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Six Chargers to Watch Down the Stretch

The Bolts return from a much needed bye week on Monday for the final six weeks of the regular season. Here are six players and storylines to keep an eye on down the stretch.

1. Antonio Gates -  Will Gates Become the NFL’s All-Time Tight End Touchdowns Leader?

Gates’ quest to catch and pass Tony Gonzalez has been top of mind since the start of the season.   The legendary tight end needed seven to tie and eight to pass the former Chief and Falcon star for the most ever in NFL history at the position.  With five touchdowns through the first 10 games, Gates is now just two shy of tying Gonzalez with 111 career TDs and three from passing him with 112.

2. Tyrell Williams – Can Williams Reach the 1,000-yard Mark?

The Chargers boast a long history of dominant pass catches.  However, only 14 have ever eclipsed 1,000 yards in a season.  Williams is on his way to becoming the 15th in what has been a breakout sophomore campaign for the 24-year old. The Western Oregon product has caught 43 passes for 720 yards and four touchdowns, and currently ranks 16th in the NFL in receiving yards, eighth in average yards per catch (16.7) and has the third most catches of at least 25 yards (10).

3. Melvin Gordon – Will Gordon Lead the League in Touchdowns?

One year after failing to find the end zone as a rookie, Gordon has found pay dirt 11 times thus far in 2016 (nine rushing, two receiving).  His total is currently tied with the Titans’ DeMarco Murray for the second most in the league, one behind the Patriots’ LeGarrette Blount and Cardinals’ David Johnson.  Only two players in Chargers history have ever led the league in total touchdowns as Lance Alworth did it three times (1964-66) and LaDainian Tomlinson set an NFL record with 31 in 2006.

4. Casey Hayward – Can Hayward Lead the League in Interceptions?

In his first year with the Bolts, the cornerback has made his presence felt as he is currently tied with the Chiefs’ Marcus Peters and Giants’ Landon Collins for the most interceptions in the NFL (five).  The total is already the most by a Charger since 2011 when Eric Weddle had seven.  Hayward is attempting to become the second Charger ever to lead the NFL in picks after Antonio Cromartie had 10 in 2007.

5. Joey Bosa – Will Bosa Capture Defensive Rookie of the Year Honors?

The third overall pick already became the first player in San Diego history to be named an NFL Defensive Rookie of the Month after an impressive October.  Now, he is trying to become the third Bolt to be named an NFL Rookie of the Year, following in the footsteps of Leslie O’Neal (1986) and Shawne Merriman (2005).  Bosa has 15 total tackles, six tackles for loss, four sacks, 19 pressures, 12 QB hits, one forced fumble and one pass defensed in six games this year. Should he go on a run and get 8.5 sacks over the next six games, he would tie O’Neal’s record of 12.5 sacks by a Chargers rookie.

6. Josh Lambo – Can Lambo Lead the NFL in Total Points?

The Bolts’ kicker has been solid all year, converting 21 of 23 field goals (91.3%) and 29 of 32 PATs (90.6%).  His 21 field goals are tied for the sixth most in the league as he continues to climb the Chargers’ record books for most career FGs in only his second season as he currently ranks seventh.  Perhaps most importantly, Lambo is tied for second in the NFL for most total points (92) with the Redskins’ Dustin Hopkins.  That total is only eight shy of the Falcons’ Matt Bryant (100) for most in the NFL.   While LaDainian Tomlinson’s franchise record of 186 points in 2006 is likely out of reach, Lambo is within striking distance for second, and most by a kicker, as Nate Kaeding had 146 in 2009.

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