The Los Angeles Chargers broke the norm yesterday in finally coming out on top in a one score game. This is especially important because many had the Chargers losing. Reason being is that the Washington Football Team holds one of the league’s best defensive fronts. Instead the Chargers got the job done and nullified Washington’s pass rush and walked away unscaved. Here are a few takeaways from Week One’s victory.
General Manager Tom Telesco’s top priority this offseason was to revamp the offensive line. When you have a talent as the likes of Justin Herbert, protecting him should be the priority. Last season, the Chargers had the worst offensive line units in the entire league according to PFF. This was due to injuries piling up throughout the entire year. However, Herbert still found a way to win Offensive Rookie Of the Year.
With additions such as Corey Linsley, who is an All-Pro, Matt Feiler, Oday Aboushi and rookie first round pick Rashawn Slater, this line had potential to be the best in the league. In their first matchup of the season, the O-Line had a tall task facing arguably the best defensive line in football. According to PFF, the Chargers allowed the lowest pressure rate (12%) in week one.
As a unit the Chargers held reigning defensive rookie of the year and potential defensive player of the year candidate Chase Young to no sacks and three tackles. What makes this interesting is the fact that Young started on Slater before moving over opposite due to lack of production. Both Slater (73.5) and Feiler(73.2) put up top five offensive grades against WFT.
Chargers LT Rashawn Slater was awesome in his debut. Per @PFF, Slater vs. rookie OL:
2nd highest overall grade (73.5)
2nd highest pass block grade (79.9)
2nd most snaps (81)
For 53 of those 81 snaps, he was staring at Chase Young in front of him pre-snap. Zero pressures allowed
— Trevor Sikkema (@TampaBayTre) September 13, 2021
Offense Making Strides
Throughout the whole game, the Chargers were in command on the offensive end. Los Angeles held the ball longer, had more total yards, more first downs and most importantly converted 14-19 on third down. In year two, the expectations for Herbert are through the roof. After an impressive rookie season, many want to see Herbert make that next leap in his career. In a loaded AFC, the Chargers will only go as far as Herbert takes them.
On the day Herbert threw for 337 yards and a score. Unfortunately he had two turnovers for the day. One being an interception after missing his target on an overthrown ball in the red zone. The other was a controversial fumble which appeared to be an incomplete pass. As stated earlier it was the 14 for 19 on third down that was the most impressive stat. When LA needed to keep the chains moving they did that exact thing. It was in the final drive where the Chargers put everything together and ran out the clock to win the game.
Keenan Allen and Mike Williams today: 17 catches for 182 yards and a touchdown. Monster day for that duo.
— Chris Hayre (@chrishayre) September 12, 2021
In addition, the duo of Keenan Allen and Mike Williams came to play. The two combined for 17 catches for 182 yards and a touchdown. Allen was his usual self making incredible catches off the break and gaining extra yards. It was Williams that was quite a surprise. Williams was targeted 12 times, catching eight of those for a career high. What makes this a surprise are the amount of balls thrown his way and the routes he ran. Williams is known for his jump ball catching ability but instead he was more focused on short and medium routes. Should he continue with this approach it makes this team much more versatile.
Many wondered how Staley’s fit would fit with his new team that is filled with playmakers. Joey Bosa had himself 1.5 sacks for the game and constantly put the pressure on both Ryan Fitzpatrick and Tyler Henike. Other than two terrible roughing the passer penalties, Bosa had a pretty good game to start the year.
In his first game back since 2019, Derwin James made his presence felt from the get go. Just as Staley said postgame in the locker room “without this guy, this whole movie is different”. Staying healthy was a problem for the Chargers’ safety as he missed a majority of 2019 and all of 2020. However against Washington, James racked in seven tackles and one pass defense.
The defense in general showed flashes of what they could be. Los Angeles held Washington to 259 yards, 15 first downs and 49 total plays. Washington’s offense was fairly balanced as they had 27 rush attempts to 21 pass attempts.
Reason being is that Charger’s defensive end Uchenna Nwosu laid the hammer down on Fitzpatrick forcing him to exit the game in the first half. However, that wasn’t the critical play in the game. That came in the fourth quarter where Kyzier White forced a fumble on Antonio Gibson. The Chargers scored a touchdown following that turnover and were able to hold it down for a victory.
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