Why the Chargers offense is sputtering (and what the solutions are)

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
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The LA Chargers dropped to 4-3 on the season with an ugly loss to the Seattle Seahawks that has upset the fanbase. While the Bolts have a winning record, they do not have a definitive win yet this season and already have two blowout losses in which they were severely outplayed and outcoached.

If Cade York drills the game-winning field goal in Week 5 and the Broncos don't muff the punt in overtime in Week 6 then this team could very well be 2-5. Los Angeles has the sixth-worst point differential in the entire NFL.

One of the main reasons why the team has struggled in these games is a sputtering offense. While it looked great against bad defenses in Houston and Cleveland, it has not been able to consistently look great. We weren't worried after the win over Denver but after Week 7, there is some cause for concern.

Some fans may simply point to the play-calling as the main reason why the offense is sputtering. While that is part of it, there is something much bigger going on and the play-calling is only one part of the blame pie.

From the smallest reason why to the largest, let's break down why this Chargers offense is struggling, and what the team can do to change course.

Why the Chargers offense is sputtering, a blame pie:

Justin Herbert isn't the same quarterback post-ribs injury: 10%

Justin Herbert simply has not been the same player since he fractured his rib cartilage in Week 2 and it is not hard to see why. That is a very painful injury that not only is going to impact how he throws the football but how he reacts to pressure and a closing pocket.

Herbert has made some ill-advised decisions that he normally would not make in recent weeks, which seem to be influenced by his ribs and not wanting to get hit. Granted, the offensive line has not been great (more on that later), but Herbert has proven in the past that he can elevate his play behind a bad offensive line.

Justin Herbert hasn't had a good game (for his standards) since the Houston game and overall, his only good games this year are against Houston, Kansas City and Jacksonville. He is obviously not himself and that definitely has an impact. Granted, an 80% Justin Herbert is still better than most quarterbacks in the league but with the other issues going on, him not playing up to his full potential does make an impact.

The solution:

The only solution for this is more time. Getting the bye week to completely shut down and rest is going to do wonders for Herbert, but it is still something that he is going to be dealing with for several more weeks. That is simply the fact of the matter and one that the Chargers have to live with and adjust to.