Scouting Report: Cardinals vs. Chargers

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The Los Angeles Chargers (7-3) will don their royal blue uniforms for the only time this season when they host the Arizona Cardinals (2-8) Sunday at ROKiT Field at StubHub Center. Kickoff is set for 1:05pm PT.

What to Watch For…

On Offense for the Chargers

Philip Rivers is the only quarterback in the league to throw at least two touchdown passes in each game this season, and he’ll look to keep that streak rolling on Sunday. Number 17 is 211-of-315 (67.0 percent) on the year while throwing for 2,860 yards and 23 touchdowns with only six picks. Add it all up and that’s good for a 112.1 passer rating. Rivers’ top target is Keenan Allen, who continues to carve up defenses. KA13 has hauled in 62 passes this season for 776 yards and three touchdowns. Meanwhile, Tyrell Williams and Mike Williams have been big-play threats as they’re tied for the team lead with five TD receptions. On the ground, Melvin Gordon continues to impose his will, pounding the rock 143 times for 741 yards (5.2 ypc) and seven touchdowns. He’s been just as lethal as a receiver, ranking second on the team with 42 catches for 448 yards and another four scores.

On Offense for the Cardinals

First-round pick Josh Rosen took over as the team’s starting quarterback in Week 4, and he’s completed 125 of 228 attempts (54.8 percent) for 1,416 yards, nine touchdowns and 10 interceptions for a 68.5 passer rating. Future Hall of Famer Larry Fitzgerald continues to work his magic 15 years into his career, leading the team with 42 receptions for 430 yards and four touchdowns. Rookie sensation Christian Kirk has also emerged as an electric playmaker, hauling in 36 receptions for a team-high 495 yards and three touchdowns. Meanwhile, David Johnson leads the Cardinals’ ground attack as he’s toted the rock 168 times for 629 yards (3.7 ypc) and six touchdowns. He’s also chipped in with 32 catches for 309 yards and another two TDs.

On Defense for the Chargers

The Bolts got a major boost to their defense last week with the return of Joey Bosa, and he’ll look for his first sack of the year when the Chargers host the Cardinals. Melvin Ingram currently leads the team with 5.5 sacks, followed by Isaac Rochell with 4.5. Meanwhile, Derwin James leads the team in tackles with 75 while Desmond King ranks first on the Bolts with three picks.

On Defense for the Cardinals

Arizona enters the game as one of the league’s stingiest teams against the pass, led by perennial All-Pro Patrick Peterson. The lockdown corner continues to thrive against some of the NFL’s best wideouts, and he ranks second on the team with two interceptions only behind former Charger Tre Boston, who leads the team with three picks. The Cardinals also boast one of the league’s top pass rushers in Chandler Jones, who has 10.5 sacks on the year. Meanwhile, Antoine Bethea paces the defense with 67 tackles while Budda Baker ranks second with 54.

Series History

The Chargers lead the all-time series 9-4, including a 6-1 record at home. The Cardinals won the last meeting between the teams, 18-17, to open the 2014 campaign. However, the last time the Bolts hosted Arizona they ran away with a 41-10 victory behind a standout effort by Antonio Gates, who had two touchdown catches and 144 yards receiving on the day.

By the Numbers

The Chargers rank seventh in total offense (400.8 yards per game), ninth in passing (276.9 ypg), ninth in rushing (123.9 ypg) and 10th in points (26.2). The Cardinals rank 32nd in total offense (240.8 ypg), 31st in passing (162.0 ypg), 32nd in rushing (78.7 ypg) and 31st in points (14.5).

Defensively, the Bolts rank 14th in total defense (353.4 ypg), 14th in passing (241.3 ypg), 18th in rushing (112.1 ypg) and seventh in points allowed (20.9). Arizona ranks 17th in total defense (359.7 ypg), fourth in passing (218.2 ypg), 29th in rushing (141.5 ypg) and 17th in points allowed (24.8).

Milestones on the Horizon

Melvin Gordon needs 120 scrimmage yards to extend his streak of games with at least 120 yards from scrimmage to seven contests, setting a new mark for the longest such streak in team history. He is currently tied with Hall of Fame running back LaDainian Tomlinson.

Keenan Allen needs 100-plus receiving yards to post the 21st 100-yard game of his career to tie TE Antonio Gates for the fifth-most in team annals.

Keenan Allen needs two touchdown catches to reach 27 and tie WR Don Norton for 12th in Chargers history.

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

Antonio Gates needs 106 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.

Michael Badgley needs two more field goals to reach 10 for his career, which would be the most by a kicker in team history through five career games.

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

With a victory, the Chargers would reach 8-3 for the sixth time in history and the first since 2009.

Noteworthy vs. the Cardinals

Antonio Gates has faced Arizona three times, catching 17 passes for 281 yards and three touchdowns. He is 2-1 in games played against the Cardinals.

Philip Rivers has faced the Arizona Cardinals three times and is 2-1 against the NFC West opponent. Rivers is 55-for-80 and has passed for 710 yards with five touchdowns. He holds a 106.8 rating against them.

Connections

Chargers Offensive Coordinator Ken Whisenhunt was the head coach in Arizona from 2007-12, where he led the Cardinals to their first Super Bowl appearance in franchise history (Super Bowl XLIII).

Defensive Backs Coach Ron Milus served in the same role for the Cardinals in 2003.

Strength and Conditioning Coach John Lott served in the same role for Arizona from 2007-16.

Cardinals HC Steve Wilks coached the Chargers secondary from 2009-11. Wilks also served as the assistant head coach in 2011.

TE John Phillips played three seasons with the Chargers (2013-15).

S Tre Boston spent the 2017 season with the Chargers.

Sr. Assistant/Defensive Line Coach Don Johnson coached the Chargers defensive line for seven seasons (1999-05).

Assistant Offensive Line Coach Steve Heiden played tight end for the Chargers from 1999-01.

Tight Ends Coach Jason Michael served in the same role for the Chargers from 2011-13.

Assistant Strength and Conditioning Coach Vernon Stephens was an assistant strength coach for the Chargers from 2007-12.

OL Zack Golditch spent the 2018 offseason with the Chargers.

Broadcast Information

CBS – Chris Myers (play-by-play), Daryl Johnston (analyst) and Laura Okmin (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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