LA Chargers News

Chargers vs. Rams: Breaking down the key matchups in ‘Battle of Los Angeles’

SAN DIEGO, CA - NOVEMBER 23: Quarterback Philip Rivers #17 of the San Diego Chargers throws a pass against the St. Louis Rams at Qualcomm Stadium on November 23, 2014 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
SAN DIEGO, CA - NOVEMBER 23: Quarterback Philip Rivers #17 of the San Diego Chargers throws a pass against the St. Louis Rams at Qualcomm Stadium on November 23, 2014 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
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LOS ANGELES, CA – AUGUST 26: Melvin Gordon #28 of the Los Angeles Chagers breaks free from Blake Countess #24 of the Los Angeles Rams in the first quarter of the preseason game between the Los Angeles Rams and Los Angeles Chargers at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum on August 26, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Josh Lefkowitz/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA – AUGUST 26: Melvin Gordon #28 of the Los Angeles Chagers breaks free from Blake Countess #24 of the Los Angeles Rams in the first quarter of the preseason game between the Los Angeles Rams and Los Angeles Chargers at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum on August 26, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Josh Lefkowitz/Getty Images)

Chargers’ rushing attack vs. Rams’ run defense

Through two games, the Rams have the league’s No. 5 run defense, allowing just 74.5 yards on the ground. However, they’ve gottten up to big leads against the Raiders and Cardinals, forcing those teams to abandon the run, which is part of that number.

But that’s the way the Rams intend to attack opponents this year. They want you to try and throw the ball on them. With Marcus Peters and Aqib Talib in the secondary, they thrive on teams facing third-and-long situations.

In that respect, the Chargers have to establish the run in this game. That’s going to be difficult to do, at least by attempting to attack the Rams up the middle where Aaron Donald and Ndamukong Suh lurk.

However, on the outside, Joe Barksdale is not expected to play again. Still, that is where the Chargers need to try and attack this defense as its unlikely there will be much room to run in between the tackles.

With Antonio Gates listed as questionable for this game, Virgil Green should see almost all of the snaps at tight end. But even if Gates was able to go, it should still be that way. The Chargers should use Green as an extra offensive lineman in hopes of sealing off the edge for Melvin Gordon to bounce runs to the outside.

Gordon will likely have many carries that go for no or little gain in this one, but the Chargers have to keep going to him. He should have no less than 20 carries in this game. The Chargers can not afford to face too many third-and-long (third and more than 8 yards) in this game or it is a game they will lose. Also, they can’t fall behind the Rams big as both the Raiders and Cardinals have done and be forced to play catch up.

By pounding Gordon and trying to set up some manageable third downs in this game, the Chargers can control the clock and wear down the Rams’ defense with a methodical approach.

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