The Los Angeles Chargers return to StubHub Center on Sunday to take on Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints. Kickoff is set for 5:00 p.m.
A Look Back at Last Week
The Bolts got off to a fast start against the Seattle Seahawks as Philip Rivers authored a 13-play, 75-yard drive culminating in a touchdown pass to Antonio Gates. The starting defense also came out strong as Los Angeles raced out to a 7-3 lead before the second-team took over. Unfortunately, things unraveled from that point on as the Seahawks emerged with a 48-17 win.
What to Watch For…
On Offense for the Chargers
While Philip Rivers, Antonio Gates, Melvin Gordon and the rest of the offensive starters put on a show in their lone drive, the focus will be on the second-team, who know they must play better. The second-unit turned the ball over three times in the first half, so ball security will be a focal point. Meanwhile, Travis Benjamin aims to continue being a big-play threat after catching a 74-yard TD from Kellen Clemens. Andre Williams also hopes to establish himself as the team’s power back after impressing with a team-high eight carries in the preseason opener.
On Offense for the Saints
Former Charger Drew Brees marches the Saints into town, but he’s not the only perennial Pro Bowler to keep tabs on. Already boasting a strong rushing attack with Mark Ingram, they reinforced their ground game by inking Adrian Peterson to form a two-headed monster. Meanwhile, Michael Thomas and Willie Snead are on the precipice of establishing themselves as one of the league’s top wide receiver tandems.
On Defense for the Chargers
All eyes will be on Nick Dzubnar and Korey Toomer as the two vets are tasked with filling the shoes of the injured Denzel Perryman. Meanwhile, a pair of rookies will look to further make their mark after an impressive debut against the Seahawks. Fifth-round pick Desmond King had an interception and forced fumble against Seattle while undrafted linebacker Nigel Harris led the team with nine tackles.
On Defense for the Saints
The Bolts will go against a familiar face as Manti Te’o is now a starting linebacker for the Saints. Los Angeles’ second-round pick in 2013, Te’o recorded a pair of tackles in New Orleans’ preseason debut. The Chargers will also have their hands full up front against a Saints team that totaled four sacks a week ago against Cleveland.
The Bolts and Saints have squared off six times in the past during the preseason, with L.A. holding a 4-2 advantage. They last met in 2010 in New Orleans with the Saints finishing on top, 36-21.
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 Saints ranked first total offense (426.0 ypg), first in passing (317.1 ypg), 16th in rushing (108.9 ypg) and second in points (29.3).
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). New Orleans ranked 27th in total defense (375.4 ypg), 32nd in passing (273.8 ypg), 14th in rushing (101.6 ypg) and 31st in points allowed (28.4).
Noteworthy vs. the Saints
Playing for St. Louis in 2013, Kellen Clemens tied his career-high with two touchdown passes against the Saints.
In three career games against New Orleans, Antonio Gates has caught 14 passes for 171 yards and four touchdowns.
Playing for Atlanta in 2014, Dwight Lowery had a sack and forced fumble in a 30-14 win at New Orleans.
In 2012, Philip Rivers passed for a season-high 354 yards against New Orleans. He has games of 341 (2008), 354 (2012) and 321 (2016) against the Saints.
Last season, Dontrelle Inman had a career day with 120 yards and a TD on seven catches.
Chargers DE Melvin Ingram and Saints LB Dannell Ellerbe come from Rockingham, N.C., and both attended Richmond Senior High School.
Los Angeles DE Jerry Attaochu and New Orleans CB Ken Crawley are both from the Washington, D.C. area.
Chargers QB Mike Bercovici and Saints WR Michael Thomas both come from Woodland Hills, Calif., and attended William Howard Taft Charter High School together.
FORMER SAINTS ON THE CHARGERS
Chargers DT Kaleb Eulls played for the Saints in 2015.
FORMER CHARGERS ON THE SAINTS
New Orleans QB Drew Brees played for the Chargers from 2001-05.
Saints LB Manti Te’o played for the Chargers from 2013-16.
New Orleans TE John Phillips played for the Chargers from 2013-15.
Saints Offensive Coordinator Pete Carmichael was the offensive assistant and assistant wide receivers coach with the Chargers during the 2003-05 seasons.
Los Angeles NT Damion Square spent the 2009-10 seasons at Alabama with New Orleans RB Mark Ingram.
Chargers WR Keenan Allen played his first two seasons (2010-11) at California with Saints DE Cameron Jordan.
Chargers WR Isaiah Burse spent the 2011-13 seasons at Fresno State with Saints DT Tyeler Davison.
Los Angeles DT Corey Liuget played his first two seasons (2008-09) with New Orleans TE Michael Hoomanawanui at Illinois.
Chargers QB Cardale Jones, DE Joey Bosa and OLB Joshua Perry played the 2013-15 seasons at Ohio State with Saints S Vonn Bell.
Los Angeles CB Trevor Williams played his first season (2012) at Penn State with New Orleans LB Michael Mauti.
Chargers S Adrian Phillips played his first three seasons (2010-12) alongside Saints S Kenny Vaccaro at Texas.
Chargers T Joe Barksdale attended Louisiana State University from 2007-10.
KABC-TV/NFL Network – Spero Dedes (play-by-play), Dan Fouts (analyst) and Alex Flanagan (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).