Chargers Defeat The Raiders: By The Numbers
The Los Angeles Chargers hosted the Las Vegas Raiders on Monday Night at SoFi Stadium in a highly anticipated divisional matchup. The Chargers went into halftime with a 21-0 lead, and the Raiders attempted to make a comeback, scoring 14 unanswered points. In the fourth quarter, Austin Ekeler and Derwin James put the game on ice with a touchdown from Ekeler and an interception from James.
Justin Herbert played well enough for the Chargers to get the victory, but he overthrew some passes, Keenan Allen had some rare drops, and Mike Williams saw just four targets. Jared Cook and Donald Parham each caught a touchdown pass, and Ekeler added a receiving touchdown on top of his rushing touchdown.
The Chargers’ defense played lights out in the first half, not allowing Derek Carr to get into a rhythm while shutting down Darren Waller. They limited Carr to just 196 passing yards and ended the game with a James interception.
Let’s take a look at other important numbers.
ONE HUNDRED AND SIXTY-EIGHT
That is the number of rushing yards the Chargers had in Week 4. Ekeler led the pack with 15 carries for 117 yards and one touchdown. Larry Rountree followed with 11 carries for 31 yards, Jalen Guyton saw two carries for 20 yards, and Justin Jackson saw three carries for -4 yards. Herbert had a total of four rushing yards on three carries. In total, the Chargers had 34 carries and had possession for thirty-four minutes and forty-two seconds, nearly ten minutes more than the Raiders.
In contrast, the Chargers had 90 rushing yards against the Washington Football Team, 95 rushing yards against the Dallas Cowboys, and 77 rushing yards against the Kansas City Chiefs. This was an obvious improvement, as the Chargers were able to muster 168 rushing yards against the Raiders. This was a good step forward as the Chargers get to host a tougher defense in the Cleveland Browns.
The Chargers’ defense allowed just 13 first downs on 56 total plays. The reason that number is important is that we saw the Chargers play lights out defense, as mentioned earlier, especially in the first half. That type of defense could win the Chargers big games and lead them to playoff victories as well. Since the return of James, the defense has not one, but two leaders on the field, along with defensive-minded head coach, Brandon Staley. Staley evidently outcoached Jon Gruden on Monday night, and it was not only because of the challenge play, and going for it and succeeding on fourth downs, but also because they limited the Raiders to just 14 points.
If the Chargers could come out of the gate the way they did against the Raiders, they will win the majority of games this season. Allowing just 13 first downs is a big deal, especially against an offense like the Raiders, and going into the game, that offense is putting up numbers against the Baltimore Ravens, Pittsburgh Steelers, and Miami Dolphins. The Chargers’ defense will look to build on their momentum against the Browns in Week 4.
That number is the amount of fourth-down conversions the Chargers converted on. They went 2-for-3 on fourth downs against the Raiders, and Staley’s trust in Herbert to deliver in those situations is beneficial; although it was just two conversions, they converted on some big plays. Due to taking the risk on those fourth down plays, the offense was not only able to ice the game, but in the fourth quarter, it led to a touchdown by Ekeler.
If Staley is going for it this early in the season, expect to see more of these often, as well as in the playoffs. Those could be the defining plays in a lot of games this season, as most games have been close, even one-possession victories for the Chargers, similar to last season. The difference this season has been taking risks, succeeding, and now they are 3-1, sitting atop the AFC West and the conference.
They will look to defeat the Browns in Week 5 and improve to 4-1.