Chargers’ Off Day Leads To Blowout Loss Against Ravens
The Los Angeles Chargers could not overcome their lackadaisical start on Sunday, falling to the Baltimore Ravens 34-6 at M&T Bank Stadium.
The Chargers were unable to gain their footing in this game as Baltimore jumped out to a commanding 17-point lead to start the day. In a game featuring two of the NFL’s best quarterbacks, it was the Ravens’ defense that dictated the pace of play.
On their first five drives, the Chargers’ offense was almost nonexistent, totaling just 85 yards and throwing an interception. Quarterback Justin Herbert was harassed from the opening kickoff and turned in one of the worst performances of his young career. He finished just 22-for-39 passing with 195 yards, a touchdown, and an interception.
Herbert wasn’t the only Chargers player to have an off day. The entire Los Angeles offense struggled throughout the game. The receivers had multiple drops on routine plays, the running game never got going, and the offensive line constantly got beat off the line of scrimmage. The Bolts finished with at least 350 yards of offense in every game entering the week. On Sunday, the Ravens held L.A. to just 208 yards of offense. 208!
The Chargers’ lone offensive highlight came late in the second quarter when Herbert connected with tight end Jared Cook in the back of the endzone. Herbert sent a beautifully placed touch pass over the top of the defense which landed perfectly in Cook’s hands for six points.
The positive outcome was short-lived as the play was quickly overshadowed by a missed extra point attempt by kicker Tristan Vizcaino. Vizcaino pushed the kick wide right for his fifth missed extra point attempt of the year. Since the extra point was moved back in 2015, the record for the most misses in a single season is seven.
Baltimore quarterback Lamar Jackson also had his worst game of the season as he was held to 19-for-27 passing with 167 yards, a touchdown, and two interceptions. Both picks found the hands of linebacker Kyzir White. The Bolts capitalized on the first which led to the Cook touchdown but the second came late during garbage time and ultimately didn’t have a huge impact on the outcome.
The Ravens’ offensive attack revolved around their ability to run the football, which they did at an extremely efficient rate. At the expense of the Chargers’ defense, Baltimore rattled off 187 yards on the ground, averaging nearly 5 yards per carry. Three of the Raven’s four touchdowns came via the run game which the Chargers had no answer for.
Los Angeles entered the weekend with the league’s worst run defense. Head Coach Brandon Staley knew that he would have to get creative if they had any chance at slowing down Baltimore. With starters Justin Jones, Drue Tranquill, and Kenneth Murray sidelined due to injury, Staley decided to move his star pass rusher to defensive tackle.
Superstar EDGE defender Joey Bosa is a versatile as any defender in the league but was quietly held in check by the Raven’s offensive line. He finished with a sack, two quarterback hits, and two tackles for a loss. For every play he made, he had another three where he was completely erased from the play. Credit the Ravens for having a great plan of attack against him. The Chargers need to do a better job of scheming up one on one situations for Bosa going forward.
Despite the unfortunate result, Chargers fans still have a lot to be excited about. The Bolts have not come close to playing their best and most complete football. Still, they own a 4-2 record and have faced four playoff teams from last season, beating three of them. Los Angeles is undefeated in division play with wins over the Kansas City Chiefs and the Las Vegas Raiders and still sits atop the competitive AFC West.
Heading into the bye week, Los Angeles should be getting some important starters back from the Injured Reserve which should undoubtedly help rejuvenate this squad. After the gauntlet they were just forced through, the Chargers will face the fourth easiest schedule to close out the season. The Baltimore game is now in the rearview. It’s time to move forward, get healthy, and fix their mistakes (most importantly run defense).