The Chargers looked to move back to .500 in Week 10 as they faced the Dolphins at home before heading into the Bye Week. Unfortunately, huge mistakes in key situations lead to the Miami Dolphins stealing this game away from the Chargers.
Let’s take a look at the good, the bad and the ugly of another heartbreaking Chargers’ loss.
Tyrell Williams– 5 REC, 126 YDS, TD
With Travis Benjamin out with a knee injury, Tyrell Williams stepped up in a big way, as he has done pretty much all season. You have to love Tyrell’s ability to find ways to get open and his desire to learn from his mistakes. After running the wrong route and getting chewed out by Philip Rivers and Mike McCoy, Williams made up for his error the very next play with a game/momentum changing 51 yard touchdown reception. You almost wonder if Tyrell would have come this far if this team still had Keenan Allen and Stevie Johnson. None the less, look for Tyrell to get even better after the bye week, sans any injury setback.
Chargers Defense– No Denzel Perryman or Jatavis Brown? No problem. With those key injuries, this rag-tag defensive unit did their job in key moments in the game, especially Korey Toomer who lead the way with ten tackles and one assist. In addition, this band of misfits was able to hold the NFL’s leading rusher, Jay Ajayi, to 79 yards on 19 carries. Even if I didn’t agree with John Pagano’s play calling at key moments, you can’t blame the defense for this loss. The defense kept the Chargers in it until the end and with the upcoming bye week, this defense should get even better; getting Brown and Perryman back from injury,
Worth a mention– Trevor Williams, Melvin Ingram and Melvin Gordon.
In four games with nine penalties on one player, there comes a time where you have to rethink who is out there. It would be okay if Joe was good at his job. The truth is he’s not. In those four games he has been consistently beat at the point of attack, allowing Rivers to be sacked on multiple occasions. With the present bye week, the coaching staff needs to see that just because he is healthy, Barksdale is just not getting it done. Can they please try Chris Hairston or DJ Fluker at the right tackle position?
Offensive Line Pass Protection
In addition to Barksdale, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention how bad this line was as whole. For the second week in a row, Rivers continued to find himself looking up at a blue San Diego sky. Three times last Sunday, Rivers was probably wondering if his line would ever protect him. This has been a consistent problem that can only be fixed by a short, quick passing game and running the ball far more consistently.
Philip Rivers– 23/44 326 YDs, 3 TDs, 4 INTs
After the game Rivers took all the blame for the team losing on Sunday as he should have. This team lives and dies by his success and struggles. Rivers struggled a lot on Sunday throwing four interceptions; three of which were in key points of the game. The first one of those three came off of a rare Dolphins turnover, giving the Bolts a 1st and goal at the five yard line. Rivers looked like he just wasn’t paying attention to zone defense as he threw into double coverage for an easy interception. Tough to come out of that situation with no touchdown – let alone no points at all.
The second came as the Chargers were driving down the field late in the game – trying to get in field goal range for a game winning score. Philip was baited into thinking Kiko Alonso was blitzing, As the ball was snapped, Kiko instead backs out into zone stepping in front of the first read. Tyrell Williams. and took it back for the Dolphins go ahead score. Finally, on the game sealing interception, #17 is again looking for Tyrell who wasn’t even open on the play. He forced it, instead of looking elsewhere or taking the sack and live to fight another down.With the upcoming bye week, its time for Rivers to rest up. Get Travis Benjamin back and hoping Williams gets 100% healthy he will try to get this team back into the thick of things if it’s not too late.
Situational Play Calling- Too many times this season have we seen this team get bogged down in the redzone. Why? Because we run the same predictable plays every time we get to the opponents twenty yard line or closer. Where was the screen passes? Where was the quick slants? We ran a screen to Melvin Gordon on a crucial third down and he was able to gain a ton of yards. Yet we only ran the screen again with a failed screen to Antonio Gates. Lets be realistic for a moment: Screens are for speedy and shifty players in the open field. Gates is none of those at the back-end of his career. Quick slants were one of the factors in the Chargers victory against the Tennessee Titans the previous week. Yet against Miami, the offense went away from the bread and butter.
Most of the season, the question most asked is “Why didn’t the charger run the ball (in key situations)? I’m aware Gordon was getting stuffed for most of the game, however Ayaji was also getting stopped but the Dolphins had no problem running it in twice in the red-zone. So if San Diego fired Frank Reich last year for these same issues, why does this continue to happen? The answer is Mike McCoy who seems to have some sort of say in these situations. If this is the case, Mike has to go this week. He is holding this team back from being good or great. I for one have seen enough of this McNorv experiment and its time to move on. I hope that during this time off, the “powers that be” make the right decision and let McCoy go. A change is desperately needed, although I highly doubt this organization has any guts to do it.
Worth a mention– Dwight Lowery
For the first time in what seems like forever, the Chargers’ injury report does not seem to be too overwhelming.
As opposed to having a plethora of names on the report, the list features four players who will either miss the game or are questionable.
The three-game stretch that began with Denver last week, a game in which the Chargers won 21-13, continues with a road trip to Atlanta and then ends at Mile High in Denver. This run is critical when it comes to determining whether or not the Bolts can turn around their disappointing 2-4 start.
- SS – Jahleel Addae Clavicle
- OLB – Jerry Attaochu Ankle
- CB – Brandon Flowers Concussion
- WR – Travis Benjamin Knee
The fact that Attaochu is out this week is a bit concerning, but it is not the end of the world. Though the linebacking corps is getting thin both inside and outside, Attaochu has been relegated to pass-rushing situations this season.
His presence on passing downs will be missed, but the Chargers will run with Melvin Ingram and Kyle Emanuel as the usual starters with Tourek Williams coming off of the bench.
Veteran cornerback Brandon Flowers will miss his fourth consecutive game for San Diego. He has been dealing with concussion issues for a month now. The team has gone on the record saying that he is getting closer to joining his teammates in practice and on game day, but that time is not now.
Seeing wideout Travis Benjamin listed as questionable is a big issue. With the Chargers already rolling out a depleted wide receiving group, Benjamin’s playmaking ability would certainly be missed should he not be able to play on Sunday.
If Benjamin is unable to play, the team would trot out Tyrell Williams, Dontrelle Inman and Griff Whalen. Calling up Dom Williams from the practice squad is not out of the equation.
One thing of note on the injury report is that inside linebacker Denzel Perryman was a full participant in practice for all three days this week. Perryman has been dealing with a shoulder ailment the last few weeks, and a healthy No. 52 should pay dividends this week against a dangerous Falcons’ offense.
The Chargers need all healthy hands on deck for this week’s game in Atlanta. The Falcons are one of the hottest teams in the NFL, boasting a 4-2 record, the league’s top scoring offense and leading the NFC South.
The Bolts must not get behind early in this one, or it could be a long day for the fellas in lightning bolts.
Thanks a lot for reading.
Dave Booga Peters
The San Diego Chargers will have their first primetime game of 2016 Thursday against the Denver Broncos.
Off to a 1-4 start, the Bolts look to win their first divisional game since November of 2014.
Suffering multiple season-ending injuries to starters such as Keenan Allen, Danny Woodhead and Jason Verrett, among others, the Chargers are banged up — as usual — entering their Week 6 contest against the Broncos.
The team released its injury report on Wednesday for the Thursday Night game at home against Denver.
- SS – Jahleel Addae Collarbone
- CB – Brandon Flowers Concussion
- OT – Joe Barksdale Foot
- OG – Orlando Franklin Ankle
- OT – Chris Hairston Groin
- CB – Craig Mager Shoulder
- WR – Dexter McCluster Hamstring
- ILB – Denzel Perryman Shoulder
All of the players listed as questionable were limited in practice on both Tuesday and Wednesday. Some of that could be a precaution, while it may also mean that they just weren’t able to practice fully.
Knowing the history of the Chargers’ injuries along the offensive line, it is discouraging to see two starters (Barksdale and Franklin) on the list, along with their swing-tackle (Hairston).
Perryman may miss another game with that shoulder ailment, leaving the inside linebacker spots to rookie Jatavis Brown, Joshua Perry and the recently signed Korey Toomer.
The secondary will once again be without cornerback Brandon Flowers, who is still working through the concussion protocol. His absence leaves Craig Mager, Casey Hayward, Steve Williams, Pierre Desir and the recently promoted Trevor Williams as the team’s cornerbacks.
Chargers’ fans are not strangers to watching a severely banged-up squad, but, nonetheless, the Bolts must come out and find a way to win their second game of the 2016 season regardless of their injuries.
For whatever reason, I do believe they’ll achieve just that, beating Denver at home by a score of 27-26.
Dave Booga Peters
Offensive lineman King Dunlap joined the Chargers via free agency during the 2013 offseason.
After missing five games during his debut season with San Diego, Dunlap went on to play in and start all 16 games of the 2014 season, earning him a new four-year, $28 million deal with the organization during the 2015 offseason. The now 31-year-old was also awarded the team’s Offensive Lineman of the Year Award for his work during the 2014 campaign.
Then comes the 2015 season.
Due to various injuries and ailments, including concussion problems, Dunlap only suited up for seven games in ’15, leaving the starting left tackle spot to be manned by players such as Tyreek Burwell and Chris Hairston, to name a couple.
The hope around Chargers Park was that the nine-year veteran would rebound health-wise and come into the 2016 season will a clean bill of health.
Everything seemed fine for Dunlap, that is until the day of their Week 3 contest against the Indianapolis Colts.
Reports from the team came out that Dunlap was suffering from an “illness” of some sort, relating, to at least some degree, to migraines.
Dunlap missed the Week 3 loss against the Colts and he would go on to miss the Week 4 loss to the Saints, too.
The Chargers have gone on the record stating that Dunlap’s illness issues do not have anything to do with a concussion, something that he has dealt with throughout portions of his football career.
When the Bolts released their Wednesday practice participation report, Dunlap was listed as a limited participant, meaning he probably did some stretching and individual work but did not participate in many, if any, team drills.
Last week against the Saints, the Chargers moved Joe Barksdale over to left tackle and shuffled around other portions of the offensive line, as well.
The team has also used Chris Hairston at left tackle in the absence of Dunlap.
It is very difficult to say when one should expect Dunlap to return to field. The Bolts, as usual, have been very tight-lipped on the issue, so it is safe to say that no one truly has any idea when King will be back on the gridiron.
Needless to say, we all hope he returns sooner rather than later.
Dave Booga Peters
After suffering their third loss of the season, another game in which the Chargers should have come out victorious, the Bolts enter their Week 5 contest against the Oakland Raiders very banged up.
But what’s new?
The team announced its practice participation report for Wednesday’s practice.
Did not participate:
- SS – Jahleel Addae Clavicle
- LB – Nick Dzubnar Knee
- CB – Brandon Flowers Concussion
- CB – Jason Verrett Knee (It was announced on Wednesday that he has a partially torn ACL and will miss the remainder of the 2016 season)
- OT – Joe Barksdale Foot
- OT – King Dunlap Illness
- OG – Orlando Franklin Knee
- TE – Antonio Gates Hamstring
- OT – Chris Hairston Groin
- ILB – Joshua Perry Knee
- ILB – Denzel Perryman Shoulder
- DL – Joey Bosa Hamstring
Well, I’ll be damned! Joey Bosa may play in his first NFL game since being drafted by the Chargers with the third overall pick in this year’s draft. Though the team will remain cautious regarding the hamstring ailment that the rookie has been dealing with since signing his rookie contract, Bosa may be added to the mix as a situational pass rusher come Sunday.
Again, the team has not decided whether or not he will indeed make his NFL debut, but it is nice to see that he is getting closer to suiting up in a regular season game for the Bolts.
Both starting offensive tackles (Joe Barksdale and King Dunlap) and the team’s starting left guard (Orlando Franklin) were all limited participants on Wednesday. Joining the injury-laden linemen is swing-tackle Chris Hairston.
After using 26 different offensive line combinations during the 2015 season, the Chargers are already having to mix and match their options along the offensive front.
In addition to the offensive line, the team’s inside linebacking corps is banged up (Dzubnar, Perry and Perryman all were limited), too. When you add in the loss of Manti Te’o for the season, a once promising group has been reduced to shambles. Hopefully the shoulder injury to Perryman is not too serious, and he’ll play on Sunday at close to 100 percent.
The only positive that comes from the maladies suffered by the inside linebackers is it forces the team to get rookie backer Jatavis Brown more involved on the defensive side of the ball.
Despite the fact that the defense was without cornerback Brandon Flowers this past Sunday, and he did not practice on Wednesday, that is not the worst news regarding the secondary this week. Stud cornerback Jason Verrett has been lost for the year due to a partially torn ACL.
Recovering from the loss of your best defensive player is never a small task.
The secondary has already been without starting strong safety Jahleel Addae, as he suffered a clavicle injury and is expected to miss more time.
As it stands right now, the cornerback group is down to Casey Hayward, Craig Mager, Pierre Desir and the recently re-signed Stevie Williams; that is, of course, if Flowers struggles to pass the concussion protocol tests as we approach Sunday.
Just like any other year in recent memory for Chargers fans, the team has been bombarded with injuries, forcing the club to play individuals that even some Chargers fans are not familiar with the names on the backs of their jerseys.
I mean, this was supposed to be “our year,” right, guys? (Every year is supposed to be our year, as long as the team stays healthy and the coaches find a way to remove their heads from their asses…..)
The injury report leading up to this week’s game is certainly something worth keeping your eyes on, folks.
Dave Booga Peters
Here we are once again, left to ponder the “what-ifs.” What if this pass was completed? What if this tackle was made? What if this play was called? It is like a broken record for Chargers fans. This was once again the case as the Chargers dropped another heartbreaker to the Colts on Sunday.
After a sluggish offensive start, especially from Philip Rivers — who just looked a bit off all game long — the Bolts fell behind early by a score of 13-6.The Chargers then would tie it up on a fantastic strip sack by Jatavis Brown. The scoop and score afterward by Caraun Reid looked to be the play of the season thus far. The Bolts looked to have stolen the momentum from the Colts going into halftime.
The Chargers would then come out for the second half seeming to shake of the rust of the first half, as they drove the ball down the field lead by some huge catches by Tyrell Williams and Hunter Henry. The drive was then capped off by a 1-yard touchdown run by second-year running back Melvin Gordon. Following the TD, the extra point was blocked by former Charger Antonio Cromartie. On the ensuing drive, the Colts would march right down the field and score, creeping to a one-point disadvantage, 20-19.
As San Diego looked to close the game out, the Rivers-led offense drove the ball down the field in a drive in which Melvin Gordon looked effective, yet the Chargers once again went away from him, throwing it on three consecutive downs. Rivers continued to look just a bit off on two of the three passing plays.
The Bolts just seemed content to kick a field goal and let the defense “Do its job;” by job I mean a big choke job, as Jason Verrett had his worst day in lightning bolts, getting burned by nicked up T.Y. Hilton all game long. The final drive from the Colts would be no different, as Luck would find T.Y. for the game-winning score, as fill-in safety Dexter McCoil and a host of Chargers couldn’t bring him down.
With 1:15 left and two timeouts, the Bolts seemed to have enough time to mount a comeback and steal this one. All hopes of this would soon be dashed away, as a huge completion to Hunter Henry would turn into a fumble with Clayton Geathers punching the ball out and the Colts’ D’Qwell Jackson would recover it, leaving Chargers fans to continue to wonder what if…
Duds of the game:
Philip Rivers – I’m sure he would be the first one to tell you he wasn’t sharp and he left too many points on the field. Notably, early in the game, No. 17 missed a wide open Dexter McCluster for a score. Philip was 26 of 39 for 330 passing yards. Why is he on the Dud list? His misfires were in huge situations where we he has been known to deliver. This loss was atypical for Rivers, seeing as he missed several throws which he would normally complete with ease.
Jason Verrett – I can’t think of a game in which I’ve seen Jason struggle like this. Hilton had his number all day, hauling in eight receptions for 174 yards and the late touchdown to him. Maybe it was just a bad day for Jason. He was definitely exposed against the speed of the Colts’ No. 13.
The Injury Bug – If it wasnt apparent with the loss of Keenan Allen and Danny Woodhead, the injury bug is alive and well in Charger-land, claiming its next victim for the injured-reserve list, Manti Te’o. Te’o wasn’t the only one who was injured, as DJ Fluker, Jason Verrett and Denzel Perryman all looked gimpy by the end of the game on Sunday. Injuries are the nature of the game and tons of teams deal with them, but it seems no team has had to deal with it quite as much as the Bolts have over the past three years. Maybe there really is something in the water, or maybe the McNorv Kool Aid is going bad..
Dishonorable mentions – Chargers’ Run D (making Frank Gore look like ’08 Gore), Chris Hairston, Brandon Flowers
Studs of the game:
Jatavis Brown – The 2016 fifth-round selection was thrown into the fire when Te’o went down. Brown made his presence known with his strip of Andrew Luck. He also laid some huge lumber on a number of plays. We didn’t see much of Jatavis in preseason. One thing is for certain: from the limited time we have seen him on the field, Brown seems to have a nose for the ball and is a more capable coverage linebacker then Manti. With No. 50 out for the season, we will see if he can consistently be as disruptive as he was this past Sunday.
Tyrell Williams – Does any wide receiver on this team get more YAC (Yards after the catch) than Williams? He gets the ball and breaks tackles gaining at least 10 more yards afterwards. Add to that he has become one of Philip’s go-to guys on 3rd down, consistently picking them up time after time in the second half. If anyone needs to see the ball more it’s this guy. The emergence of Williams can only mean positive things for this offense going forward.
Melvin Gordon – Numbers-wise, his performance wasn’t better than last week; in fact, it wasn’t even close, as Gordon had 16 carries for 36 yards, adding one rushing score. Why is he on here then? For the simple fact that he contributed on all phases on offense: rushing, receiving and pass protection. The block he had on Robert Mathis was just unbelievable. Last year’s Melvin would’ve missed that. Melvin still has a long way to go, but thus far this season he’s showed up and then some.
Honorable Mentions – Chargers’ pass rush, Casey Hayward, Travis Benjamin, Denzel Perryman
After Tuesday turned out to be an extremely eventful day as far as transactions are concerned for the Chargers, the team is back at practice Wednesday as they prepare to take on the Chicago Bears at home on Monday night.
The Bolts have completed the first half of the 2015 regular season by going 2-6, losing four games on the final drive, minute or play.
Losers of four in a row and five of their last six, it is hard to justify this team winning too many more games going forward. That being said, do you believe in miracles? Because that is what it will take for the Chargers to find a way to finish this season strong, perhaps even squeaking into the playoffs.
Stranger things have happened.
Despite the fact that the team is entering the “softer” side of their schedule, San Diego has not shown that they can win even when they are expected to do so. The struggles of this team have been widely documented on this site.
I would like to skip right past the fluff and get right to the question in the title.
You know the drill. Place your vote on the poll and leave a comment below justifying why you voted the way you did.
Thanks in advance for voting and commenting.
Running back Melvin Gordon has had a very disappointing first half of 2015.
The rookie has had trouble transitioning to the NFL game, struggling to get things going on the ground with little help from his blockers.
In Gordon’s defense, the offensive line has had several different starting combinations through eight games, losing players left and right to various ailments. Not having a cohesive unit in front of him is partly why the running back has had trouble establishing himself.
In Sunday’s 29-26 loss to the Ravens, the former Badger received his most touches in a single game this season, carrying the ball 18 times for 54 yards and hauling in five receptions for only seven yards, totaling 23 touches for 61 yards.
For the eighth consecutive game, the rookie ball carrier was unable to reach the end zone.
The fact that the Chargers stuck with keeping him involved in the running game was admirable, but Gordon was ineffective for the most part. The offensive line was not much help, struggling to open up sufficient holes.
The 2015 first-round selection is not racking up the yards like he would hope, but he did avoid fumbling on Sunday. Gordon was benched partially due to his inability to protect the rock, but saw his most significant amount of game action on Sunday. He has fumbled four times, losing three.
On the season, Melvin has carried the ball 103 times for 382 yards. Through the air, he has registered 18 receptions for 93 yards.
Gordon is on pace to finish the season with 764 rushing yards and 186 receiving yards.
That is not exactly what you want out of a first-round back that you traded up for, but hopefully he can turn it on in the second half of the year.
When setting his goals for his rookie campaign, one can guarantee that this is not what the 22-year-old had in mind.
With the Bolts stumbling to a 2-6 record, the team will most likely continue to get the ball to Gordon, giving him more and more confidence as the year wears on. As long as he is able to protect the ball, and the Chargers don’t get too far behind early in games, expect the offense to continue to keep Gordon heavily involved in the game plan.
His next shot at improving his game and scoring his first NFL touchdown will be Monday night against the Chicago Bears. They currently rank as the 10th overall defense in yards given up, coming in at 29th at stopping the run (allowing 128 rushing yards a game).
This opportunity will be the fifth time in 2015 that Gordon and the Chargers’ offense will face an opposing defense ranked in the bottom 10 of the league against the run.
There is still plenty of time for Gordon to put it all together and have that signature performance, shutting up his critics in the process. But it would be nice for his confidence if that effort would come sooner rather than later.
The Chargers have announced their weekly injury report for this Sunday’s game against the Baltimore Ravens. Although things on the injury front seem to be improving numbers-wise, the team will be without marquee starters at multiple positions.
- LG – Orlando Franklin (Ankle)
- ILB – Manti Te’o (Ankle)
- FS – Eric Weddle (Groin)
- OLB – Tourek Williams (Foot)
- ILB – Denzel Perryman (Biceps)
- TE – Antonio Gates (Knee)
- NT – Sean Lissemore (Hamstring)
- CB – Craig Mager (Hamstring)
- RB – Melvin Gordon (Ankle)
- C – Chris Watt (Groin)
The Chargers’ offensive line will once again be without left guard Orlando Franklin, but it will be getting back center Chris Watt this week. Reserve center Trevor Robinson played well in Watt’s absence, and he could possibly force the Bolts to keep Watt on the shelf for one more game in order to ensure he gets back to full health.
Also on the offensive side of the ball, Philip Rivers could be without his favorite target, Antonio Gates, for the sixth game in 2015. Gates tweaked his knee on the final drive of the team’s loss to the Packers in Week 6. Should the future Hall of Famer miss the game on Sunday, Ladarius Green will once again be called upon to start at tight end.
Green, 25, has already set career-highs in receptions (26) and touchdowns (4), adding 304 yards receiving. The fourth-year veteran is only 73 yards away from his career-high in receiving yards, too.
While the offense is slowly getting healthier, the defensive side of the ball is not so lucky.
The Chargers’ defense will be missing inside linebacker Manti Te’o and free safety Eric Weddle for the second consecutive week. Te’o was one tackle behind Weddle for the team-lead prior to the two starters becoming injured. Weddle, nursing a groin injury, is missing consecutive games for the first since 2009.
Te’o’s replacement, Denzel Perryman, is listed as doubtful for the game on Sunday, forcing back-up linebacker Kavell Conner into the starting lineup.
Conner was signed as a free agent from Indianapolis two years ago.
Though he won’t play against the Ravens, outside linebacker Tourek Williams returned to practice this week for the first time since August. Upon his return, he will be a welcome addition to the anemic pass rush in San Diego. He is also a prime performer on special teams.
This week’s game is a must-win for the Chargers. It is up to the players and coaches to get this thing turned around starting Sunday.
Should the team lose to the Ravens on the road, they can basically kiss goodbye to any opportunity to make the playoffs this year.
The Chargers (2-5) travel to Baltimore (1-6) on Sunday to take on the Ravens in what is a must-win contest for the Bolts.
With the Denver Broncos currently sitting atop the AFC West at 6-0, the Chargers are resigned to shooting for a wildcard spot, seeing as surpassing the Broncos is highly unlikely.
San Diego entered the 2015 campaign with high hopes. The free-agency period seemed to be a success; with general manager Tom Telesco signing the player he coveted in offensive lineman Orlando Franklin, wide receiver Stevie Johnson and offensive lineman Joe Barksdale, to name a few.
Other free-agent acquisitions that have started games include safety Jimmy Wilson, offensive lineman Chris Hairston and cornerback Patrick Robinson.
It could be argued that Robinson has played the best out of all of the team’s pickups, making the greatest impact of the bunch.
While Franklin and Johnson have missed multiple games due to injuries, Barksdale has been reliable and steady for the Bolts, starting all seven games this season.
Once the NFL draft came, Telesco moved up two spots to select running back Melvin Gordon, an electrifying runner out of Wisconsin.
Needless to say, Gordon has not gotten off to the start that either he or the team would like, being benched due to fumbling issues. The first-year ball carrier has struggled mightily, posting only 328 yards on 85 carries with no touchdowns. In the receiving game, Gordon has tallied 13 receptions for 86 yards. The stat that sticks out the most for No. 28 is the fact that he has fumbled four times, losing three to opposing defenses.
Enough about the offseason. Let’s fast forward to present day.
The Chargers have lost three consecutive games and five of the last six.
If the season were to end today, San Diego would have the eighth selection in the first round of the 2016 draft.
But helps comes along in the way of the next four games, including Sunday’s matchup against the Ravens.
The Chargers’ next four opponents — Baltimore, Chicago, Kansas City and Jacksonville — have combined to win four games in 2015. The team’s next opponent’s sole victory came in overtime against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
If the Chargers are to turn around their season, it starts this Sunday. Losing this game would not make it impossible to make the playoffs, but it certainly wouldn’t seem very likely if they fall to 2-6.
This is, without a doubt, a must-win game for the Chargers if they have any hopes that extend past the regular season.
San Diego’s inability to establish the running game on offense and stop the run defensively will be placed under the microscope once again in Week 8.
Quarterback Philip Rivers is on pace for a career-year, throwing the ball an inordinate amount due to the team’s poor rushing attack. Rivers is set to break NFL records for both completions and passing yards in a season.
Should the offense again be unable to get it going on the ground, it will be up to Rivers and the passing attack to carry the team to victory over Baltimore.
The Ravens are ranked as the 25th defense overall in yards given up per game, placing 11th against the run and 28th against the pass.
Considering the aforementioned stats, the passing offense of the Chargers should be able to carve up the Ravens’ secondary. That being said, it sure would be nice to see San Diego establish some semblance of a running game.
On the other side of the ball, the Bolts rank 18th overall in yards given up, placing 31st against the run and 9th against the pass. The Ravens come in with the 14th ranked offense, 12th in passing and 18th in rushing.
Defensively, the Chargers have to limit the production of running back Justin Forsett and wideout Steve Smith Sr. Both weapons could give John Pagano’s unit fits if they are allowed to get hot early.
Flying east is never easy for a west-coast squad. The Ravens have won 11 of their last 12 against west-coast teams at home. Their one loss came last year by none of than the Chargers.
The Week 8 game is going to say a lot about the Chargers and their coaching staff. Do they have what it takes to get things turned around, or is this team doomed to miss the playoffs for the second consecutive season?
We’ll find out on Sunday.