LA Chargers: 3 areas that must improve from Week 1 to Week 2

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(Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images) – LA Chargers
(Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images) – LA Chargers /

Convert on third and fourth down

It was emphasized often how this was a turnover-free game by the LA Chargers. However, they turned the ball over on downs twice. And yes, Rivers and Gordon took their turnovers elsewhere, but they could have helped convert crucial fourth downs which gave the Bengals good field position.

The Chargers ended up going 0-2 on fourth downs, as well as a lackluster 6-16 on third downs. Whether it was poor execution on a sneak, a slip, or just plain ineffectiveness, the Chargers gambled twice and fell up short. The ability to prolong drives is key to winning games, and the Chargers’ struggles in this department are what kept the game so close throughout.

Yes, Gordon and Rivers are gone, but they have a wide range of options they have unlocked with their new mobile quarterback. Taylor’s size isn’t his greatest asset, which was evident in the failed sneak.

What he does have is the speed to get away from defenders to get a yard. Ekeler also possesses speed, surprising power at the point of contact, and an incredible jump that can go over piles of linemen.

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The team’s new running back, Joshua Kelley, has the kind of size that is an asset in short-yardage situations. Even Easton Stick was active, for some reason, and some two-quarterback shenanigans to take advantage of his athleticism could also work.

Creativity is almost vital to succeeding on offense in the NFL these days, and innovative coaches will find unconventional ways to keep their offense on the field.

The Chargers will inevitably get some tough decisions to make on fourth down against the Chiefs, and the Chargers will need better execution and more creativity to not turn the ball over to Mahomes, who will most certainly make the most of that chance, unlike Joe Burrow.

More crucial than 4th down execution will be getting into 4th down in the first place. The Chargers will need to sustain drives if they pretend to beat the Chiefs, and for that, they’ll need to convert on 3rd down. Luckily for the Bolts, they have one of the best third-down receivers in the whole league.

Keenan Allen had 23 first down receptions on 3rd downs in 2019, good for 4th in the league. He had 63 first down catches overall, which was fifth in the league. Only Julio Jones was above him in both categories.

Allen went missing for times against the Bengals, but they’ll need to feature him more often in their game script against the Chiefs if they aim to improve their efficiency on third downs.