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Bolts Not Backing Down Against Top-Ranked Rams Defense


The Chargers offense knows it's in for a test this week, facing a Rams defense that has not allowed a point in six quarters. In fact, they are allowing a league-low 6.5 points per game through two games.

As such, Philip Rivers knows he's in for a challenge this week, sharing with the media on Wednesday how he broke it down to his young children at home.

"I was just telling my family, my little ones yesterday, (that) they don't have rankings in the pros like they do in college," Rivers said. "But they have those (media) power rankings, and this team's ranked number one right now. So, I was just giving them an idea of the challenge this week. It's a heck of an opponent and we're looking forward to it."

While the Rams have been at the top of their game to start the year defensively, the Bolts have been equally impressive on offense. Thus, while acknowledging it's a tough test, they remain confident in their ability to put points on the board.

They simply will remain true to who they are.

"We have a horizontal passing attack," Head Coach Anthony Lynn said earlier this week.  "So we are going to spread the defense out and try to get the guys the ball who are in the right holes."

"I feel like we've got a good plan," added Offensive Coordinator Ken Whisenhunt. "We're still working on it, and it will be interesting and exciting to see how it plays out."

When they take the field, Rivers and company will face a defense that will look familiar to many of them.

Rams Defensive Coordinator Wade Phillips was Lynn's first NFL coach when the pair was with the Broncos in 1993. Although more than 20 years have passed, Lynn knows Phillips' traits will be on display this Sunday.

"I played for him during my rookie year in the league," Lynn said. "I know what he's like on defense and know what he brings to that organization with leadership. That defense is going to be salty."

Phillips also served as DC for the Bolts from 2004-2006, so Rivers went up against his scheme repeatedly at practice. Not only that, it's also a similar defense that John Pagano ran for the Bolts when he served as defensive coordinator from 2012-2016.

While that familiarity can help, it will only do so to an extent.

At times, it can even be a detriment.

"It does help because you understand what they're trying to do," Whisenhunt explained. "But it also hurts you because they know what you do and how you adjust to what they do. So, it's a constant chess match for lack of a better (phrase)."

Overall, the Rams don't try to fool you with what they run. They believe they are going to out-execute you even though you know what's coming.

"They don't try to trick you with their scheme," Rivers said. "They just line up and say they're better than you. That works for them a lot of the time. So, it will be a heck of a challenge. You've seen what they've done the last two weeks, but the last six quarters really not giving up a score. They're a good defense."

At the same time, the Bolts are equally confident in their offense, and for good reason.

The Chargers offense has been among the most potent in the league thus far, ranking third in total offense (445.0 yards per game), third in passing (329.0 ypg), 11th in rushing (116.0 ypg) and eighth in points (29.5).

Rivers has played against a Phillips' coached defense many times, and both sides have come out on top.

Sunday will simply be the next chapter in their story.

"We've had so many games (against him)," he explained. "Some games were good (where) we've been on the winning end (and) plenty where we haven't. They're putting the same ones away, too, in their memory banks. It's a little bit of that chess match that you play. But, again, I don't think we're going to fool them. Just knowing Wade, I don't think he's over there drawing up ways to fool us. It's just going to be who can out execute (who). Not so much fool, but sprinkle in something we haven't seen in a while, just like we're trying to do. We're going to try to get first downs, score points and they're trying to keep us off the field. Like I said, in the last six quarters, they've been very successful in doing that."

It's going to be a heck of a battle come Sunday, and it might all come down to playing smart and sound football.

"We've got to play smart football," Rivers said. "Not (be) reckless, but be aggressive and take what they give (us). Be smart and move on. They're going to make some plays for sure. And it's a matter of (us) making more than them and do it more consistently."

Browse through the top practice photos as the Bolts prepare to face the Rams in Week 3.

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