LA Chargers News

Los Angeles Chargers: Top 5 surprise performances midway through the season

CARSON, CA - OCTOBER 22: Chris McCain #40 of the Los Angeles Chargers sacks Trevor Siemian #13 of the Denver Broncos in the second quarter during the game against the Los Angeles Chargers at the StubHub Center on October 22, 2017 in Carson, California. (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)
CARSON, CA - OCTOBER 22: Chris McCain #40 of the Los Angeles Chargers sacks Trevor Siemian #13 of the Denver Broncos in the second quarter during the game against the Los Angeles Chargers at the StubHub Center on October 22, 2017 in Carson, California. (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)
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No. 3: Offensive line (as a whole)

The Chargers’ offensive line ranked in the bottom three the last three years. Going into the 2017 season, there were three new starters on the line. Insert Homer Simpson collar tug.

Ironically, Philip Rivers has been running for his life up until this season. If you watch the tape, Rivers actually has more time than he thinks he has–and this is currently with two former undrafted free agents at center (Spencer Pulley) and right guard (Kenny Wiggins), a left tackle (Russell Okung) whose best days were apparently behind him, a third-round rookie (Dan Feeney) filling in at left guard in place of the team’s best lineman (Matt Slauson) from a year ago and a fictional character from Prison Break playing right tackle (Michael Schofield). That’s a lot to take in, huh?

According to Football Outsiders, the Chargers rank seventh in pass protection. Rivers has only been sacked 11 times, tied for eighth-fewest among quarterbacks with at least 200 pass attempts. The Chargers currently rank 12th in passing offense, per NFL.com.

However, the running game has been more unimpressive than Season 2 of ‘True Detective.’ The Chargers’ offensive line ranks 27th in run blocking, per Football Outsiders. The running back is getting stuffed on 28 percent of plays, 29th-worst in the league. The Chargers currently rank 25th in rushing offense, per NFL.com.

Okung, who was general manager Tom Telesco’s big free-agent signing in March, has been the absolute best of the bunch, but the others have really held up for the most part–and they’ve gone against some of the toughest front sevens in the league. If it weren’t for the poor run blocking (though lanes are starting to slowly open up, like this one against the Patriots), this unit would have been higher on the list.

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