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The Chargers Defensive Line: Week 10

The Los Angeles Chargers earned a stunning 26-11 upset over the resurgent Green Bay Packers on Sunday. Their defensive line held the Packers respectable running game to a paltry 45 yards. Their dominant passing attack was rendered useless as Aaron Rodgers was constantly flustered, being sacked three times, and was held to just 161 yard through the air and one touchdown. The Chargers defensive line must continue this dominance if they hope to defeat the Oakland Raiders on Thursday night.

Review Vs The Packers

The Good

On the Packers first drive of the game, they faced 3rd-and-8 from their own 27-yard line. Joey Bosa made a rip move on David Bakhtiari and sacked Rodgers to end the drive.

Early in the second quarter, the Packers faced 3rd-and-10 from their own 42-yard line. This time it was Melvin Ingram who sacked Rodgers to end the drive.

In the middle of the third quarter, the Packers faced 2nd-and-10 from their own 25-yard line. Rodgers was pressured by Bosa and stepped up in the pocket where Ingram was eagerly waiting for the sack.

The Bad

Late in the third quarter, the Packers faced 2nd-and-3 from the Chargers 36-yard line. The Chargers were fooled by the Packers screen pass and Jamaal Williams ran for the first down.

A few plays later the Packers faced 3rd-and-13 deep in Chargers territory. The Packers offensive line did an excellent job of forming a pocket around Rodgers. No Charger defender was within five-yard of him as he threw an incomplete pass.

In the middle of the fourth quarter, the Packers faced 1st-and-Goal from the Chargers 10-yard line. The Chargers defensive line chased Rodgers out of the pocket but the future Hall of Famers is even more accurate on the run at times. He threw a touchdown pass to close the gap to 26-9.

On the following play, the Packers elected to go for two points. Rodgers couldn’t find anyone open and rushed up the middle for two points.

Preview Vs The Raiders

The Raiders offense has not been overly dominant this year but it has been consistent. They rarely turn the ball over and can get first downs with an effective run game. They made noticeable improvements to their offensive line over the offseason.

Left tackle Kolton Miller has started every game since being drafted in 2018. At 6’9” 328 lbs, he is one of the largest linemen the Chargers have faced all year.

Richie Incognito lines up at left guard and he brings the veteran presence all offensive lines crave. Since being drafted by the St. Louis Rams in 2005 he has been invited to four Pro Bowls. He is an excellent size for a guard, standing 6’3” and weighing 325 lbs.

Center Rodney Hudson has been a steady presence for the Raiders since 2015. He was invited to Pro Bowls following the 2016 and 2017 seasons. He is the perfect size for a center, standing 6’2” and weighing 300 lbs.

Right guard Gabe Jackson has been serving the Raiders organization since 2014. He stands 6’3” 335 lbs.

Right tackle Trent Brown was one of the biggest additions to the Raiders offense in the offseason. He is fresh off a Super Bowl victory with the New England Patriots where he led a championship-caliber rushing attack. Standing 6’8” and weighing 380 lbs, it would be surprising if the Raiders don’t run behind him.

Their offseason was filled with a bit of turmoil when they signed and then released All-Pro receiver Antonio Brown. As a result, they have had to rely on their ground attack a bit more than originally anticipated. They rank 28th in the NFL in passing attempts with just 253. However, quarterback Derek Carr has a 71.1% completion rate and has eight yards per pass attempt. They don’t pass much but their pass protection is good enough to win games. They have only allowed nine sacks for the season.

The Raiders are ranked ninth in the NFL with 28.5 rushing attempts per game. They rank seventh in the league with 4.8 yards per rushing attempt. They have the ability to make a big gain on the ground, rushing for 20 or more yards 10 times this year. They do rank in the bottom half of the NFL with four fumbles. The Chargers rank in the upper half of the league with four fumble recoveries. They have also allowed eight rushes of 20 or more yards. If the Chargers hope to win on Thursday, they have to stop the Raiders run game.

Final Thoughts

This game will be decided on the ground. The Raiders can air it out but it is clear that their strength is on the ground. The Chargers have been lethal in their pass rush the past couple of weeks and may have turned a corner after beating the heavily favored Packers. With the Raiders offensive line being sound against the pass rush, this should make for a very interesting matchup between two dominating forces. However, if the Chargers continue their dominance then Thursday will be a long night for Derek Carr and the Raiders.

David Hegler

Author David Hegler

BS in Business Management from Azusa Pacific University. Fanatical 49er fan. Avid fan of all Bay Area sports teams.

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