The Chargers are riding a three-game winning streak following their Monday Night Football win over the Broncos in Week 6.
On a short week, the Bolts prepare for the Seahawks, their last opponent before the bye week.
Here's a breakdown of news from the Chargers seventh week of the season:
Monday: A primetime win
On Monday, the Chargers took on the division-rival Broncos in a Monday Night Football showdown at SoFi Stadium. It was a defensive battle, but the Bolts were able to push through and win 19-16 in overtime off of a Dustin Hopkins field goal.
After allowing 13 points in the first half, the Chargers defense went the rest of regulation and overtime allowing only three points — something that allowed them to hang around and eventually pull out the win.
After the game, Chargers Head Coach Brandon Staley talked about the game and the win.
"This is a complete team win. It was a tough, rugged game," Staley said. "They have an outstanding defense over there. It was tough sledding in every way for all four quarters and overtime.
"It was just a tough and rugged game. It took everybody in Powder Blue to win it," Staley added.
Both teams held each other to less than 300 yards of total offense, and each team also had a takeaway that led to three points — but one proved more crucial in the final outcome of the game.
With under five minutes left in the overtime period, a heads up play by defensive back Ja'Sir Taylor led to a Denver muffed punt that was recovered by defensive back Deane Leonard. The play gave the ball to the Chargers at the Broncos 28-yard line and led to Hopkins' game-winner.
Staley talked about the fumble recovery on special teams, praising Taylor, Leonard and other members of the team.
"Ja'Sir and Deane were able to get down there and make something happen," Staley said. "The fact that you go beat your man, and then you go do the right thing when you get close to the returner, those are young guys, so for them to make that type of impact for our football team says a lot about [Special Teams Coordinator] Ryan Ficken and [Assistant Special Teams Coach] Chris Gould.
"Hopefully, those guys continue to improve," Staley added.
Leonard, who recovered the live ball, talked about the turnover and how it transpired.
"We knew we were backed up and they were going to send pressure," Leonard said. "Our coach was telling us the returner was dangerous and an explosive guy, so we had to get on his hip. [Ja'Sir] made a great play and dumped the other corner. The ball fell right in front of me and I got on it."
Taylor, a sixth-round pick out of Wake Forest, has primarily played special teams so far, and the big play on Monday has been a product of trying to maximize his role on the team.
"I'm just making the most of my role," Taylor said. "I'm a special teams player, I got out there, give it my all and I'm glad it paid off tonight."
Tuesday: Another short week
The Chargers enjoyed a Victory Tuesday this time around, as the Monday Night Football win leaves them with a short week to prepare for the Seahawks.
On Tuesday during his media availability, Staley spoke about the win, and where the mindset of the team is following the first six games of the season.
"Just week-to-week. Not making more of it than what it is," Staley said. "It's the NFL. Week-to-week, you have to be ready to play. Our guys did a good job being ready to play Monday night against a quality team.
"As you guys know, a division game, big game, at home, and so our guys came ready to play and did what it took. We were able to get out of there with a W," Staley added.
The win came at a cost however, as Staley updated some of the injuries suffered against Denver.
Staley said running back Joshua Kelley has a sprained MCL and will likely miss two to four weeks.
"Isaiah [Spiller] and Larry [Rountree III] will duke it out in practice this week," Staley said. "We were kind of doing that last week, as well. I think one of those two guys will be going into the game.
"Special teams will factor into it, as well. Isaiah has been doing really well in practice, as I have told you guys. Larry has, too. We'll let those guys compete and we'll let you know at the end of the week," Staley added.
Hopkins is on the same timeframe with the hamstring injury he played through in primetime. Staley also added that Taylor Bertolet, who kicked for the Chargers in Week 5, will fill in for Hopkins in the meantime.
Tight end Donald Parham, Jr., is in the concussion protocol. He had three catches for 53 yards in Week 6. Center Corey Linsley, who missed Monday's game, returned to the team facility Tuesday after dealing with an illness in recent days.
Wide receiver Keenan Allen was back at practice this week, as Staley said the wide receiver appears to be on the right track with his hamstring injury that has kept him out since Week 1.
Wednesday: Hopkins wins ST Player of the Week; Bolts back on the field
On Wednesday morning, kicker Dustin Hopkins was named AFC Special Teams Player of the Week by the league office. This is the third Special Teams Player of the Week honor of his career.
Hopkins suffered an injury during the game, but still finished the night perfect, making all of his four field goals — including a 39-yarder that won the game for the Chargers. Hopkins is the first Chargers specialist to win this honor since 2019 and is the sixth different Bolts kicker to win the award.
On Wednesday, the Bolts took the field ahead of Sunday's game against the Seahawks. Through six games, the storyline of the season for the Chargers has been injuries and the injury report to start the week was not much different.
A total of 12 players were listed on the first injury report of the week. Tight end Gerald Everett (illness), Parham (concussion), Linsley (illness), Hopkins (right hamstring), Kelley (knee) and wide receiver Joshua Palmer (concussion) all did not participate in practice on Wednesday.
Staley spoke during his media availability about being 4-2 despite the number of injuries, pointing out that it is a part of the NFL.
"It's just part of the NFL," Staley said. "I think we don't make too much of it because that's just the way the NFL is. That's what I tell the guys; that's what the guys know is that's part of the NFL. There's a lot that happens and you have to be ready for it.
"It's just part of the job description. I think our guys have done a really nice job of playing together in all three phases and figuring it out," Staley added.
Because the team played on Monday night, this week will be a shorter week than usual. Wide receiver Mike Williams talked about the key to get back in rhythm and ramp up for Sunday.
"Let's get back to work, let's come in here this week and get the plan together," Williams said. "You know practice the plan, put everything together by Saturday and get to work."
Chargers Senior Writer Eric Smith released his weekly mailbag, where he answered questions about J.C. Jackson, the red-zone offense and much more.
Thursday: Keys to Sunday
After a rugged game against the Broncos, the Chargers hope to get back to the offensive momentum they had prior to Monday night.
Chargers Offensive Coordinator Joe Lombardi spoke about the offensive performance on Monday, adding that while the Broncos do have a good unit on the defensive side, he wasn't satisfied with leaving points on the field.
"I wish we would have scored more points. It was really a slog," Lombardi said. "I think it's rare that you get that many plays, when you don't feel like you're moving the ball. We had an inordinate amount of third downs and converted a lot of them, especially kind of in the middle there.
"Like I said, you are happy with the win, but I felt that we left some stuff on the field that we could have scored some more points," Lombardi later added.
This week enters a Seahawks team that allowed just nine points in Week 6. With a lot of young players on the defensive side of the ball, Lombardi talked about the Seattle defense and what to expect, emphasizing that they will need to take care of the football.
"I think they play hard. They are big inside," Lombardi said. "You know there is this rookie on the left, 27 [Seahawks CB Tariq Woolen]. He's making a lot of plays for them. They run to the ball and the turnovers are what really sticks out. They get the ball out.
"It has always been a hallmark of Seattle, regardless of their scheme, and so ball security is a huge emphasis this week," he added.
Defensively, the team did not create a turnover this past week for the first time since Week 3. Chargers Defensive Coordinator Renaldo Hill talked about the importance of turnovers and how the team can create them.
"We talked about us being 4-0 [in games with a takeaway], that was a product of us creating those turnovers. The two games that we lost, we didn't create any turnovers," Hill said. "That's the big emphasis for our defense, moving forward. We have to know that when we do create them, good things happen. If we don't, it's going to be a shootout and we're going to be fighting until the end.
"It starts in practice. It starts with getting to the ball and getting the opportunities when they come there," Hill added.
Everett was back at practice on Thursday and practiced in full. C/G Will Clapp, who was limited on Wednesday, returned to practice in full.
On Thursday, Chargers Team Reporter Hayley Elwood talked with former Bolts nose tackle Jamal Williams ahead of his induction into the Chargers Hall of Fame. Williams will become the 40th member of the Chargers Hall of Fame. To read the full conversation, click here.
Also on Thursday, Senior Writer Eric Smith talked with wide receiver Keenan Allen as he works his way back from injury. To read to full feature, click here.
Members of the Seahawks also talked about the Chargers ahead of their Week 7 matchup. Check out what Seattle said about the Bolts.
Check out the best photos of the Chargers Thursday practice at Hoag Performance Center
Friday: Injury updates for Week 7
The Chargers took the field Friday as they fine tuned their preparation ahead of Sunday's matchup with the Seahawks.
Clapp, guard Zion Johnson, Linsley, tackle Trey Pipkins III, Everett and linebacker Kyle Van Noy were all taken off of the injury report on Friday and will play against Seattle.
Kelley, Palmer, Parham and Hopkins were all listed as "OUT", while defensive lineman Sebastian Joseph-Day and Allen were both listed as "QUESTIONABLE".
Joseph-Day "will go" according to Chargers Head Coach Brandon Staley, but Allen will be a "game-time decision." With Palmer already being out, Allen not playing would leave the wide receiver room thin. Staley talked about what that would mean for the Bolts on Sunday and what would be needed if Allen does in fact not go.
"The guys that will be at the game, the thing is we know them, we know what they do well," Staley said. "I think any time you have one or two receivers out, you have to make sure that you fill in that production in other places with your tight ends and your backs. That's what I think our coaching staff does a good job is like 'hey these are the players that we get to play with, let's go figure it out together'.
"Good news is Justin [Herbert] has a rapport with all those guys that are coming out there so whenever their number is called at least their quarterback has a trusting confidence in them," Staley added.
Quarterback Justin Herbert, who was not listed on the injury report all week, also talked about the wide receivers and the chemistry, pointing out that while he may not have had game reps with some of them, he did have reps with them in training camp.
"I think it's been great because that's where the training camp reps come into play," Herbert said. "You've been able to throw to those guys all year. To get a guy like [WR] Michael Bandy, [WR] Jason Moore, [Jr.], you throw to them all during camp.
"You might not get a bunch of reps during the week of practice, but to have those reps and be able to trust those, rely on those guys to step in," Herbert added.
Prior to Friday's practice, Smith talked with Michael-Shawn Dugar, who covers the Seahawks for The Athletic, to preview Sunday's game.
Also on Friday, Smith released his Final Thoughts ahead of the game against Seattle at SoFi.
The Chargers celebrated Halloween on Tuesday in partnership with Pediatric Cancer Research Foundation by inviting young patients and their families to the team's headquarters at Hoag Performance Center. The fifth annual event included a special trick-or-treat trail through the team facility, arts and crafts and one-on-one time with Coach Brandon Staley and players including Drue Tranquill, Morgan Fox, Khalil Mack, Trey Pipkins and more!
Videos of the Week
All In: Episode 5 | The Breaking Point
The fifth episode of 'All In' titled 'The Breaking Point' follows the Chargers running backs, what it took Joshua Kelley to earn his reps and his big game in Week 5.
Mic'd Up | Austin Ekeler
Chargers running back Austin Ekeler was mic'd up during the Week 6 matchup vs the Denver Broncos
Homecoming | Joshua Palmer
In this edition of Homecoming, wide receiver Joshua Palmer returns to his hometown of Brampton in Ontario, Canada to visit to his high school, St. Roch Catholic S.S. Reminisce. Joined by Hayley Elwood, they discuss growing up in Canada, what inspired Palmer to become the NFL player he is today and more.
Tweets of the Week
Bolt Up for 2023!
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