Ravens exposed issues the Chargers have been struggling with all season

Photo by Harry How/Getty Images
Photo by Harry How/Getty Images /

These last few weeks have surprised to say the least. This team has shown they are to be taken as a legit threat and are more than capable of hanging with the big dogs.

Although, the team took a step back last Saturday night against the Baltimore Ravens.

Does this mean the Los Angeles Chargers aren’t contenders anymore? No, not at all, in fact, I think this makes them a better team by making them re-analyze their strategies and focus on what really needs attention.

Run Defense

The Chargers are ninth overall in rush yards allowed. Don’t get me wrong, that’s good, but, not good enough.  The four games lost this season have had a total of 544 yards allowed on the ground. We are missing Corey Liuget and Denzel Perryman who both have contributed in a major way in rush defense.

So that means guys like Darius Philon, Damion Square and Hayes Pullard will have to step up big time to keep this defense balanced and in control.

There are teams that have extremely good running backs and solid offensive lines. Considering we play in the nickel formation the majority of the time, it would be nice to get some bigger, more athletic defensive tackles to take the burden off of those corners and safeties playing up.

This is one of the areas the Chargers will have to consider beefing up big time in this next year’s draft with names like Nick Bosa and Ed Oliver are on the board.

Slow Starts

The last 3 games, the Chargers only scored 2.3 points in the first quarter. The only teams that have scored less are the Baltimore Ravens and Denver Broncos, with one point apiece. Last week against Baltimore, the Chargers struggled and scored zero points in the first.

I did a deep dive in the statistics pool and found some interesting facts. The Chargers are third-to-last in first-half time of possession, although they are first in the league in second-half time of possession.

Now I wouldn’t look into this too much because if a team scores a lot and is effective with their drives it obviously isn’t going to have the ball as much as a team driving down the field with 12+ plays for a field goal.

Although the games the Chargers have lost and managed to squeak by are games they didn’t control the game as much. What is now known the formula to beat us is to control the game flow and to keep the ball out of Philip Rivers’ hands.

If the hopes are making it deep in the playoffs and contending for that Super Bowl, we need to score early and often.

Jahleel Addae

Now I want to be the first to stop the “Jahleel lost us the game” narrative. Did he make it hard to win…YES. Did he miss a lot of tackles…YES. Was he the reason we lost the game…NO.  On the Marc Andrews’ touchdown that gave the Ravens the lead early in the third quarter, Jahleel was the single high safety.

It was a simple deep crossing route right behind the linebackers although Addae focused on the outside receiver and realized late that the route was going right by his face.

Obviously, he realized too late and took a bad angle and allowed him to score. Yeah, that was a bad play but the play call was the real issue. Part of Gus Bradley’s defensive scheme often leaves the linebackers covering faster receivers or tight ends.

Lamar on the money and Mark Andrews would not be caught!

(via @NFL)pic.twitter.com/j3LHovXVZR

— Pro Football Focus (@PFF) December 23, 2018

He’s OK with that because in theory our pass rush should and most of the time does get there in time before deeper routes develop. However, with that, the corners often pass the coverage to the linebackers when playing zone. If the receiver or tight end manages to get behind the linebackers, that leaves only the safety to make a play.

One of the pros that Addae brings to the table is his toughness and his aggressive play as a box safety.


This issue only started to flare up these last few weeks. This is largely the reason we’ve been playing from behind so often.

Now I don’t have to go over Rivers’ interception on the first play of the game last week. That was just an underthrow to Mike Williams who probably would’ve scored had it been on target.

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Although Rivers throwing four interceptions in the last two weeks is quite concerning, I’m not going to fault Philip too much because three of those interceptions are him trying to make something happen and chucking it deep in hopes that one of our receivers will come down with it. This is when the offense isn’t producing and they need to score.

Fumbles haven’t plagued the Chargers as they have in earlier years. Although the Hall of Famer Antonio Gates fumbling trying to get thefirst down cost us big time.

Would have we scored and got the onside kick? The world will never know.

In the end, these are all things that can and most likely will be corrected in the coming weeks heading into the playoffs.

If L.A. came away with this ‘W’, we would’ve been set up to win the AFC West with the loss Kansas City took in Seattle.

It’s still possible to take the AFC West crown if the Chargers beat Denver and the Oakland Raiders pull off a huge upset in Arrowhead.