No excuse for Chargers to lose against Bills

CARSON, CA - NOVEMBER 19: Korey Toomer
CARSON, CA - NOVEMBER 19: Korey Toomer /

After falling 38-28 to the rival Kansas City Chiefs in the season opener, the Los Angeles Chargers are seeking their first win of the season. Chances of that happening are high when they take on the Buffalo Bills this coming Sunday, who got torched 47-3 in Week 1. 

The Baltimore Ravens’ performance in Week 1 was like watching an NCAA football powerhouse lambaste a Div. II squad. The John Harbaugh-coached squad steamrolled the Bills in a 47-3 blowout this past Sunday, as the Ravens manhandled their AFC East opponent both offensively and defensively.

And with Baltimore making Buffalo look like the NFL’s worst club, the Ravens have given the Chargers zero room for excuses going into their Week 2 tilt with the Bills. A Los Angeles defeat in Buffalo this coming Sunday would be shameful because this team is riddled with flaws across the map, especially on offense.

Starting with the aforementioned unit, which has one potential bright spot. Running back LeSean McCoy has been one of the league’s most electric rushers for nearly a decade, so cultivating a strong performance is possible on any given week. But that’s it for the Bills offense, as the remainder of Buffalo’s attack is sub-par at best.

Buffalo Bills running back LeSean McCoy provides the offense with their potential lone spark. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
Buffalo Bills running back LeSean McCoy provides the offense with their potential lone spark. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images) /

Rookie quarterback Josh Allen will make his first career start on Sunday after replacing Nathan Peterman in the third quarter last week. Whether he is ready for the role is a significant question mark for the Bills. Concerns over his accuracy and overall readiness coming out of Wyoming were justified against the Ravens, as he completed just six of 15 passes for 74 yards in garbage-time action.

Inexperience was one factor in his mediocre showing, but so was a lackluster core of surrounding talent. Buffalo’s receiving corps is headlined by wideout Kelvin Benjamin, who is a competent possession receiver void of true down-the-field speed to complement Allen’s rocket arm. The former Florida State Seminole racked up just one reception for 10 yards off a team-high seven targets. Aside from Benjamin, the pass-catching corps includes wide receivers Jeremy Kerley, Zay Jones, Andre Holmes and tight end Charles Clay.

Buffalo’s porous receivers group will be a much easier task for a Chargers defense searching for a bounce-back performance. The Bolts were torched by the Kansas City Chiefs duo of wide receiver Tyreek Hill and quarterback Patrick Mahomes in Week 1. The lightning-fast wideout hauled in seven catches for 169 receiving yards and two scores, along with a 91-yard punt return touchdown in the first quarter. Mahomes went 15-of-27 for 256 passing yards and four scores.

The Bills’ offense could not sniff the talent of Kansas City’s degree. Combining a fired up and talented Chargers defense with an atrocious pass-catching corps means Allen could be in for a treacherous outing in Week 2.

Buffalo’s defense does have competent players on the depth chart. The front seven consists of defensive tackles Star Lotulelei, Kyle Williams and defensive end Jerry Hughes, all of whom are consistent forces in the trenches. Linebackers Lorenzo Alexander and Tremaine Edmunds are no slouches, and defensive backs Tre’Davious White and Micah Hyde provide a positive presence in the secondary.

However, 42 of Baltimore’s 47 points came from their offense, which dismantled the Bills defense. Quarterback Joe Flacco played one of his best games over the last couple years, tossing three touchdowns off 236 passing yards with a 73.5 completion percentage. The Ravens’ ground attack received one rushing score each from running backs Alex Collins, Kenneth Dixon and Javorious Allen.

Unfortunately for Buffalo, the Chargers’ offense is far superior to the Ravens attack at all three major positions. L.A. quarterback Philip Rivers is a more dangerous thrower than Flacco, as the Chargers’ signal caller is a consistent threat for 350 passing yards and three touchdowns on a game-by-game basis.

Los Angeles Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers enters week two as an extremely difficult matchup for the Buffalo Bills defense. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
Los Angeles Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers enters week two as an extremely difficult matchup for the Buffalo Bills defense. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images) /

One factor that could hinder Rivers in Week 2 will be the cold Buffalo weather. If this headache arises, the Chargers have the perfect solution: running back Melvin Gordon. After recording consecutive seasons of at least 1,400 scrimmage yards and 12 total touchdowns, the fourth-year tailback racked up 64 rushing yards off 15 carries and nine catches for 102 receiving yards last week.

Backup running back Austin Ekeler cannot go unaccounted for by Buffalo. The five-foot-10 scatback notched five receptions for 87 receiving yards and a touchdown catch against the Chiefs while taking five carries for 39 rushing yards.

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L.A’s receiving corps is the polar opposite of Buffalo’s, as wideout Keenan Allen continues to flirt with becoming a top-five NFL pass-catcher. The former California Golden Bear headlines a pass-catching group that could eviscerate the Bills’ secondary.

One standout performer from the Chargers’ opening-game loss was wide receiver Mike Williams. After his rookie season in 2017 was riddled with injuries, Williams kicked off year two with a 5-catch, 81-receiving yard performance.

There is no conceivable way the Chargers lose to Buffalo. L.A is leaps and bounds ahead of the Bills on both sides of the ball from both a talent and experience perspective. Yes, the Chargers have been riddled with early-season struggles for quite a few years. Those issues are irrelevant in this Week 2 matchup, as a Chargers loss would he inexcusable.