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The Chargers Defensive Line: Week 14

The Chargers lost to the Broncos 23-20 on Sunday. Before the season began few could have predicted their 4-8 start. While they did better against the Broncos running game they did not record a sack. They must play better against the Jacksonville Jaguars next Sunday if they hope to win.

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Review Vs The Broncos

The Good

In the middle of the second quarter, the Broncos faced 3rd-and-2 from the Chargers 13-yard line. Phillip Lindsay tried to barge through the middle of the line for the first down but the Chargers were relentless and stuffed the run.

In the middle of the third quarter, the Broncos faced 3rd-and-5 from their own 25-yard line. Drew Lock was rushed up the middle by Melvin Ingram and his pass fluttered harmlessly to the ground several yards away from his intended receiver, Noah Fant. Unfortunately, the Chargers were penalized for roughing the punter on the following play and their defense had to spend a few more plays on the field.

A couple of plays later, the Broncos faced 3rd-and-1 from their own 49-yard line. Lindsay tried to run a sweep around the left side of the line but was stopped for a loss by Ingram and Joey Bosa.

The Bad

Early in the first quarter, the Broncos faced 2nd-and-10 from their own 30-yard line. Lock dumped a screen pass to Andrew Beck who then converted the first down.

On the next play, the Broncos decided to throw a misdirection play at the Chargers to confuse their defensive line. It worked and Phillip Lindsay rumbled for the first down.

A few plays later, the Broncos faced 3rd-and-2 from the Chargers 33-yard line. Lock had more than enough time to throw and complete the pass for the first down as the Chargers could not develop a pass rush.

The Ugly

In the middle of the fourth quarter, the Broncos faced 1st-and-10 from their own 45-yard line. Lindsay was immediately enveloped by Bosa but he somehow managed to break free and gain a first down.

Preview Vs The Jaguars

The Jaguars have struggled to find an identity at quarterback all season long. They just recently named rookie Gardner Minshew as their starting quarterback for the rest of the year after having signed veteran free agent Nick Foles in the offseason. The offense has been on a decline since their improbable AFC Championship run two years ago. However, their offensive line can still pave the way for a decent running game which ranks 15th in the NFL with 1,361 yards.

Cam Robinson starts at left tackle. He started every game in 2017 but tore his ACL in the second game of the 2018 season. He is an excellent size for a tackle, standing 6’6” and weighing 320 lbs.

Andrew Norwell lines up at left guard and was a part of the ever-evolving Carolina Panthers offense. He was named first-team All-Pro in 2017 with the Panthers and spent his first year in Jacksonville last year. He stands an intimidating 6’6” 325 lbs.

Brandon Linder has been the Jaguars center since 2016 when Pro Football Focus named him the third-best center in the NFL. He is tall for a center, standing 6’6” and weighing 315 lbs.

A.J. Cann lines up at right guard for the Jaguars and has been with the franchise since 2015. He stands 6’3” and weighs 325 lbs.

Jawaan Taylor starts at right tackle for the Jaguars. The rookie out of Florida stands 6’5” and weighs 312 lbs.

Final Thoughts

The Chargers have struggled against the run all season and this past week they showed their potential against a Pro Bowl running back. They didn’t allow any big gains in critical moments and if it were not for an ill-timed pass interference penalty they stood a good chance of winning the game in overtime. Now they have to focus on stopping Jaguars running back Leonard Fournette who currently resides at seventh in the NFL for rushing yards with 989.

The Chargers main weakness on the ground has been giving up big gains in critical moments of the game. Fournette has rushed for 20 or more yards 10 times this year. The entire Jaguars team has rushed for 20 or more yards 13 times. Fournette is clearly the workhorse of their backfield and if the Chargers hope to come away with a victory they must stop him.

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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