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NFL Power Rankings: Did the LA Chargers move up despite a loss?

(Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
(Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
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The LA Chargers may have lost in Week 2 but they may have also raised their own stock as well.

The LA Chargers were handed their first loss of the season in Week 2 via the Kansas City Chiefs but it was far from being a disappointing loss.

The Chargers went toe-to-toe with the Chiefs and were in control of the game for most of the game. Justin Herbert got a half-hour notice that he was starting the first game of his NFL career and looked great.

With all things considered, Charger fans have to be happy with what they saw in Week 2. Sure, losses are never fun, but this was a loss that we took a lot away from and it helped remove any worries around Herbert. The Bolts were a few questionable coaching decisions away from winning this game.

The Chargers went up in most power rankings after beating the Cincinnati Bengals in Week 1 — did they make a unique jump up in the rankings even in a loss? Let’s look at what the pundits have to say.

Dan Hanzus, NFL.com: 18th (+2)

“That’s why you always stay ready, kids. Justin Herbert didn’t know he was making his NFL debut until right before kickoff on Sunday, which made the resulting performance against the defending Super Bowl champion Chiefs all the more impressive. Herbert kept his poise and made a number of quality throws, giving the offense a spark it didn’t have under Tyrod Taylor in Week 1.”

Usually we see different narratives in all of the different power rankings. In Week 1, some talked about the defense, others talked about Joshua Kelley. These power rankings are going to be dominated by Justin Herbert.

Hanzus is right, Herbert was impressive. Impressive enough to move the Chargers into 18th on his list, continuing their trek up from his initial ranking.

Bleacher report staff: 15th (+6)

“Although Herbert didn’t get the win, he came close. He also had more passing yards (311), more yards per attempt (9.4) and a higher passer rating (94.4) than Patrick Mahomes. And Herbert became the first quarterback since 1954 to throw and run for a touchdown in the first half of his first NFL game, per SportsCenter.”

The LA Chargers made a MASSIVE jump in Bleacher Report’s rankings. Six spots are a lot, they went from being in the bottom third of the league to be in the top half. However, they are still third in the AFC West behind the Kansas City Chiefs and Las Vegas Raiders.

ESPN Staff: 18th (+4)

“Coach Anthony Lynn realized Ekeler needed to be more involved against the Chiefs, and he was electric. Ekeler had four catches for 55 yards and ran the ball 16 times for 93 yards. He got the extra yard where none was expected.”

The only reason why Austin Ekeler was mentioned and there was no mention of Justin Herbert is because ESPN took a fantasy football approach, calling Ekeler the Chargers’ under-the-radar fantasy standout.

They are right — Ekeler was much better in Week 2 than he was Week 1. However, I am not sure if I would call him “under-the-radar” considering he is a consensus top-10 fantasy running back at worst.

Randy Gurzi, NFL Spin Zone: 16th (+1)

“However, the Chargers were unable to hold the Chiefs off who sent it to overtime. Los Angeles had another chance in the extra period when they started out with the ball but then made a big mistake. They decided to punt on fourth-and-1 from the Chiefs 34.”

Yes! Anthony Lynn made a mistake in not going for it on fourth and one. I know hindsight is always 20-20, but you have to be aggressive and take the game to the Kansas City Chiefs knowing that they are going to at least get in field-goal range in overtime.

The Chargers did not rise much in Gurzi’s ranking, but he already had them much higher than the other power rankings, the rest are just now catching up.

LA Chargers consensus power ranking: 16.75

The Chargers consensus power ranking last week was exactly 20th, so they jumped up quite a bit in a loss. It showed that this team can be competitive with some of the best teams in the league, as long as Justin Herbert stays under center for the Bolts.

It will be interesting to see how the team handles the quarterback situation and how that reflects on the power ranking. Anthony Lynn said that the starting job is Tyrod Taylor’s once he is back to 100 percent, much to the dismay of Charger fans.

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Regardless, through two weeks with just one win under their belt, the LA Chargers are proving to be a better team than the pundits originally gave credit for.

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