The Los Angeles Chargers are on a four-game winning streak. Let’s take a look below at some of the takeaways from their latest win in Week 17 against the Rams.
The Chargers Run Defense Was Not On Point
The Chargers allowed 166 total rushing yards from the Rams. 123 of those rushing yards can be attributed to Cam Akers. Akers was breaking tackles left and right, including during the first quarter for a big run to get a first down, when Kenneth Murray was unable to tackle him at first as he got tangled up with Ja’Sir Taylor, then luckily caught up to finally bring him down.
Malcolm Brown only had 23 of those rushing yards but those yards accounted for a runaway touchdown during the second quarter. Some of these missed opportunities to stop the run reminded me of those games at the start of the season, where opposing teams ran all over the Chargers. I’m hoping this is just a blip for a defense that has come quite far over the last few weeks.
Mike Williams is Magic
Mike Williams had a great game this week with some magical catches, including during the second quarter when he leaped up like a ballet dancer to grab the ball with one hand, while simultaneously getting his feet in bounds. He had another amazing catch during the third quarter when he reached out and caught the ball again with one hand, then bobbled it between his legs and chest to gain control and take it in. He had 94 receiving yards and seven receptions, the highest of the team during this game. Though he didn’t have any touchdowns, it’s hard not to notice when he’s being a mythical creature and making catches that are impossible for most receivers to make.
Kyle Van Noy Has Found His Rhythm
Kyle Van Noy has completely turned things around in the last few weeks. He’s recorded a sack each game since Miami, including a beautiful one this week during the third quarter when he came off the edge and not only strip-sacked Baker Mayfield, but also recovered the ball afterward. Though he only recorded two combined tackles this game, he’s finally making the impact that he was acquired for and it’s refreshing to see.
Morgan Fox Has Found His Home With The Chargers
Daniel Popper of The Athletic wrote this past week, “Morgan Fox has been one of the most valuable free-agent acquisitions in the league. The Chargers signed Fox to a veteran minimum contract in May. He is second on the team with 36 pressures, trailing only Khalil Mack, according to TruMedia. He is also second on the team with 5 1/2 sacks, a half a sack short of his career high, which he set with the Rams and Staley in 2020.”
With the sack on Mayfield, he now has 6.5 sacks, and a total of 11 quarterback hits this season, making both his sack number and quarterback hit number the highest of his career. He tied Sebastian Joseph-Day for the most combined tackles of the game at four. In addition to the sack on Mayfield, he also had some great pressure on him during the second quarter, leading to an intentional grounding penalty.
I wrote a couple of weeks ago that Fox has been solid this year and man, have these last few games proven that, I hope he’s with the Chargers for a long time to come.
No Sacks for Justin Herbert
This game marked the first time in a while that Justin Herbert wasn’t sacked and it was nice to see. Of course, he was pressured but at least he didn’t take multiple painful hits like in the last few games. Herbert was definitely moving more during this game with some play-action and did a couple of pitches to players like Austin Ekeler in an attempt to get the ball off quicker.
The run game was utilized more with the Chargers totaling 192 rushing yards, including a nice 72-yard runaway touchdown for Ekeler. Herbert completed 21 of the 28 passes attempted and actually scored one touchdown in both the third and fourth quarters. Both of those touchdowns were to tight ends Gerald Everett and Donald Parham. It was nice to see Hebert getting some offensive action going, and I’m hoping he can keep up that momentum during the playoffs.
Joey Bosa Is Back
I had to conclude my piece this week mentioning that Joey Bosa is back in action. He was a little quieter during this game and was limited to just 24 snaps and had two solo tackles, both on Akers. Though we didn’t see any sacks from him or crazy pressure on the quarterback, it’s nice knowing that we have the dynamic duo of Khalil Mack and him back together for the playoffs.