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Los Angeles Chargers: Some stats fans should know

NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE - OCTOBER 20: Thomas Davis Sr. #58 of the Los Angeles Chargers reacts to a call by the referee during the second quarter of the game against the Tennessee Titans at Nissan Stadium on October 20, 2019 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Silas Walker/Getty Images)
NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE - OCTOBER 20: Thomas Davis Sr. #58 of the Los Angeles Chargers reacts to a call by the referee during the second quarter of the game against the Tennessee Titans at Nissan Stadium on October 20, 2019 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Silas Walker/Getty Images)
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Chargers fans can be quick to react to what they see on the field. Here are some interesting stats they should know before passing judgement.

The Chargers are losing, and that means Chargers fans aren’t particularly happy. With heated emotions comes hot takes, some of them more warranted and others out of the blue. Personal favorites have been to let Easton Stick open the 2020 season as the starter, trade Melvin Ingram, and call Jerry Tillery a bust. Maybe each happens, but for now, it’s a bit premature to really consider those viable options.

There are two takes, however, that need to be broken down a bit, if not softened or cooled down. At the end of the day, numbers don’t lie. Here are some that may change your mind, or guide you as you argue with other Chargers fans.

Thomas Davis doesn’t miss tackles as often as you think

The classic take of the season: Thomas Davis misses more tackles than he makes.

Now, let’s get one thing perfectly clear: This isn’t saying Davis does not miss tackles. In fact, he has the third-most missed tackles in the NFL, tied with three other players with 14.

But let’s try and shift things in a different direction: Tackling efficiency. According to Pro Football Focus, tackling efficiency refers to the number of attempted tackles per miss. Though Davis has the third-most misses in the NFL this season, he’s actually 72nd in missed tackle efficiency against the run, and 53rd against both the run and pass. This is a category where players want to be as far away from “first” as possible, if you set the data table to flow from worst to best, where the player who ranks No. 1 has one attempted tackle per miss.

Names who are worse in this category than Davis include Kwon Alexander, Leighton Vander Esch, Darron Lee, Denzel Perryman, Mack Wilson, Myles Jack, Jamie Collins, Rashaan Evans, Shaq Thompson, Devin White, and Drue Tranquill.

Is having 11.4 tackle attempts per miss a great number? Not particularly, and the best linebackers in this category tend to be in the 30 tackle attempts per miss range. But Davis has been better than Chargers fans tend to give him credit for, and I think it’s important to keep this stat in mind when looking at the raw number of missed tackles.

Philip Rivers has had better protection than advertised

Philip Rivers would perform better if he had better protection from his offensive line.

That’s a true statement, as it would be the case for any quarterback in the NFL. However, here’s what’s been floating around that isn’t true: Rivers is forcing errors because his line isn’t giving him any help.

This is not to say the offensive line has been stellar, and giving Rivers all the time in the world. But one thing needs to be clarified among fans: Rivers is performing poorly even with a perfect pocket.

As it currently stands, Rivers has the sixth-most attempts with a clean pocket in the NFL this season. A quarterback who is “kept clean” is not facing pressure on that drop back. However, Rivers is 22nd in completion percentage with a clean pocket. He also is tied for the third-most interceptions in the NFL when throwing from a clean pocket with eight. Eight interceptions, by the way, is more than half of his interception total this season.

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When given 2.5 seconds or more to throw, Rivers is tied with Ryan Fitzpatrick for the second-most interceptions with nine. With 2.5 or more seconds to throw, he has a worse NFL passer rating than Jameis Winston.

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