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Chargers Assess Ups & Downs After 4 Games

The Los Angeles Chargers play the Houston Texans on Sunday, October 2, 2022 at NRG Stadium in Houston, TX.
The Los Angeles Chargers play the Houston Texans on Sunday, October 2, 2022 at NRG Stadium in Houston, TX. [FINAL SCORE: LAC 34 - HOU 24]

With the NFL schedule now set at 17 games, there's not really a quarter mark of the season anymore. (No, we aren't counting the first quarter of Week 5 as the quarter pole).

But this point in the season gives us a chance to look at where the Chargers stand after four games.

The Bolts sit at 2-2, one of 15 teams across the league with that record. Ironically, the Chargers next five opponents — Browns, Broncos, Seahawks, Falcons and 49ers — are included in that group.

Perhaps the biggest headline for the Chargers early on has been injuries.

Rashawn Slater might be out the rest of the season, Joey Bosa is going to miss a significant amount of time, Keenan Allen has played just 22 offensive snaps and Jalen Guyton won't play again this year.

Yet the Bolts have weathered that storm with contributions up and down the roster.

"I think we've dealt with a lot of adversity, and I thought we handled that pretty well," said quarterback Justin Herbert. "It's a long season. To lose a couple guys here and there and be able to replace them and have some guys that maybe weren't expecting to play a ton make some huge plays in some big-time games, that's great to see and we'll keep doing that.

"We're going to keep getting those guys ready," Herbert added, "whoever's out there we're going to go play."

The Chargers opened the season with an impressive home win against the Raiders, but then couldn't hold onto a second-half lead on the road against the Chiefs in Week 2.

Sitting at 1-1, the Bolts were then beaten soundly at home by Jacksonville as Herbert adapted to an injury of his own.

But Chargers Head Coach Brandon Staley's team bounced back in Week 4 to even their record by using a strong first half and late surge to dispatch the Texans.

Check out the best shots from the Chargers 34-24 victory over the Houston Texans in Week 4

Staley summed up where he thinks the Chargers are at this point in the season.

"I think, for like a game and three quarters we were playing really at a high level. Really high level," Staley said of the opening two games. "And then in the very end of that second game to the beginning of this game it was not our best stuff.

"Then [Sunday] was more of a gritty, tough win for a football team," Staley continued. "But a really good response to a really tough loss last week.

"I think the fact that we're 2-2, certainly not satisfied with that record, but definitely proud of our response today as a team," Staley added. "Now we got to keep improving."

After four games, Herbert leads the NFL with 1,250 passing yards and has looked every bit of what was expected of him coming into the season.

The Bolts running game, meanwhile, has been a work in progress. The Chargers rank last in the league with 64.5 rushing yards per game, but could be headed in the right direction after a solid effort against Houston.

Defensively, the Chargers have made plenty of splashy plays with 11 sacks and five interceptions thus far. But have also allowed some big plays, too, as the Bolts have given up a rush of 50-plus yards in three straight games.

The Chargers are on the road again in Week 5 against the Browns before coming home to host the Broncos on Monday Night Football. Then it's a home date with the Seahawks before the bye week in the final weekend of October.

By that point, the Chargers 2022 season will be almost halfway over. But for now, the Bolts are focused on the grind of getting better each day so they can potentially position themselves for a playoff push in the second half of the season.

"I feel like we're a team that I feel like we have faced some adversity, which in my opinion, is the best way to start a season," said running back Austin Ekeler. "Because it's going to tell you a lot about your team, how you're going to be able to respond, if you're going to be able to, can you put up some type of production when you come off of a hard loss, or tough loss, or team loss like we did.

"We're trying to go on a run here," Ekeler later added. "Always starts with the first one so now we got one, and we have to do it again."

Wide receiver Mike Williams added: "We still have a lot to do. We still have a lot to grow as a complete team. We want to have games where we come out and just dominate our opponent."

Safety Derwin James, Jr., probably said it best when evaluating the 2-2 Chargers.

"I feel like we haven't played our best football yet," James said.

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