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Scouting Report: Chargers vs. Bills

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The Los Angeles Chargers (0-1) hit the road for the first time in 2018 when they head to Buffalo to take on the Bills (0-1). Kickoff from New Era Field is set for 10:00 a.m. PT.

What to Watch For…

On Offense for the Chargers

Philip Rivers and company moved the ball at will a week ago as their 541 yards of total offense are the most in the league heading into Week 2. Rivers ranks second in the league with 424 passing yards, while his eight passes of at least 20 yards and 23 passes for a first down lead all quarterbacks. In addition, Melvin Gordon continues to be one of the top all-around weapons in the NFL, entering Week 2 after amassing 166 total yards from scrimmage. Dating back to 2016 he ranks fifth in the NFL with 3,136 scrimmage yards. Finally, Keenan Allen enters this week’s clash vs. Buffalo after hauling in nine passes for 108 yards and one score. He dominated the Bills last year, recording 12 catches for 159 yards and a pair of touchdowns.

On Offense for the Bills

The Bills are making a switch at quarterback, turning the reins over to Josh Allen, the seventh-overall pick in this year’s draft. Allen replaced Nathan Peterman in the second half last week, completing six of 15 attempts for 74 yards. Buffalo’s top weapon remains Le’Sean McCoy who has been one of the top playmakers since he entered the league in 2009. In fact, his 13,491 yards from scrimmage are the most by any players over that span. McCoy was a thorn in the Bolts’ side a year ago, running for 114 yards and one TD run while adding another score via a touchdown catch. Meanwhile, the Chargers will need to limit Charles Clay as the tight end has a touchdown catch in two of his last three games vs. L.A. Finally, Zay Jones led all receivers last week with three receptions for 26 yards.

On Defense for the Chargers

Derwin James made his presence felt in his NFL debut as one of three defensive players to be on the field for every single snap. He also recorded the Bolts’ lone sack while also breaking up a surefire touchdown with an acrobatic pass defense. Overall, the Chargers look to pick up where they left off a year ago vs. Buffalo when they picked off Nathan Peterman five times in the first half. They also added a strip-sack for a touchdown in what was one of the team’s best defensive performances in franchise history.

On Defense for the Bills

First-round pick Tremaine Edmunds showed just why the Bills traded up to draft him last week with an impressive debut. The Virginia Tech product notched his first career sack and forced fumble, being Buffalo’s first rookie to bring down the quarterback in Week 1 since 2002. Matt Milano was another linebacker who stood out last week, leading Buffalo with eight tackles, two tackles for loss and a fumble recovery. Finally, the Bolts need to be wary of Micah Hyde, who is one of the top safeties in the NFL. In fact, he is one of only four safeties in the NFL dating back to 2015 to have more than 10 picks and 25 passes defensed.

Series History

The Chargers have won the last three meetings against the Bills. They boast a 24-12-2 all-time advantage and a 23-10-2 mark in regular season contests. The Chargers ran away to a 54-24 victory last season at StubHub Center on the strength of five interceptions en route to scoring the most points in a single game in franchise history since 1981. The last time the two franchises met in Buffalo (Sept. 21, 2014), the Chargers earned a 22-10 victory behind two passing touchdowns and a 131.4 quarterback rating from Philip Rivers. Rivers is 4-1 versus Buffalo as a starter in his career with 10 touchdowns and a rating of 110.1.

By the Numbers

The Chargers rank first in total offense (541.0 yards per game), second in passing (418.0 ypg), 11th in rushing (123.0 ypg) and eighth in points (28.0). The Bills rank 32nd in total offense (153.0 ypg), 32nd in passing (70.0 ypg), 25th in rushing (83.0 ypg) and 32nd in points (3.0).

Defensively, the Bolts rank 20th in total defense (362.0 ypg), 22nd in passing (256.0 ypg), 13th in rushing (106.0 ypg) and 28th in points allowed (38.0). Buffalo ranks 22nd in total defense (369.0 ypg), 21st in passing (252.0 ypg), 19th in rushing (117.0 ypg) and 30th in points allowed (47.0).

Milestones on the Horizon

Keenan Allen needs at least 100 yards to post the 20th 100-yard game of his career and tie WR Wes Chandler for the sixth-most in team history.

Allen also needs only 67 receiving yards to reach 4,185 for his career to pass WR Tony Martin for 10th in team annals.

Antonio Gates needs 96 receiving yards to reach 11,620 for his career and pass WR Calvin Johnson for 29th in NFL history.

Melvin Gordon needs 51 rushing yards to pass RB Don Woods (2,858) for the seventh-most career rushing yards in franchise history.

Gordon also needs 49 scrimmage yards to pass RB Don Woods (4,045) for the 10th-most scrimmage yards by a running back in team annals.

Gordon is two rushing touchdowns shy of becoming the eighth player in Chargers history to reach 20 career rushing scores, which would tie RB Mike Tolbert for seventh in Chargers history.

Gordon needs three rushing scores to record 21 for his career and move into sole possession of sixth on the team’s all-time rushing touchdowns list.

Gordon also needs six receptions to pass RBs Ryan Mathews and Darren Sproles (146) for sole possession of sixth in career receptions among running backs in team history.

Philip Rivers’ next win ties Hall of Fame QB Terry Bradshaw with 107 career regular-season victories for 12th on the all-time list.

Rivers needs 400 passing yards to record 11 such performances in his career, breaking a tie with Tom Brady and Ben Roethlisberger for sole possession of fourth in NFL history. It would also mark the third-ever set of back-to-back 400-yard games in team history (Rivers in 2013 and Fouts in 1982).

Tyrell Williams needs 115 receiving yards to reach 2,000 for his career and become the 26th player in history to do so in a Chargers uniform.

Jahleel Addae is seven total tackles shy of 300 for his career.

Desmond King needs two sacks to reach six for his career and tie DB Alex Molden for the most sacks by a defensive back in his first two seasons in NFL history (Molden had six from 1996-97).

Noteworthy vs. the Bills

Philip Rivers is 4-1 versus Buffalo as a starter in his career with 10 touchdowns to one interception. Rivers has thrown for 1,115 yards and completed 68.2 percent of his passes on 101-for-148. He holds a lifetime quarterback rating of 110.1 against the Bills. Number 17 has completed 72 percent or more of his passes against the Bills in three of his five starts.

Antonio Gates has hauled in 24 passes for 298 yards with four touchdowns against the Bills.

The Chargers had five first half interceptions in the last meeting, which were the most in a single half in team history.

The 54 points the Bolts scored in the last meeting is tied for the fourth-most scored in a game in Chargers history and is the most since a 55-21 win at Oakland on Nov. 22, 1981.

Melvin Ingram recorded his first career touchdown when he returned a fumble 39 yards for the score late in the third quarter in the last meeting against the Bills.

Connections

Chargers General Manager Tom Telesco spent four summers (1991-94) as a training camp intern with the Buffalo Bills.

Head Coach Anthony Lynn was the assistant head coach/running backs coach (2015) and offensive coordinator (2016) in Buffalo. Lynn served as interim head coach for one game for the Bills during the 2016 season.

Offensive Line Coach Pat Meyer was an offensive assistant coach in Buffalo for two seasons (2015-16).

Wide Receivers Coach Phil McGeoghan coached wide receivers in Buffalo during the 2017 season.

Defensive Line Coach Giff Smith was the defensive line coach in Buffalo from 2010-12.

Buffalo Linebackers Coach Bob Babich coached linebackers for the Chargers in 2016.

Assistant Offensive Line Coach Andrew Dees served in the same role for the Chargers from 2013-15.

Broadcast Information

CBS – Tom McCarthy (play-by-play) and Steve Beuerlein (analyst)

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)

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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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