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Lessons From Week 13
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Week 13’s loss to the Cincinnati Bengals dropped the Chargers record to 4-8. Here is what we learned from Sunday’s 20-13 defeat.
1. Injuries Mounting– The Chargers injury situation has gone from bad to worse. Heading into Sunday’s game it was the defense that was banged up, but coming out of the game it was the offense, and more specifically the offensive line, that took a beating. Jeromey Clary, Tyronne Green and Mike Harris all suffered injuries, and head coach Norv Turner said Monday he doesn’t anticipate any of them playing next week against the Pittsburgh Steelers. This is just the latest in what has been an endless string of injuries that has decimated the offensive line, which in turn has limited the offense as a whole. As of right now, Turner says “it’s a mystery” who the team will have out there in Week 14.
2. Run Game Struggling - As I wrote earlier today, Ryan Mathews and the rest of the Chargers rushing attack has not been able to find its footing this season.Yesterday’s game was a microcosm of what’s gone wrong the entire year as Mathews had only nine carries for 26 yards, averaging 2.8 yards per attempt.
3. Deep Ball’s Disappeared – Once a great vertical passing team, the Chargers have struggled mightily in that area of late. For the game, the Bolts were just 4-of-10 on passes of 15-yards or more. Even more alarming was the fact that the team was only 1-of-7 in those situations in the second half after being a perfect 3-for-3 in the first half. Part of the reason for these struggles has to do with the injuries to the offensive line and Rivers not having enough time to sit back in the pocket and let receivers get open down the field.
4. Next Man Up – The replacements filling in for injured starters on defense stepped up in a big way on Sunday. Demorrio Williams filled in for Donald Butler and had a pick-six early in the second quarter. Corey Lynch, meanwhile, started for Atari Bigby and had an interception of his own while also leading the team with 11 tackles. They weren’t the only two youngsters who had strong games, as Danario Alexander surpassed 100 receiving yards for the second time this season, Jonas Mouton had a key QB pressure in the second quarter that prevented a touchdown and Melvin Ingram had a career-high six tackles.
5. Opportunistic Defense – The Bolts D has played extremely well for the most part, and caused three turnovers on Sunday. One of those was the aforementioned Williams pick-six. It was the team’s fifth pick-six of the season, which is the second most in team history and most since the 1961 squad recorded nine. Williams also became the Chargers first linebacker to return two interceptions for touchdowns since Woodrow Lowe in 1979.