The Los Angeles Chargers take to a field other than StubHub Center for the first time this year when they pay a crosstown visit to the Los Angeles Rams. The nationally televised tilt kicks off at 5:00 p.m. from the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. It also marks the first game played between two Los Angeles teams since Nov. 13, 1994.
What to Watch For…
On Offense for the Chargers
With the starters expected to see their most extensive action yet, this week will provide a strong barometer for Philip Rivers and company heading into the regular season. In his lone series this preseason, number 17 completed 5-of-6 passes for 56 yards, one touchdown and a 145.1 passer rating. Meanwhile, the Bolts will emphasize getting their ground game going after Head Coach Anthony Lynn stressed it as a major focal point heading into the final two preseason games.
On Offense for the Rams
Jared Goff leads the Rams into action, fresh off a rookie campaign in which the former number one overall pick completed 112-of-205 attempts for 1,089 yards, five TDs and seven interceptions for a 63.6 passer rating in seven starts. He has a pair of new weapons at his disposal in rookie Cooper Kupp and the recently-acquired Sammy Watkins, who arrived from the Buffalo Bills two weeks ago. Todd Gurley leads the Rams’ rushing attack, though he’s carried the ball just 12 times this preseason for 40 yards.
On Defense for the Chargers
All eyes will be on the secondary, where Jason Verrett may see his first action since last September. The Bolts have eased the former Pro Bowler along this summer, but Lynn has stated his desire to hopefully see him on the field vs. the Rams. Meanwhile, after Lynn cited them as players with “stocks on the rise”, Desmond King, Korey Toomer and Dexter McCoil look to cement their standing on the team.
On Defense for the Rams
Wade Phillips takes over on defense, looking to put his stamp on Rams. Alec Ogletree remains the heart and soul of the unit, and the veteran led the team a year ago with 136 tackles. Trumaine Johnson leads a feisty secondary, while Robert Quinn has been known to give opposing QBs fits.
The Rams lead the regular season series, 6-5, and hold an 18-16 edge in preseason play. The two teams last met during the regular season in 2014, with the Chargers emerging with a 27-24 victory. The last time the two teams met in the preseason was in 2008, when the Rams squeaked out a win in the low scoring affair, 7-6.
By the Numbers
In 2016, the Chargers ranked 14th in total offense (356.8 yards per game), eighth in passing (262.4 ypg), 26th in rushing (94.4 ypg) and ninth in points (25.6). The Rams ranked 32nd in total offense (262.7 ypg), 31st in passing (184.4 ypg), 31st in rushing (78.2 ypg) and 32nd in points (14.0).
Defensively, the Bolts ranked 16th in total defense (347.1 ypg), 20th in passing (249.2 ypg), 10th in rushing (97.9 ypg) and 29th in points allowed (26.4). The Rams ranked ninth in total defense (337.0 ypg), 10th in passing (233.2 ypg), 16th in rushing (103.8 ypg) and 23rd in points allowed (24.6).
Noteworthy vs. the Rams
Philip Rivers has faced the Rams three times during the regular season over the course of his career. Rivers has tossed three touchdowns and racked up 746 yards on 66-of-95 passing. In his last meeting against the Rams, Rivers was an efficient 29-for-35 for 291 yards and a touchdown.
In the 2014 contest, Keenan Allen hauled in six passes for 104 yards and a 29-yard score.
Playing for the Packers, Casey Hayward had an interception and three tackles against the Rams in 2012.
Playing for the Seahawks, Brandon Mebane recorded a sack and two hurries in a shutout win against the Rams in 2009. Mebane has faced the Rams 17 times.
Rams Defensive Coordinator Wade Phillips was the Chargers defensive coordinator from 2004-06.
Rams Assistant Head Coach/Linebackers Joe Barry was the Chargers Linebackers Coach from 2012-14.
Chargers Defensive Backs Coach Ron Milus was the Rams assistant secondary coach from 2006-07 and secondary coach in 2008.
Chargers T Joe Barksdale played for the Rams from 2012-14.
Chargers QB Kellen Clemens played for the Rams from 2011-14.
Chargers LB Korey Toomer played for the Rams in 2014.
Chargers Head Coach Anthony Lynn played in Denver (1993) while Rams Defensive Coordinator Wade Phillips was the head coach.
Chargers Assistant Defensive Line Eric Henderson (2006-08) played in Cincinnati alongside Rams LT Andrew Whitworth.
Chargers QB Cardale Jones (2016) and T Chris Hairston (2013-14) played with Rams WR Sammy Watkins along with Rams WR Robert Woods in Buffalo.
Chargers T Russell Okung and Rams DB Kayvon Webster were teammates in Denver (2016).
CBS – Ian Eagle (play-by-play), Dan Fouts (analyst) and Evan Washburn (sideline)
KFI-AM 640 – Matt “Money” Smith (play-by-play), Nick Hardwick (analyst) and Shannon Farren (sideline)
Spanish Radio: KFWB – AM 980 - Jorge Villanueva (play-by-play) and Tony Alvarez (analyst)
Chargers radio broadcasts throughout the season will be able to be heard across nine radio stations from Southern California to Nevada. Fans can listen in English on KGB-FM and KLSD AM (San Diego), KNWZ (Palm Springs), KNWH-FM (Yucca Valley), KRLV-FM (Las Vegas), KRAK-AM (Victorville/Hesperia), KATY-FM (San Bernardino) and KPLY-AM (Reno). Spanish broadcasts can be heard on XHFG-FM (San Diego).