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‘The Chargers had a lot of injuries stacked against them last year, which is why by the time they were up against Miami in Week 14, most people were betting against them. The Chargers proved everyone wrong and dominated that game, moving them closer to the playoffs. So will the Chargers win against the Dolphins during their season opener?
How The Chargers Dominated Last Season
The Chargers managed to take away the receiving core of the team, limiting Tyreek Hill to just 81 receiving yards and one receiving touchdown, and Jaylen Waddle to 31 receiving yards and no touchdowns.
Cornerbacks Asante Samuel Jr. and Michael Davis, safety Alohi Gilman, and linebackers Drue Tranquill and Kenneth Murray all had receiver coverage grades in the 70s via PFF. For Samuel, his was at 83.2.
The Chargers attacked Tua Tagovailoa, leading to two sacks and 11 DPRs, which are “total pressures of the passer of any kind.” Because Tagovailoa was so limited, he only had 145 passing yards and one passing touchdown that entire game. By shutting down the quarterback and his fast, powerful receivers, the Chargers were not only able to get a “W,” but this game also reset their defense, giving them the positive momentum they needed to get to the playoffs.
So What About This Season?
Besides the standbys like Tagovailoa, Hill, cornerback Xavien Howard, and Waddle, the Chargers will have some new threats to contend with on the team. Cornerback Jalen Ramsey was signed this off-season and he shows no signs of slowing down, having had career-highs in STOPs (27) and batted passes (two) in 2022 with the Rams. Linebacker David Long was added from Tennessee and had career-highs in 2022 in run defense with a grade of 89%, as well as in quarterback hurries (15), and STOPs (40).
One of the new rookies, cornerback Cam Smith of South Carolina, had two receiving touchdowns and six pass breakups in 2022. Another draft pick, running back Devon Achane of Texas A&M, had career-highs in rushing yards (1,100) and in snaps played (613) in 2022. Achane was also third out of all players at the combine for the 40 yard dash with a time of 4.32 seconds.
With these new additions, the Chargers are certainly in for quite a matchup at the top of the season. Though if they can repeat what they did before, and not let Howard and Ramsey interfere too much with their receivers, the Chargers have a chance to start out the season with a win.