Chargers Beat Washington Football Team: By The Numbers
The NFL season is underway, and the Los Angeles Chargers earned a 21-16 win against the Washington Football Team in Week One. The Chargers started the game off right as Justin Herbert marched the team downfield, and Austin Ekeler completed the drive with a rushing touchdown.
The Chargers won this game in the usual Chargers way. It was a close game until the end, but the Chargers ended up on top in this one.
Ryan Fitzpatrick went down early with an injury, but Taylor Heinicke seemed more comfortable running that offense. The Chargers’ defense did a great job holding Antonio Gibson to just 90 rushing yards on 20 carries.
The Chargers’ defense looked great on the field, with the long-awaited return of Derwin James. The Chargers allowed just 259 total yards and 16 points.
The Chargers’ offense racked up 424 total yards. Mike Williams had a big game, as he was targeted 12 times, caught 8 passes for 82 yards, and one touchdown.
The Chargers looked good all-around, from offensive line to secondary.
Let’s take a look at some numbers that helped the Chargers win against the Washington Football Team.
That number is the number of first downs the Chargers got in Week One. That number alone is impressive, but what is more impressive is they were able to do that against a top-tier defense, and against the team with the best defensive line in the league.
Herbert looked comfortable all game long in the pocket, as the offensive line held their ground against Washington’s star-studded defensive line. He made sure to get all his receivers involved, including rookie Joshua Palmer.
Jared Cook looked good in the open field, being targeted eight times, receiving five of those passes for 56 yards, and although there were a couple of miscommunications between Herbert and his receivers early (particularly Cook and Jalen Guyton), the more reps they get during the games, the more comfortable they are going to be in that offense. We even saw that happen within this game.
This is a new coaching staff and a new offense for Herbert and the Chargers. They looked comfortable enough to get 27 first downs in Week One, and they will build on that as the weeks go by, and they play in more favorable, potential shootout type matchups.
Herbert targeted Keenan Allen — his favorite target — 13 times yesterday afternoon. Last season, Allen was targeted 13 times or more three times. Herbert wasted no time to get Allen involved in the offense this season, particularly on third down.
Allen, arguably the best route runner in the league, makes Herbert’s job easier to find the open man. The volume that Allen saw in Week 1 could be for a couple of reasons — the biggest one being that Ekeler was not targeted. However, even when Ekeler starts being targeted, that should not impact Allen’s target share. Ekeler logged 72% of the team’s snaps in a Week Three against the Panthers where Allen was targeted 19 times. Allen will remain the focal point of that offense, regardless of how the targets are spread.
Allen also averaged 11.11 yards per catch on 9 receptions and a total of 100 yards against the Football Team this week, a number that is up a full two yards from his season average last year.
THREE HUNDRED THIRTY-SEVEN
Against the toughest defensive line in the NFL, Herbert managed to throw 337 yards on 31/47 passing. As mentioned earlier, he looked comfortable in the pocket, and the offensive line deserves all the credit for that.
It is a good sign for the Chargers and their fans that Herbert was able to throw for 337 yards, on the road, with some new targets, and a brand new coaching staff/offensive scheme. He was throwing lasers all afternoon long and will look to build on his success next week against the porous secondary of the Dallas Cowboys.