By Cameron Buford, whatsgoodinsports.com
Heading to Cincinnati for the first time they’ve played since 2015, the Chargers premiered their new uniforms on the road when they they took on the Bengals. They were looking to improve on their disappointing 5 -11 record from the 2019 season. Additionally, Tyrod Taylor made his first NFL start since 2015 and the Chargers’ first game in 17 seasons without Phillip Rivers under center.
Coming off a season where they suffered 28 turnovers from the Quarterback position, Taylor’s best attribute is protecting the football and eliminating mistakes. His 1.3 Int percentage has him ranked #2 among NFL qualified passers. Since being paired with now Head Coach Anthony Lynn, Taylor also became the most recent QB to pass for 3,000 yards, rush for 500 while registering an interception rate of less than 1.5%.
Outside a healthy Wide Receiving corps to pass to Taylor will have a youthful backfield join him on the field? The recently resigned Austin Ekeler, who’s 92 catches for 993 yards were the most for by an undrafted running back since 1967. In addition to 3rd year rookie running back Justin Jackson and rookie running back, Joshua Kelley who has been shining throughout training camp.
To begin the game, players stood at the goal lines and linked arms as “Lift Every Voice” was played in Paul Brown Stadium after player warm-ups. When asked about the playing of “Lift Every Voice,” Chargers Anthony Lynn said, “I’ve been hearing and listening to that song all my life; so I’m good with it.” Players on both sides left the field and returned to gather at midfield, linking arms, during the playing of the National Anthem.
After the National Champion and Heisman Trophy winner scampered for a 23-yard touchdown to give the Bengals an early lead in the game, the Chargers defense buckled down and only allowed 2 field goals throughout the game. The Chargers defense also forced 2 turnovers while allowing less than 300 total yards in the game. #1 Draft pick Joe Burrow only generated 173 passing yards against the Chargers.
When asked about his thoughts on Tyrod Taylor’s play, Coach Lynn responded without hesitation that, “he protected the ball well.” Completing just over 50% of his passes, Taylor relied on his running backs to move the ball as they accounting for 155 yards on 39 carries. Ekeler lead the team with 84 yards on the ground, though Rookie Kelley leads the team 5.0 yards per carry and scored the team’s only touchdown on a 5 yard TD run with 12:23 left in the game. Joshua Kelly was overjoyed with their win stating, “Just happy man, so happy to get a win!” After scoring his touchdown Kelley said, “I wanted to honor Breonna Taylor; have the decal on the back of my helmet. So, my plan was to point to that and honor her; hopefully, I can do that this season.” When asked if anything caught him off guard, “These guys hit man, they really hit!”
In his post-game press conference Chargers, Head Coach Anthony Lynn showed his pleasure with Joshua Kelly’s game when he said, “I thought Joshua ran the ball well; it would’ve been hard to win the game without Joshua today.” Chargers Head Coach Anthony Lynn said about Kelley’s performance. Coach Lynn went on to share his thoughts on why they won, when he stated, “I tell these guys all the time, more games in this league are lost than won, and I believe we won today because we’re 2-0 in the turnover column!”
In week #2 of the season, the Chargers welcome the Kansas City Chiefs into the magnificent SoFi Stadium. Having lost 3 out of the last 4 games to them in recent seasons, knocking off the defending champs should give the Chargers some added incentive for this week. Feel free to share your thoughts on who had the best performance of the Chargers win over this past weekend. Additionally, I am open to hearing what topics you would like to have me discuss in future weeks. Send all suggestions to firstname.lastname@example.org or tweet us at @whatsgoodnsport.