5 takeaways from the Los Angeles Chargers’ rout of the Browns in Cleveland

Alexander Insdorf
CLEVELAND, OH - OCTOBER 14: Tyrell Williams #16 of the Los Angeles Chargers celebrates a touchdown in the second quarter against the Cleveland Browns at FirstEnergy Stadium on October 14, 2018 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
CLEVELAND, OH - OCTOBER 14: Tyrell Williams #16 of the Los Angeles Chargers celebrates a touchdown in the second quarter against the Cleveland Browns at FirstEnergy Stadium on October 14, 2018 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images) /
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SEATTLE, WA – AUGUST 09: Kicker Mike Badgley #1 of the Indianapolis Colts kicks a field goal against the Seattle Seahawks at CenturyLink Field on August 9, 2018 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)
SEATTLE, WA – AUGUST 09: Kicker Mike Badgley #1 of the Indianapolis Colts kicks a field goal against the Seattle Seahawks at CenturyLink Field on August 9, 2018 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images) /

3. Badgley Time?

Michael Badgley got the start at kicker this week while Caleb Sturgis was dealing with a quad injury. Of course, Chargers fans don’t really get excited when they hear new kicker anymore, as it usually ends up being a disaster. But, Badgley did what he had to do. He was 5-of-5 for PAT’s and hit his mid-range field goal attempt.

Learning that Sturgis was dealing with a quad injury makes his play at least make more sense. And I do think it’s too early to declare Badgley the winner of the job when he never really had to deal with a high pressure kick.

As reported by Ryan Kartje of the Orange County Register, head coach Anthony Lynn had this to say:

“Mike did a good job today. Maybe we’ll let (Sturgis) heal another week and go with Mike. Right now, we’re just going with the guy that’s healthy. When they’re both healthy, we’ll figure it out”.

If Badgley continues to make his kicks and shows he can make big field goals, I don’t think it’ll be much of a debate with Sturgis. It’s unfortunate due to his injury, but that’s football for you.

4. Defense eliminated the run and got to the QB

The Chargers did this to the Raiders last week, but ultimately the pressure they put on Derek Carr was more in the secondary. It was the Chargers’ defensive line that suffocated Baker Mayfield and absolutely stuffed the running game. Allen had more rush yards that any individual Browns’ running back with 41.

It is worth pointing out that the Browns’ offense has been a mixed bag all season. I do still think that it is impressive that the Bolts were able to get some significant pressure through the line and were able to put all the pressure on Mayfield to throw. Desmond King was great in the secondary..

The performance against Oakland was great defensively, but this was really even better. If the Chargers can continue to apply this much pressure and have sustained good performances from the secondary, let Bosa sit until he’s fully ready to go.

5. Let’s not get too creative

While about 99 percent of the things I have to say about the Chargers are pretty positive in regards to this game, I have one complaint. It’s 7-3 in the second quarter. It’s 2nd-and-3 for the offense at the 50. Why the trick play? Rivers hands it off to Allen who throws it back to Rivers, but the ball ends up behind him and it goes backwards for a 19-yard loss, thankfully recovered by Ekeler.

My question is, why? I get that the Chargers do run some trick plays, but that’s not the time to do it. Gordon was averaging eight yards a carry at that point in the game and the Browns’ secondary really didn’t have much of an answer for Rivers all day, other than when they were deep in their own territory.

I like when the Chargers try to mix it up but sometimes when the offense is flowing pretty easily, it’s best to follow the KISS principle (keep it simple, stupid).

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OVERALL

The Chargers improve to 4-2 on the season, a mark that’s their best start since 2014. They really dominated the Browns, a pretty decent team at home, in all areas of the game. It was probably the most complete performance this year when you look at offense, defense and special teams. If the team keeps this level up play up and stays healthy, it’ll be pretty hard for them to not make a playoff push.

NEXT WEEK

The team will stay in Cleveland for practices this week and then head to London later in the week. It’s the last game before the bye for the Bolts. Getting to 5-2 would be a pretty great to start the season after two tough losses to the elite Los Angeles Rams and Chiefs.

I feel like the London games are more random given that neither team is at home, but given how the Tennessee Titans are playing right now, this feels like a very winnable game. The Titans got shut out by the Ravens this week and allowed 11 sacks on Marcus Mariota.

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