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Scouting Report: Bills vs. Chargers
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The Los Angeles Chargers (3-6) look to get back into the win column when they return to StubHub Center to host the Buffalo Bills (5-4). Kickoff is set for 1:05pm PT.
What to Watch For…
On Offense for the Chargers
The Bolts’ offense could look drastically different on Sunday should Philip Rivers not be cleared by doctors to play. Currently in the concussion protocol, he’d be replaced by Kellen Clemens with Cardale Jones as the backup. No matter who is under center, his top option will be Keenan Allen, who leads the team with 44 catches for 56 yards and one score. The Chargers would look to pound it on the ground with Melvin Gordon, who has rushed 147 times for 553 yards (3.8 ypc) with four touchdowns. Austin Ekeler has emerged as a potent complementary back, rushing 25 times for 124 yards and one score. Both backs are effective in passing situations, with Gordon catching 35 passes for 250 yards and Ekeler snaring 19 balls for 304 yards and a trio of TDs.
On Offense for the Bills
The Bills are making a switch at quarterback this week, handing the reins to rookie Nathan Peterman. The fifth-round pick out of Pittsburgh has completed 7-of-10 passes this year for 79 yards and a TD in limited action. Perennial Pro Bowler LeSean McCoy is the Bills’ top playmaker, leading the way on the ground and through the air. He’s carried the ball 157 times for 595 yards (3.7 ypc) and three touchdowns while snaring a team-high 41 passes for 253 yards. No other Bill has caught more than 22 passes (TE Charles Clay and WR Jordan Matthews). Meanwhile, this marks the second game for recently acquired wideout Kelvin Benjamin, who caught three passes for 42 yards a week ago in his Buffalo debut.
On Defense for the Chargers
The Joey Bosa—Melvin Ingram combo leads the league with 18 combined sacks. Bosa ranks second in the AFC with 9.5 while Ingram is third with 8.5. Meanwhile, Jahleel Addae paces the team with 47 tackles according to coaches’ stats, while Bosa paces the squad with 12.5 tackles for loss. Finally, Tre Boston’s three interceptions not only lead the team, but are tied for the fourth-most in the NFL.
On Defense for the Bills
Linebacker Preston Brown leads the Bills with 70 tackles while safety Micah Hyde has a team-high five interceptions. Hyde ranks second in the NFL in picks. Meanwhile, Jerry Hughes paces Buffalo with 3.0 sacks.
This marks the 38th meeting between the two clubs, with the Chargers leading 23-12-2. The last meeting came in Week 3 of 2014 in Buffalo with the Bolts emerging with a 22-10 victory.
By the Numbers
The Chargers rank 18th in total offense (331.6 yards per game), 13th in passing (242.9 ypg), 26th in rushing (88.7 ypg) and 23rd in points (18.6). The Bills rank 28th in total offense (292.0 ypg), 30th in passing (180.4 ypg), 15th in rushing (111.6 ypg) and 20th in points (20.4).
Defensively, the Bolts rank 19th in total defense (343.8 ypg), 11th in passing (208.7 ypg), 32nd rushing (135.1 ypg) and ninth in points allowed (19.1). Buffalo ranks 25th in total defense (359.9 ypg), 21st in passing (242.9 ypg), 22nd in rushing (117.0 ypg) and 15th in points allowed (21.8).
Milestones on the Horizon
The next touchdown pass between Philip Rivers and Antonio Gates will be the 86th connection for the pair, breaking a tie with Steve Young and Jerry Rice for the second-most in NFL history.
Gates needs eight more receptions to reach 921 for his career, which would pass Torry Holt for 20th in NFL history. He also needs 35 more receiving yards to reach 11,374 for his career, which would pass Keenan McCardell for 32nd in NFL history. Gates needs 51 more receiving yards to reach 11,390 for his career, which would pass Rod Smith for 31st in league annals.
With one more touchdown catch, Tyrell Williams will become the 10th Charger to ever reach double-digits in TD receptions.
Keenan Allen needs eight more receptions to reach 273 for his career, which would move him past Vincent Jackson for 12th in team history.
Noteworthy vs. the Bills
Philip Rivers is 4-1 versus Buffalo in his career with eight touchdowns to one interception. Rivers has thrown for 864 yards and completed 81 of 116 passes (69.8-percent). He holds a lifetime quarterback rating of 110.7 against the Bills. In his last two starts against Buffalo, Rivers is 42 of 58 for 496 yards with five touchdowns and zero interceptions. He’s completed 72 percent or more of his passes against the Bills in his last three starts.
Antonio Gates has hauled in 24 passes for 298 yards with four touchdowns against the Bills.
Corey Liuget registered six tackles, including a 0.5 sack against the Bills on Sept. 21, 2014.
Playing for Cleveland, Travis Benjamin caught his first career touchdown pass in a game against Buffalo. Benjamin hauled in a 22-yard pass from Brandon Weeden on Sept. 23, 2012.
Bills Linebackers Coach Bob Babich was on the Chargers coaching staff in 2016.
Bills Defensive Backs Coach Gill Byrd played for the Chargers from 1983-92 and was named to the Pro Bowl twice with the Chargers in 1991 & 1992. He a member of the Chargers Hall of Fame and played on both the 40th and 50th Anniversary teams.
Bills CB Shareece Wright was drafted by the Chargers and played with the Bolts from 2011-14.
Chargers Head Coach Anthony Lynn was the assistant head coach and interim head coach for the Bills from 2015-16.
Chargers Offensive Line Coach Pat Meyer coached in Buffalo with Lynn from 2015-16.
Chargers Defensive Line Coach Giff Smith coached for the Bills from 2010-12.
Chargers Defensive Assistant D’Anton Lynn coached in Buffalo from 2015-16.
Chargers QB Cardale Jones played for the Bills in 2016.
FOX – Chris Myers (play-by-play), Daryl Johnston (analyst) and Laura Okmin (sideline)
KFI-AM 640 – Matt “Money” Smith (play-by-play), Nick Hardwick (analyst) and Shannon Farren (sideline)
Spanish Radio: KFWB – AM 980 – Jorge Villanueva (play-by-play) and Tony Alvarez (analyst)
Chargers radio broadcasts throughout the season will be able to be heard across 11 radio stations from Southern California to Nevada. Fans can listen in English on KGB-FM and KLSD AM (San Diego), KNWZ-AM (Palm Springs), KALZ-AM (Fresno), KBFP-AM (Bakersfield), KNWH-FM (Yucca Valley), KRLV-FM (Las Vegas), KRAK-AM (Victorville/Hesperia), KATY-FM (San Bernardino) and KPLY-AM (Reno). Spanish broadcasts can be heard on XHFG-FM (San Diego).