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Scouting Report: Bengals vs. Chargers

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The Los Angeles Chargers (9-3) return home this Sunday to take on the Cincinnati Bengals (5-7). Kickoff from ROKiT Field at StubHub Center is set for 1:05pm PT.

What to Watch For…

On Offense for the Chargers

Philip Rivers aims to keep his perfect streak of multi-TD games rolling for the 13th straight week when he takes the field. Number 17 has been lights out this season, completing 265 of 380 passes (69.7 percent) for 3,418 yards, 28 touchdowns and just six interceptions for a 115.7 passer rating. Meanwhile, Keenan Allen figures to go over the 1,000-yard mark for the second straight year on Sunday as he has caught 83 passes for 996 yards and five TDs thus far. Melvin Gordon’s status this week is still up in the air, so the Bolts will likely rely on Austin Ekeler and Justin Jackson, the latter fresh off a breakout game in primetime. The rookie has 20 carries on the year for 127 yards (6.5 ypc) and one touchdown. Overall, the Bolts’ rushing attack has been on fire as they have 54 runs of at least 10 yards, which ranks third in the NFL and first in the AFC.

On Offense for the Bengals

With Andy Dalton out for the year with a thumb injury, Jeff Driskel will appear in his fifth game and make his second start of the season. Originally a sixth-round pick (207th overall) out of Florida by the San Francisco 49ers, Driskel has completed 48 of 74 passes (64.9 percent) on the year for 475 yards, two touchdowns and one interception for an 86.3 passer rating. The Bengals will also be without A.J. Green as the perennial Pro Bowler was just placed on IR with a toe injury. However, Tyler Boyd has emerged as a top flight wideout this season, hauling in 69 receptions for 938 yards and six touchdowns. Tight end C.J. Uzomah is another threat in the passing game, catching 34 passes for 320 yards and two scores. On the ground, Joe Mixon is the team’s bell-cow, toting the rock 154 times for 755 yards (4.9 ypc) and five touchdowns. He also has 33 receptions for 256 yards and another score. He’s joined by Giovani Bernard to form a potent one-two punch as the veteran has 44 carries on the year for 190 yards (4.3 ypc) and three touchdowns as well as 28 catches for 172 yards.

On Defense for the Chargers

Although he’s just a rookie, Derwin James has quickly emerged as a leader on defense. He’s taken the league by storm, totaling a team-high 85 tackles, 3.5 sacks, three interceptions and 14 passes defensed over his first 12 career games. Meanwhile, Joey Bosa has been on fire in his return to the field, recording three sacks in his last two games. He’s helped bolster a pass rush that already features Melvin Ingram (5.5 sacks), Isaac Rochell (4.5) and Damion Square (3.0).

On Defense for the Bengals

Veteran safety Shawn Williams has been a thorn in quarterbacks’ sides all year long, leading the Bengals with four sacks, which is tied for the fourth-most in the NFL. Williams is also tied with fellow safety Jessie Bates for the team lead with 59 tackles. Up front, Geno Atkins and Carlos Dunlap continue to bring the heat as they both have 7.0 sacks on the year.

Series History

The Chargers hold a 20-15 all-time advantage in the series and are 10-7 at home against the Bengals. Cincinnati won the last meeting, 24-19, on Sept. 20, 2015. The last win against the Bengals came in the Wild Card Round on the road when the Bolts came away with a 27-10 win in 2014.

By the Numbers

The Chargers rank fifth in total offense (399.4 yards per game), eighth in passing (274.2 ypg), 10th in rushing (125.2 ypg) and sixth in points (28.3). The Bengals rank 26th in total offense (331.3 ypg), 18th in passing (236.3 ypg), 28th in rushing (95.0 ypg) and 15th in points (23.8).

Defensively, the Bolts rank eighth in total defense (334.9 ypg), 10th in passing (230.9 ypg), 11th in rushing (20.8 ypg) and seventh in points allowed (20.8). Cincinnati ranks 32nd in total defense (433.1 ypg), 31st in passing (279.8 ypg), 32nd in rushing (153.3 ypg) and 32nd in points allowed (30.9).

Milestones on the Horizon

Keenan Allen needs four receiving yards to record his third career 1,000-yard season and the first back-to-back 1,000-yard season by a Charger since WR Vincent Jackson did so from 2008-09.

Allen needs at least 10 receptions, 100 yards and a touchdown catch to post his fifth such game since 2017, which would be the most over that span.

Philip Rivers needs 300-plus passing yards to record his 62nd career game with at least 300 yards, tying Hall of Fame QB Brett Favre for the fifth-most in history.

Rivers needs 82 passing yards to reach 3,500 for the year, extending his streak to 11-straight campaigns for the third-longest such streak in history.

Rivers needs two touchdown passes to extend his team-record multi-touchdown pass streak to 14 games, which would become the second-longest streak in NFL history. It would also make him the third-ever quarterback to throw multiple touchdown passes in each of the first 13 games to start a season.

Rivers needs two touchdown passes to record his sixth 30-touchdown season, tying Green Bay QB Aaron Rodgers for the fifth-most in league history.

Rivers needs a passer rating of at least 90 to become just the third quarterback in NFL history to do so in each of the first 13 games to start a season.

Antonio Gates needs six receptions to reach 952 for his career and pass Hall of Fame WR Andre Reed (951) for 17th in NFL history.

Gates needs 88 receiving yards to reach 11,835 for his career and pass Hall of Fame WR Don Maynard (11,834) for 28th on the all-time list.

Austin Ekeler needs 43 more receiving yards to reach 698 (Arian Foster) for the most by an undrafted running back in his first two seasons since 1987-88.

Melvin Gordon needs 87 scrimmage yards to pass Ryan Mathews (5,171) for fourth in career scrimmage yards by a running back in team history.

Gordon needs 145 scrimmage yards to reach 1,400 for the season, extending his streak of seasons with at least 12 scrimmage touchdowns and 1,400 yards from scrimmage to three straight.

Joey Bosa needs one sack to pass LB Billy Ray Smith (26.5) for 10th in team history.

Melvin Ingram needs 3.5 sacks to reach 44.0 for his career to pass LB Shawne Merriman for No. 6 in team history.

Derwin James needs an interception to be the first Chargers rookie with four interceptions since CB John Hendy had four in 1985.

Noteworthy vs. the Bengals

The Chargers met the Bengals on the road in the Wild Card Round on Jan. 5, 2014. The Bolts won that contest, 27-10. Ronnie Brown rushed for a 58-yard score while the Chargers defense forced four turnovers in the winning effort.

Melvin Ingram recorded his first career interception as he picked off Andy Dalton early in the fourth quarter of that playoff win.

Antonio Gates has recorded 22 receptions for 209 yards and a touchdown in six career games against the Bengals.

In his first career game against the Bengals, Philip Rivers threw for 338 yards and three touchdowns in route to a 124.5 rating. In seven career games against the Bengals, Rivers has thrown for 1,803 yards and 11 touchdowns with six interceptions. He has completed 64.9 percent of his passes with a 92.0 rating and a 3-4 record against Cincinnati.

Broadcast Information

CBS – Greg Gumbel (play-by-play), Trent Green (analyst), Bruce Arians (analyst) and Melanie Collins (sideline)

KFI-AM 640 – Matt “Money” Smith (play-by-play), Daniel Jeremiah (analyst) and Shannon Farren (sideline)

Spanish Radio: KFWB – AM 980 – Mario Solis (play-by-play) and Jorge Villanueva (analyst)

Chargers radio broadcasts throughout the season will be able to be heard across ten radio stations from Southern California to Nevada. Fans can listen in English on KGB-FM and KLSD-AM (San Diego), KNWZ-AM (Palm Springs), KALZ-AM (Fresno), KBFP-AM (Bakersfield), KNWH-FM (Yucca Valley), KRLV-FM (Las Vegas), KRAK-AM (Victorville) and KATY-FM (San Bernardino). Spanish broadcasts can be heard on XHFG-FM (San Diego).

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