The Chargers Defensive Line: Week 16

The Chargers were demolished 39-10 by the Vikings last Sunday. While they were able to limit the Vikings rushing attack to a minimum they were unable to consistently pressure Kirk Cousins. The Chargers must play better this Sunday against the Raiders if they hope to come away with a victory.

Review Vs The Vikings

The Good

Early in the first quarter, the Vikings faced 3rd-and-6 from the Chargers 15-yard line. Melvin Ingram got to Cousins right when the quarterback threw the pass which fluttered harmlessly to the ground in the end zone. Unfortunately, the play was nullified due to a pass interference penalty. The Vikings scored a touchdown on the next play.

On the last play of the first quarter, the Vikings faced 3rd-and-6 from the Chargers 7-yard line. The Chargers’ defensive line put great pressure on Cousins who was forced to throw the ball away to end the quarter. The Vikings would kick a field goal on the following play.

Late in the second quarter, the Vikings faced 2nd-and-5 from the Chargers 29-yard line. Ingram intercepted Cousins to end the drive.

The Bad

Early in the first quarter, the Vikings faced 2nd –and-4 from their own 49-yard line. Cousins ran a bootleg to the right and completed the pass for the first down. No Charger defender was within three yards of him as he completed the pass.

Two plays later, the Vikings faced 2nd-and-6 from the Chargers 24-yard line. The Vikings drew the Chargers defensive line into a screen pass up the middle which was converted to a first down.

Late in the second quarter, the Vikings faced 2nd-and-3 from the Chargers 42-yard line. Running back Dalvin Cook rumbled up the middle for the first down.

Early in the third quarter, the Vikings faced 3rd-and-1 from the Chargers 32-yard line. Cousins kept the ball and ran around the left end to gain 14 yards and the first down.

Early in the fourth quarter, the Vikings faced 2nd-and-7 from their own 40-yard line. Running back Mike Boone ran around the left for the first down.

A few plays later, the Vikings faced 1st-and-Goal from the Chargers 8-yard line. Boone barreled through the middle for the touchdown.

Following a Chargers turnover, the Vikings found themselves in a similar situation a few plays later. This time it was 1st-and-Goal from the 2-yard line. Boone, again, barreled through the middle for the touchdown.

Preview Vs The Raiders

The last time these two teams played, the Chargers defensive line had an up and down game. While they were able to sack Derek Carr three times, they were unable to stop the run when it counted most. Rookie running back Josh Jacobs averaged 4.4 yards per carry and scored the game-winning touchdown. As a result, the Chargers lost a close contest 26-24.

Since then, Jacobs ranks sixth in the NFL with 1,150 rushing yards and averages 4.8 yards per attempt. The Offensive Rookie of the Year front runner has only fumbled once and has rushed for 20 or more yards 10 times. However, the Chargers catch a bit of a break as Jacobs has been ruled out for the contest with an injury.

The Raiders are among the best in the NFL at pass protection. They have only given up 24 sacks all year which ranks as the fifth best in the NFL. The Chargers will have to play their best if they are going to take Carr down.

Final Thoughts

The Chargers have played better against the run in recent weeks but it may not be enough against the Raiders. Recently, the Pro Bowls invitees have been announced and this game will feature three such players in the trenches.

The Chargers have Joey Bosa who is making his second appearance in the Pro Bowl. The Raiders have left tackle Trent Brown and center Rodney Hudson who have led a punishing ground attack.

The Raiders rank 12th in the NFL with 1,697 rushing yards, averaging 4.4 yards per carry. The Chargers have allowed 1,544 yards on the ground, averaging 4.1 yards per carry. With neither team having  much to play for at this point of the season, this game will be a battle of will and determination.

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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