The Los Angeles Chargers opened up their 2019 regular season with a hard-fought 30-24 overtime win against the Indianapolis Colts. There was a lot to be learned from the Bolts’ performance, but coming out with a win was the most important thing.
The Chargers needed five quarters to bring down the Colts after it looked like they had the game sealed up, but Philip Rivers and the Bolts got it done when it mattered most. The Chargers defense was disappointing, while the running game exploded without Melvin Gordon. Coming out of a Week 1 game with a win against a good Colts team is a great start to the Chargers’ 2019 season.
Offensive line/Running backs:
The offensive line was a huge concern going into Week 1 for the Chargers, and although they were not as bad as most expected, they were certainly nothing to be too excited about. Russel Okung’s replacement, left tackle Trent Scott, looked intimated and outright overpowered on a few certain snaps, but also played pretty solid on a number of plays.
The idea that Scott had an absolutely horrible performance is slightly blown out of proportion, he just had some horrible snaps. As a group though, their run blocking was surprisingly outstanding, which opened up the offense and gave Justin Jackson and Austin Ekeler a ton of space to run.
The offensive line was a lot worse in pass protection, giving up four sacks and nine quarterback hits as a unit, which is worrisome considering the lack of mobility from the 37-year-old Rivers.
This performance by the line wasn’t very shocking, but it wasn’t completely awful. Improvement from the linemen is the only hope now in terms of pass protection, at least until Okung is back in action. It could become very worrisome when the Chargers play teams like the Denver Broncos, who feature two elite pass rushers in Von Miller and Bradley Chubb.
An actual surprise from this game is how dominant the running game looked. With the holdout of Gordon still going on, Ekeler and Jackson had the chance to show what they can do with a whole offseason of preparation.
As previously stated, the line looked extremely strong on a lot of run plays, opening up wide-open lanes for both Ekeler and Jackson. The two running backs combined for a total of 115 rushing yards.
Ekeler was the MVP of the season opener, showing his outstanding ability to run downhill and be a great receiving option out of the backfield. Austin finished with 154 total scrimmage yards and three touchdowns, while also finishing with a team-high offensive grade of 82.7 (including a 90.0 receiving grade), according to PFF. Ekeler also had two huge runs on the game-winning drive in overtime, including the seven-yard run to seal the win for the Chargers.