Here's a breakdown of the news from the Chargers' sixth week of the season:
Monday: Breaking down the 'track meet' against the Browns
After winning arguably the game of the week in Week 5, on Monday head coach Brandon Staley, Derwin James Jr. and Chris Harris Jr. broke down how they were able to beat the Cleveland Browns for their third straight win.
A key piece to their 47-42 victory was the MVP-caliber performance from quarterback Justin Herbert, who threw for 398 yards and had five total touchdowns on the afternoon. Staley praised Herbert for his performance but also gave credit to the offensive line unit who stepped up after losing veteran guard Oday Aboushi to injury in the first quarter of the Browns game.
"We have toughness in that group," Staley said. "They're giving us a real chance to be successful. I'm really proud of that. We have to continue on that track because it doesn't get any easier as we go on. We're playing Baltimore this week, and they're an outstanding defense, too. You need that in the NFL up front. You need to have a tough group that plays together. Cleveland is as good a defense as we're going to play from a personnel standpoint."
Another key to the Bolts victory was the defense getting the final stop to prevent the Browns from scoring. James Jr., who had 17 total tackles and a sack against the Browns, talked about his mentality going into that final drive.
"That last drive, once we got the key stops that we needed to get off the field, we felt that no matter what happened at the beginning of the game, we still got the opportunity," James Jr. said. "Our offense is still keeping us in it to win the game. We just had to control the moment. Whatever happened before didn't matter, because we knew in our minds that we were going to win the game. No matter what, we were winning the game."
Monday also brought in unfortunate news as Staley announced Aboushi suffered a season ending ACL tear against the Browns that would require surgery.
Wednesday: Preparing for a 'rare' talent in Lamar Jackson
By Wednesday, full attention was on the Baltimore Ravens, who the Bolts beat 23-17 in the 2018-19 Wild Card game, which was their last matchup. The team conducted a walk-through practice to give the Bolts an extra day to recover ahead of their Week 6 matchup. Staley talked the rare talent in Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson and what he brings to the table when trying to make a game plan against him.
"There hasn't been anybody like Lamar Jackson," Staley said. "He's truly one of a kind. He's truly a rare player, rare competitor. All you have to do is go all of the way back to high school, Louisville, you name it — everywhere he goes, he's doing something amazing right before your eyes. Since he's become the quarterback of that team, you've seen what's happened. I think the thing that's unique about Lamar is that there's danger on every snap — there's danger running the football and there's danger throwing the football."
In their Week 5 Monday night overtime win, Jackson totaled over 500 yards in the air and on the ground and threw for four touchdowns as well. Chargers OLB Joey Bosa called Jackson 'the most dynamic player in the NFL' said he's ready to take on any role he's asked to do to try and stop Jackson.
Chargers center Corey Linsley talked about Michael Schofield's ability to step in and step up to the challenge of filling in for Aboushi against the Browns. Linsley discussed what it means to have a veteran player like Schofield be a part of the offensive line room.
"It was awesome," Linsley said. "When he came in, I said, 'Hey, do you need anything? Let me know.' He didn't miss a beat. I don't think he was ever confused on a single play, which is phenomenal. He's only been here a few weeks, but he's a great add to our room. He's a great guy, he's been around a long time. He gets it and all the confidence in the world moving forward."
Thursday: Development of Donald Parham Jr.
Thursday’s main focus was how the Bolts will prepare for the Ravens' offensive weapons, mainly in tight end Mark Andrews and wide receiver Marquise "Hollywood" Brown.
Chargers defensive coordinator Renaldo Hill talked about what the Bolts defense needs to do to slow down the receiving corps in Baltimore.
"We know if he's [Ravens QB Lamar Jackson] in trouble, he's going to find those guys. We just have to make sure we stay connected to them and make sure we identify those guys. We know if it's a scramble pattern, we just have to make sure we pay attention to those scramble patterns. Make sure we don't let those guys leak out."
In the first quarter of the season, both the Chargers and Ravens have proved their offense can score in the fourth quarter. The Bolts lead the league in fourth quarter points scored with 59 points, with the Ravens tied for fifth with 47 points. A developing piece in the Chargers offense this year has been tight end Donald Parham Jr., who has scored in back-to-back games for the Bolts. On Thursday, offensive coordinator Joe Lombardi talked about Parham Jr.’s development into a complete tight end in this year’s new scheme.
"I'm really proud of him," Lombardi said. "He's a guy that when I got here and looked at him, I thought that he would be a receiving tight end, a guy that you activate in the red zone. As practices went on, his blocking kept coming on... He's young. I think that you're just going to see this ascension from that guy that is going to be fun to watch. It's amazing how well he runs after the catch, for as tall as he is. I'm very excited about him and his future."
Friday: Justin Herbert Talks Ravens
On Friday, linebacker Drue Tranquill was officially ruled out in the team’s injury report. Tranquill did not practice during the week with a chest injury that according to Staley was a pectoral injury. Staley explained with Tranquill out, linebackers Nick Niemann and Amen Ogbongbemiga will "split duty" during Sunday's game.
"I'm excited to see those guys compete," Staley said. "We have a lot of faith in them. It's going to be an awesome opportunity to showcase what they can do, because this is a really good team that their first action is going to be going against."
Quarterback Justin Herbert also spoke to the media on Friday. Herbert who has thrown for 11 touchdowns during the Bolts' three-game winning streak talked about finding his groove in this offense.
"We've just had a really good plan from the offensive line to the receivers, running backs — everyone's been tied in very well," Herbert said. "Everyone's been really well-coached, and I think that's the plan for each week. It's always about the next week, no matter how the game goes. It's always about moving on to the next one. The running backs have done a great job at pass protection, the linemen have handled all the blitzes and fronts that teams have played against us. The receivers have made plays, and the tight ends, too."
While the Bolts know they have a tough task to go into Baltimore to seek their fourth straight win, the Ravens also gave their respect to the Bolts key players and coaches.
Among the storylines heading into the Ravens vs. Chargers games is Austin Ekeler has a chance to record his fifth straight game with 100-plus scrimmage yards. Sunday's 10 a.m. PT kickoff in Baltimore is gearing up to be a great matchup between two 4-1 teams that sit at the top of the AFC rankings.
Odds and Ends
Videos of the Week
This week also brought a collection of videos to Chargers fans, take a look at the top videos released throughout the week.
Another installment of 'Homecoming' aired on Thursday. In this episode, rookie left tackle Rashawn Slater returns to his home town of Sugar Land, Texas. Slater and team reporter Hayley Elwood return to Slater's high school to talk to his high school coach at Clements High School. Slater revisits special places in his hometown including where he proposed to his fiancé. Stay tuned for more episodes of Homecoming presented by American Airlines throughout the season.
This week's edition of Film Room focuses on two explosive playmakers in the Chargers vs. Ravens game. Daniel Jeremiah and Chris Hayre breakdown what makes Chargers running back Austin Ekeler so explosive and how teams have tried to defend Ravens wide receiver Marquise "Hollywood" Brown.
Ice Cold Tweets:
Take a look at the third episode of Ice Cold Tweets where Chargers players read old tweets from their teammates and have to guess which person tweeted it.
Chargers Celebrate Latino Heritage Month at SoFi Stadium:
Take a look back at the Chargers' Week 5 matchup vs. the Browns where the Bolts celebrated Latino Heritage Month, which featured performances, musical tributes and more that honor Latino culture and are centered around the theme Somos Uno: We Are One.
Tweets of the Week
The Future is Here!
Secure your 2021 Season Ticket Memberships for only $100. Click here to learn more.