Well, I’m still in shock from Sunday’s loss and feel like the Los Angeles Chargers fanbase is right there with me. Looking ahead, here are some things they can do to regroup against a 3-6 Packers team.
5 Things To Watch In Chargers vs Packers
Revive the Pass Rush
The pass rush was an essential part of the Chargers win against the Jets and last Sunday, it fizzled, marking their third-lowest team pass-rushing grade of the season (61.1) according to Pro Football Focus (PFF). There were few sacks, hits, hurries, or pressures, giving Jared Goff enough time to get the ball to his weapons.
Based on PFF, the pass blocking for the Packers is fourth in the league (73.6), so the Chargers will have some work to do, but it’s important they get to Jordan Love and keep him in the pocket.
Love so far has the third most rushing yards (193) of his team, so edge rushers Khalil Mack, Joey Bosa, and Tuli Tuipulotu will have to make sure to contain him. Though Love has been in the league a few years, he’s essentially a rookie as this is his first year starting, and we all know what this pass rush can do to rookie quarterbacks when firing on all cylinders.
Stop the Explosive Plays
This advice applies to the run and the pass. Granted, the Chargers don’t have wide receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown and running backs David Montgomery and Jahmyr Gibbs to contend with, but they should still be on the lookout when it comes to the Packers. Love had a 35-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Jayden Reed in their last game against the Steelers, while AJ Dillon had his longest run of the season (40 yards), so explosive plays can happen any time.
And this past week, the Chargers looked a bit like they did last year with their second-lowest team run defense (50.4) and receiver coverage (41.2) grades of the season. They’ll need to tighten up both areas if they hope to come out victorious.
Continue to Take Pressure Off Justin Herbert
For the first time in a while, Herbert was not sacked. His offensive line wasn’t perfect, but left tackle Rashawn Slater was on point, with no sacks, hits, hurries, or pressures. Austin Ekeler also played a couple more pass-blocking snaps than he normally does, and though he wasn’t amazing, at least it was less for the offensive line to do.
Herbert was also getting off the ball quicker, having his third lowest time to throw on all dropbacks (2.58 seconds) of the season, and made the most big-time throws (five), which are “a pass with excellent ball location and timing, generally thrown further down the field and/or into a tighter window” that he’s made all season. Less pressure for Herbert means more time for him to process and get the ball off, leading to these deep accurate throws.
If Needed, Have It Be The “Allen Show”
I know I said last week that it can’t always be the “Allen Show” and that other receivers like Quentin Johnston and Jalen Guyton need to make their mark, but I’m retracting that statement. Johnston and Guyton certainly made an impact, as both had passing touchdowns this last game. But when Herbert is ON, sometimes Allen just needs to be out there.
Allen had nine first downs against the Lions and was catching pretty much everything Herbert was letting fly. Though the Packers rank 10th according to PFF when it comes to receiver coverage, if Herbert is playing at the level he was against the Lions, nothing seems to get in the way of his connection with Allen. So if he plays like that again, and Allen is able to play, as he sustained a shoulder injury last week, he may end up being Herbert’s primary target again.
Run the Ball
The Packers run defense is not particularly strong as they’ve 14th in the league. Overall, the team had their second-lowest run defense grade (46.7) of the season against the Steelers, who have some excellent running backs. Even though Ekeler has finally gotten some touchdowns, the run game has been struggling. Ekeler and Joshua Kelley will have to find ways to fight through for this next game and the run blocking has to bounce back, and this may be the team that allows them the chance to improve.