the defense is going to step up like we expect.

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