By Cameron Buford, whatsgoodinsports.com
Coming off two consecutive losses these Chargers would be shorthanded when they take the field against the Eagles in Philadelphia. They would be without some key players on their defense this week. Defensive backs Michael Davis, Alohi Gilman, and Asante Samuel Jr. would all miss Sunday’s game vs. the Eagles. Which forced Defensive Coordinator Renaldo Hill and the defensive coaching staff to be creative with their schemes and coverages against this versatile Eagle’s team.
“It’s such an important point of when you go down a couple of guys, how do you respond? I think that [Secondary Coach] Derrick Ansley, [Assistant Secondary Coach] Tommy Donatell, [Defensive Coordinator] Renaldo [Hill] — that whole group of guys does such a good job of cross-training these guys.” Coach Staley stated on Friday about their changes in the secondary, before flying to Philadelphia. “These guys have game action. They’ve been in the fire, whether it was in the preseason or this season. I like the way that we have practiced so far this week with that group. I’m confident in those guys as competitors. We’re going to have to do a good job of playing and coaching around them. Those guys are going to be up for the challenge.”
After playing two of the worst games of his young NFL career, Chargers QB Justin Herbert had a game most Chargers fans would come to expect from him. Hitting 32 of his 38 passes and registering 356 yards passing, with two touchdowns and rushing for a touchdown, is an ideal way to bust out of this slump. This win gives him five comebacks wins in his young career and ties him with Kyler Murray and Cam Newton for the most multiple passing TDs with a rushing TD in their first two seasons in NFL history.
“I think it’s huge for us because we lost a couple of tough games and the film we watched we have to get better than that.” Herbert would say in his post-game press conference. “To come here in such a hostile environment. They’ve got an incredible team on the opposing sideline. It was a tough game and there not going to be easy. None of the games in the NFL are going to be easy and that’s what we’ve figured out in the last couple of weeks. To battle through all that adversity and come out on the other side, I think is huge for us.”
“Well, it’s the NFL; they’re all tough games. You know it’s going to happen; it’s about how you answer adversity.” Herbert would say in his press conference, after the game, “Like we mentioned all week, it’s about how you answer, and I thought the guys did a great job today, Defense, offense and special teams as well. That’s the NFL, every game is going to be a tough game and you have to have your best, and I felt like we were good today.”
The Chargers’ offense did not allow a sack for the first time since 2019 and totaled 445 net yards, good for the most on the road this season. WR Keenan Allen had 12 catches for 104 receiving yards to register his 30th career 100-yard performance. On defense, DL Linval Joseph tied for the team lead with a season-high nine tackles. Meanwhile, OLB Joey Bosa reached 4.5 sacks for the season after posting a seven-yard drop on Sunday.
“Our offensive line played a very good football game today; this was a line of scrimmage game, and our offensive line competed at a high level.” Coach Staley said about his team in his postgame press conference. “Corey Linsley, Matt Feiler, Storm Norton, (Michael) Schofield, and Rashawn (Slater), they were outstanding. Our tight ends blocked well today, all four of them!” The fact that the Chargers’ offense did not allow a sack for the first time since 2019, this is evidence of how well they played today.
Neither team would score on their initial drive, though the Chargers drove the ball as far as they could on the Eagle without scoring. It wasn’t until their second drive of the game that both teams got into the endzone. The Chargers would capitalize on the field position they got from their long drive, with a TD pass from Herbert to Stephen Anderson, for his first TD catch of the season. The Eagles would get on the board with a 4-yard run from Jordan Howard. For his third touchdown of the season.
Each of these teams would exchange touchdown on four consecutive drives before the Chargers closed the game out. Herbert would connect on a pass to Donald Parham Jr., on an 8-yard touchdown pass just before Hopkins missed the extra point. The Eagles answered with a Kenneth Gainwell one yard touchdown run to take a 17-16 lead in the third quarter.
Los Angeles went ahead 16-10 on Herbert’s 8-yard TD pass to Donald Parham Jr., but Hopkins missed the extra point. The Eagles quickly answered with Kenneth Gainwell running in from the 1 to take a 17-16 lead. Hurts completed 3 of 4 passes on that drive for 63 yards. He was 4 of 9 for 54 yards to that point.
On the following drive, Herbert had an 8-yard Touchdown run and then connected with Jared Cook on the 2-point conversion to make it 24-17. Hurts, lead the Eagles down the field and hit rookie DeVonta Smith on a 28-yard TD pass to tie the game up at 24-24.
“I really liked the way we executed in the run game and in the pass game. I really felt like we had balance today on offense and I felt like that was one of the big keys in the game was keeping, the Eagles defensive, front off-balance … On that last drive, I thought that was a good example of that. A lot of key plays on that drive. Everybody touched the ball for us on that drive and I think that makes you tough to defend. Justin Herbert, executed at a really high level today. What we wanted to do was finish that game with the football. We had the big 4th & 1 that we executed and then we split them on a run that really got us in there close.” Coach Staley would say about their final drive that they would kick the game winning field goal.
After thanking his lord and savior, Place Kicker Dustin Hopkins said in his post-game press conference, “Also the O-line, Obviously, I couldn’t do it without them. Then Matt and Ty, the snap and hold were awesome. For guys picking me up when I didn’t do as good as of job earlier, when I should’ve. And just how supportive the guys were. Even without knowing some of them.”
Though the Chargers would give up 176 yards rushing on 39 carries, they only allowed 162 yards passing with a secondary, which was without some key players. Keenan Allen would record his 30th career game with 100-yards receiving and his first double-digit catch game this season to secure this win.
“I feel like everything was fluid, we were just moving down the field. We went 98 yards down the field, no touchdown. Again, we get the ball all-the-way down and score 7 points, then we get the ball 40 yards no touchdown… we were just moving.”Keenan Allen said in his post-game press conference.
You would expect this kind of bounce-back game from a playoff team. With the AFC West open for the taking, these Chargers should have as much claim to winning the division as any team this season. What are your thoughts on the Chargers being able to win this division? Reach out to me on Twitter @whatsgoodnsport or shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org to share your thoughts. I encourage you to forward any suggestions on what topics, angles, or players on this Los Angeles Chargers team you would like to read about this season.
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