LA Chargers: Four things to know about the Bolts and Jets in Week 11
By Jason Reed
3. The New York Jets are actually better on first down than the LA Chargers
The LA Chargers can be really frustrating to watch. They have a revolutionary rookie quarterback that is setting records this early in his career with pretty decent weapons around him. Keenan Allen is one of the best wide receivers in the league, Mike Williams is a great deep-ball threat and Hunter Henry is an above-average pass-catching tight end.
The team is also banged up at running back. Austin Ekeler and Justin Jackson are currently injured and Joshua Kelley has been really disappointing and ineffective thus far in his career. The team is down to Kalen Ballage, who was unemployed a few months ago.
Yet because Anthony Lynn is a former running back, he is obsessed with establishing the run. Heading into the fourth quarter against Miami, the Chargers ran the ball more with Ballage and Kelley than they passed with Justin Herbert.
The numbers back up that this is a terrible strategy. According to Sharp Football Statistics, the Chargers pass the ball 42% of the time on first down, the fourth-fewest in the league.
So 58% of the time the Chargers run the ball on first down. First down runs have been deemed successful 41% of the time and average 3.9 yards per attempt. That is bad. That is the third-worst success rate (behind Chicago and Denver) and the 3.9 yards per attempt is among the bottom-third of the league.
As bad as Adam Gase is, especially at playcalling, the Jets are actually better than the Chargers on first down. They pass the ball 53% of the time, averaging 6.6 yards with a 49% success rate (Chargers average 7 yards on a 48% success rate).
In first-down runs, the Jets average 4.6 yards with a 53% success rate, far better than the LA Chargers.