The Los Angeles Chargers seemed to get a little of their swag back this week with a “W” against the Falcons. During that game, the Bolts racked up two sacks, Khalil Mack wrestled out a completed catch to switch possession, and last but certainly not least there was some good receiver play. There were so many questions about how the receivers would play in the absence of Keenan Allen and Mike Williams.
It was refreshing to see the Chargers use some of their secondary receivers and for those guys to repeat in-season, the great performances we saw during training camp. With Williams out for the next couple of weeks and Allen week to week, it’s a good time to see who could emerge as a top receiver in the interim.
Top Interim Chargers Receivers
Josh Palmer was ‘The Guy‘ in this game. Brandon Staley even gave him one of the two game balls to prove it. Palmer was looking explosive and made a lot of great catches for double-digit yardage in addition to making the catch to get them back into field goal range to seal the win.
Palmer wasn’t perfect. There was a pass that bounced off his hands in the third quarter and was intercepted by Richie Grant but that was his only major mistake. He had 106 receiving yards, the team’s most receiving targets at nine, and tied with DeAndre Carter for the most first downs of the receiving group at five. Despite not scoring a touchdown, Palmer made the impact that was needed and got the job done.
This type of performance has been brewing within Palmer since he scored his first touchdown during the Chiefs game in Week 2. There has been evidence of improvement going back to the preseason game against Dallas. He made deep catches and added a wicked spin move for extra yardage. After the game during his press conferences, he made it clear how hard he had trained during the offseason. But with Allen and Williams in the picture, he has never had the chance to shine that bright.
Brandon Staley said during the summer how Palmer’s become a gym rat and that he was really working to become that complete receiver who can line up anywhere, and during this game that really showed. This performance should help to get him more touches even once Williams and Allen come back. This would really help balance out the workload between the two.
I’ve been singing the praises of DeAndre Carter since the summer. There wasn’t preseason game that went by where I wasn’t saying how great he played. Though not as productive as Palmer during this game, he still had 53 receiving yards and six targets. He also had a beautiful 23 yard gain as he ran into the middle of the field, turned for the catch, and once completed took off, slipping coverage at the point where he caught the pass.
It seemed a little like something Allen would do and considering he did say this summer that he’s been trying to do some of Allen’s moves for a while now, and they also have been training together and actually have the same receiver coach during the offseason. Maybe some of that Allen-ness has firmly seeped in.
Carter has only had one touchdown this season. It came in the first game against the Raiders but it’s certainly not for lack of trying. I feel like most of the notes that I have on Carter are that he couldn’t quite make it to the end zone or just missed the catch. He’s always there but just hasn’t always been able to seal the deal.
I have no doubt though that we’re going to see another Carter touchdown this season. He just has too much grit and too much skill for us not to. I’m also waiting for the day that he breaks through for that special teams touchdown as he did with the Commanders last year. I feel like that’s coming soon too.
I couldn’t leave Michael Bandy out of this article as I was firmly planted on the ‘Bandy Train’ since the training camp. Early in the preseason, I was regularly writing about a Bandy touchdown or an amazing catch he made. He made it clear that he was going to have a big role on this team.
Then came the last preseason game and he was a little quieter and it became harder to think that he wouldn’t get overshadowed by some of the other more explosive secondary receivers and he did.
It’s been great to see him utilized more in the season though. Despite only 26 receiving yards in this game, he had seven targets and didn’t have any drops or interceptions.
He has the speed and skill to move the chains and though he may not get as much attention or targets as Palmer and Carter will in the interim, his contributions will still be valuable and if either Carter or Palmer can’t play, he’ll be a great next option.