Philip Rivers and the running game
Philip Rivers is, without a doubt in my mind, the best quarterback in franchise history. However, he’s also rapidly approaching 40 years old. Last year, Rivers had an MVP caliber season, throwing for 32 touchdowns and 12 interceptions. Now? Rivers is on pace to throw for 24 touchdowns, 16 interceptions, and currently holds the lowest quarterback rating of his career through six weeks.
There are absolutely factors behind the struggling offense that have also affected Rivers’ performance. A depleted receiving corps, changes to the running game midseason and a sub-par offensive line are just a few of them.
He’s also fourth in interceptable passes currently, easily the highest mark in his career. Rivers is sixth in danger plays, unnecessary risks that can result in turnovers. Playing sloppy and dangerous football with a lack of arm strength is on him, in addition to the factors that aren’t.
The Chargers are 27th in rushing yards per game. Melvin Gordon can’t get anything going on the ground, averaging 2.5 yards per carry. While Austin Ekeler had a hot start he’s only averaging 3.8 yards per carry at the moment.
The offensive line is, as with most things on the offense, partially to blame. This isn’t the first time the team has had a bad offensive line though. Even with the quality of last year’s line, Gordon and Ekeler’s averages were both over five yards per carry.
If the Chargers don’t get anything going in the ground game, you’ll see more sloppy performances from Rivers since opposing defenses won’t even need to worry about the run. They also can’t afford the terrible starts they’ve gotten off to the last few weeks.
Going down two to three touchdowns early is surprisingly not the formula for a good rushing attack.