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Chargers Set for 2nd Straight Primetime Game

Week in Review Week 11

The Chargers fell just short in their Week 10 matchup against the 49ers on Sunday night.

Sitting at 5-4, the Bolts prepare for another primetime game, as they will host the Chiefs on Sunday Night Football.

Here's a breakdown of news from the Chargers 11th week of the season:

Monday: Fallout from SNF

Despite a fast start, the Chargers were unable to leave Santa Clara with a win as they fell 22-16 to the 49ers.

By the time the fourth quarter rolled around, the Chargers were playing with only three healthy defensive lineman. With Otito Ogbonnia (knee) leaving the game in the first quarter and Christian Covington (pectoral) getting injured in the fourth, the defensive line was thin.

Chargers Head Coach Brandon Staley updated the injuries during his Monday media availability.

"Christian Covington has a torn pectoral. He will be, likely, out for the season. That's not a confirmed fact yet, but it's trending that way," Staley said. "Otito Ogbonnia has a patellar tendon rupture, and he will be out for the season."

"We'll have to work through that over the next 36 hours,” Staley added about the depth along the defensive line. "We'll probably make some acquisitions, and then promote [DL] Joe [Gaziano] as some point this week. We have him currently on our team. We'll be working over the next 36 hours to make a couple of acquisitions to get us to full strength."

The story of the Bolts season so far has been injuries, and Week 10 was another example of it. While it is a difficult hurdle to overcome week in and week out, Staley talked about the message he gave the team despite the injuries.

"What I what I told the team this morning is that after watching the film and having more time to reflect, it's the exact same message that I had to him in the locker room, which was the level of toughness, the level of physicality, the level of discipline that we played with was the standard that we expect in a game like that against a quality team," Staley said. "That's where the message was. The group that was out there in that game last night played to the standard of the L.A. Chargers."

They did receive some good news however, as quarterback Justin Herbert and linebacker Kenneth Murray, Jr. were cleared from concussion protocol.

The Bolts also expect to see some big pieces on the practice field this week, as Staley updated the status of some big offensive pieces that have missed the last couple of weeks.

"You will see Mike [Williams] and Keenan [Allen] back at practice this week," Staley said. "To the extent, we'll keep you posted on that, but they will be back in practice this week."

Tuesday: Where the Bolts stand in the playoff hunt

Through 10 weeks, the AFC playoff picture remains close.

At 5-4, the Bolts currently sit just outside the playoffs at the eighth seed. Still, they remain right in the mix, as gives them a 40 percent chance to make the playoffs.

As Chargers Senior Writer Eric Smith put it, Sunday's game will be a big one if the Bolts want to have a chance to win the AFC West, as a loss puts the division almost out of reach.

Smith wrote:

The Chargers dropped out of a playoff spot in Week 10 after a close primetime loss to the 49ers. The Bolts are still within striking distance in the AFC West, but likely need to win Sunday at home against Kansas City to keep their division hopes alive. This week's injury report — as always — will be worth monitoring in terms of the team's overall health.

To read Smith's full breakdown of the AFC playoff picture, click here.

ESPN’s Seth Walder divvied up all 32 teams into playoff picture tiers, factoring in ESPN's Football Power Index (FPI) projections, strength of schedule and more. Despite the number of injuries, Walder is leaning towards "yes" on the Chargers playoff hopes.

Walder wrote:

Injuries have struck the Chargers hard, but they also haven't reached the potential of what a Justin Herbert-led team ought to be, particularly because they have played an easy schedule. And yet, they are the second-best team in the once-vaunted AFC West.

Wednesday: New and familiar faces on the practice field

On Wednesday morning, the Chargers announced they signed defensive lineman Tyeler Davison to the active roster from Cleveland's practice squad. Davison was a fifth-round selection of the Saints in 2015 and has played in 105 regular season games (86 starts).

The Bolts also signed defensive lineman David Moa to the practice squad and in corresponding moves, the team placed Covington and Ogbonnia on Injured Reserve.

With Davison being added to the mix, the Chargers will hope to have him as depth given the losses along the defensive line. While joining a team in the middle of the week requires a lot of work, Staley talked about the integration of new additions along the defensive line.

"It's just going to be a team operation, just like it was in the San Francisco game," Staley said. "We were playing with some new guys in that game, as well. This isn't the first time we have had to onboard new guys.

"It's going to take all of the coaches and players in order to get these guys up to speed for Sunday. We have a lot of time between now and then. I'm excited to see our team help these guys attack the gameplan and be able to play at a high level come Sunday," Staley added.

The defensive line welcomed new players to mix, while another group on the team welcomed back some familiar faces to the practice field.

Allen and Williams both practiced in a limited capacity on Wednesday, marking their return to the field.

Allen has played a combined 45 snaps this season and while he has no set timetable for his return, he is taking his return to practice day by day and seeing how he feels.

"Just seeing how I respond day by day," Allen said. "So today, going to do a little individual work, take it slow and if that goes good, tomorrow we'll get in there and practice, see how that feels and Friday, go a little bit more and if I'm feeling good after the week then."

For Williams, who is practicing for the first time in three weeks, how he felt in practice was going to tell him a lot, as he is hoping to get back to the form he knows upon return.

"At the end of the day, you want to be healthy, you want to be able to go out there and do what you do, so that's the main thing," Williams said. "If I'm out there, be able to do what I can do so just play my game. I'm looking forward to being out there today and getting those things completed."

Their game statuses are to be determined up to this point, as Staley said he would have a better idea as the week goes on.

"It's only Wednesday, but you will see them practice this week," Staley said. "I think we're just going to build them up as we go and I think we'll be able to tell you a lot more as the week goes on. Friday, I will probably have a lot better report, I think, for you guys."

Wide receiver DeAndre Carter (ribs), tight end Gerald Everett (groin), tackle Trey Pipkins III (knee) and outside linebacker Chris Rumph II (knee) also practiced in a limited capacity on Wednesday.

The only players who did not participate in practice were outside linebacker Khalil Mack (not injury related- rest), kicker Dustin Hopkins (right hamstring) and punter JK Scott (illness).

Chargers Senior Writer Eric Smith released his weekly mailbag on Wednesday, where he answered questions about the addition of Davison, WR depth and more.

Thursday: KC the second time around

Sunday will mark the second time the Chargers and Chiefs face off against one another since the Week 2 matchup on Thursday night.

That game went as well as the Bolts could've hoped, as they controlled the time of possession and kept the Chiefs offense at bay. However, they fell short by three points.

While the Chargers offense does want to keep the Chiefs offense off the field, Chargers Offensive Coordinator Joe Lombardi talked about the importance of keeping a balance this Sunday.

"Our goal is always to sustain drives and score," Lombardi said. "We don't mind scoring in one play, if we can, but they are definitely an explosive offense that if you can keep them off the field, it certainly helps. All of that being said, you are just trying to get into rhythm.

"What you really want to avoid are the three-and-outs when you are only out there for a minute or so and then they have the ball again," Lombardi later added. "It's definitely a balance you want to strike."

Of course, a big question up in the air as the week counts down is the status of wide receivers Keenan Allen and Mike Williams, who once again were limited participants in practice.

"If they are going [to play], it's huge," Lombardi said. "Obviously, they are our two best receivers. If they are out there and healthy, it's a big boost."

On the defensive side, the Week 2 bout in Kansas City saw the Chargers hold the Chiefs to 33.3% on third downs.

But in Week 10 against the Niners, the defense struggled to stop third and long conversions. Chargers Defensive Coordinator Renaldo Hill talked about the struggles this past Sunday and what will be important in that aspect come Sunday.

"Just the execution," Hill said. "We know there are going to be situations where we have to win our one-on-one battles. [The 49ers] won their battles that game and that's going to be a challenge this week."

"We have to win our one-on-one battles. I think that's going to be the big thing. It's going to be a huge emphasis to execute our third-down plan," Hill added.

The only change to Thursday’s injury report was the return of Mack (NIR- Rest), who did not participate on Wednesday.

Also on Thursday, Senior Writer Eric Smith talked with safety Derwin James, Jr., ahead of Sunday's primetime matchup, as the star safety continues to do it all for the Chargers. To read to full feature, click here.

Members of the Chiefs also talked about the Chargers ahead of their Week 11 matchup. Check out what Kansas City said about the Bolts.

Check out the best photos of the Chargers Wednesday practice at Hoag Performance Center

Friday: Chargers return home for primetime

The Bolts took the field for the final practice ahead of their Sunday Night Football showdown against the Chiefs.

And for the first time in what's felt like a long time, almost everyone (aside from kicker Dustin Hopkins) was able to practice in full.

That included Allen and Williams, who both participated in full and listed as "QUESTIONABLE" for Sunday.

"Those guys have been at practice, we were able to see them do a little bit more today," Staley said on Friday. "Those guys will be game-time decisions."

With their statuses coming down to game-time, a possible return would be a major boost for the team not just on the field, but off of it.

"They're great team guys besides being two of the top players at their position in the league," Staley said. "They're really good players for our team, they help the team chemistry.

"They mean a lot to us, more than just what happens on the field," Staley later added.

Allen said on Friday that he felt great in his first full practice of the week, as he was able to do more. The key to his return on Sunday will be feeling more of the same he felt Friday.

"Just run kind of full speed routes," Allen said. "A little bit deeper than I was doing.

"Kind of the same I felt today. Confident, explosive, just being able to sustain and hold the speed," Allen added.

If one or both are full go on Sunday night, it adds another element to the already interesting matchup.

"They're obviously a very talented team," Herbert said on Friday. "They've had a lot of success over the past couple years so we're doing what we can to be able to compete.

"Have a good week of practice to be able to compete on Sunday and have a chance to win," Herbert added.

Aside from Allen and Williams, only Hopkins was given an injury designation for Sunday (DOUBTFUL). All other players will be good to go on Sunday night.

Prior to Friday's practice, Smith talked with Matt McMullen, who covers the Chiefs for, to preview Sunday's primetime matchup.

Also on Friday, Smith released his Final Thoughts ahead of the game against Kansas City at SoFi.

Check out the best photos of the Chargers Thursday practice at Hoag Performance Center

Videos of the Week

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Chargers Weekly | Another Primetime Clash With the Chiefs

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