Chargers Grades: Continued
Another lukewarm effort by the Chargers Linebackers. They did enough to not warrant a C but failed to do nearly enough to deserve an A. The biggest struggle for the linebackers in this contest was the deception of Watson.
On perhaps one of the biggest plays of the game, Watson evaded a sack and fired across the middle to a wide-open Jordan Akins for a 53-yard touchdown that put the Texans up 27-17. Credit Watson for the scramble, and blame the defensive line for not being able to bring him down, but a huge fault goes to the linebackers who, in an effort to stop Watson from running, swarmed to the ball leaving Akins wide open.
The starting unit was Thomas Davis Sr. and Denzel Perryman, who both played admirably for the most part, but the team is starting to discover a real void of talent behind these two guys. Uchenna Nwosu played but failed to record a single tackle, while Nick Dzubnar and Drue Tranquill played mostly uneventful minutes.
The eventual return of Kyzir White should help the linebackers regain power, but for the time being there can be some significant space in the middle of the field if you can have some patience as an opposing quarterback.
Defensive backs: C+
A game to forget for the Los Angeles secondary, giving up 351 yards through the air. It may be a bit harsh to call this performance a C+, especially considering the admirable play of undrafted free-agent Roderic Teamer Jr. as well as the stellar play of Desmond King.
That being said, when all four touchdowns on the day from the opposing team come through the air, a B grade feels disingenuous. Casey Hayward shadowed DeAndre Hopkins for most of the game and kept the all-world wideout fairly in check, permitting 67 yards on six catches.
Outside of Hayward the unit as a whole struggled to contain Will Fuller and Kenny Stills, who combined for one 150 yards on nine receptions. Without Derwin James AND Adrian Phillips, this Chargers secondary goes from one of the best in the league to middling at best in a fraction of a second.