Winners And Losers From The Chargers Week 12 Loss To The Broncos
The Chargers‘ week 12 loss to the Broncos had a little bit of it all. This game was a perfectly quintessential showing of every possible issue that could go wrong for the Chargers. They turned the ball over a few times, had tons of costly penalties, couldn’t establish the run, and couldn’t throw the ball deep. Naturally, the run defense got hammered, and Dustin Hopkins even missed a field goal for good measure.
The Broncos weren’t really a lot better offensively but were absolutely allowed to dictate the pace of the football game. They want to play stout defense, run the ball a lot to control the clock, and allow Teddy Bridgewater to manage the game. Making a few third-down throws to keep drives alive. That is exactly what they did all game, and it was exhausting to watch if you’re a Chargers fan because it felt like paddling upstream. You can do it, but it’s going to be slow and long. The Chargers started the season off 4-1 and looked like they were the kings of their division. Since then they’ve gone 2-4 and look like they’re going to be crossing their fingers they can sneak into a wild card spot.
Let’s take a look at the Chargers’ week 12 winners and losers against the Broncos.
It’s kind of a nice warm and fuzzy feeling when you can put three Pro-Bowl caliber guys in your winners’ column. That means even though the team didn’t play well, they played up to their own standards. So the system may not be working, but these guys sure are. Allen was all over the field on Sunday, and back in the winner’s column as a result. He’s been Justin Herbert’s only real consistent playmaker all season. He was once again excellent over the middle of the field, on the outsides, and just generally buzzing around those first two levels creating havoc. 10 targets, 7 catches for 85 yards because Herbert always knows he can rely on Allen on tight windows to keep long third downs alive. Allen did what stars do, and what he does every week. He showed up and made an impact on his team.
The Broncos really didn’t move the ball through the air much, needing to make some substitutions at quarterback through the game because of injury. They did of course pound the football the entire game against the league’s worst run defense. They were not only successful up the middle but what was surprising was the number of outside runs that the Broncos threw at the Chargers. One man on the defensive line that can never be accused of not holding his own, is Bosa. He tallied a sack, five quarterback hurries, forced a fumble, and had three tackles on the day. He did what he always does. Terrorize quarterbacks.
James is proving on a weekly basis that he should be on one of the All-Pro teams, and that continued against the Broncos. He was the best player on both sides of the ball for the Chargers and it wasn’t even close. He clocked in a 91.1 grade for the day, and it’s nice to see him really dominate because it might be a turning point for him for the last third of the season. He had four tackles, five assists, a hit on the quarterback, and of course had the crucial interception of Drew Lock.
The entire offense was in shambles all game. A total mess. The offensive line was not at all good (minus Rashawn Slater and Corey Linsley), as Herbert was sacked three times in the game. Not only that, but he was constantly scrambling for his life. I am going to excuse both of those interceptions, even though they were absolutely back-breaking. He was running away from trouble all day when he threw the first pick. The second bounced off the hands of his own guy, for what should have been an easy catch. The pick-six sealed the game for the Broncos, but Herbert was absolutely doing his share. Austin Ekeler wasn’t able to get established in the run game, despite having the nice output in the air.
The Chargers simply don’t have a run game, and Ekeler has not been an answer between the tackles. That doesn’t mean he can’t do it, it just means it’s not his strong suit. Mike Williams was once again missing on the day, as the Chargers from the beginning just seemed to not even want to take shots down the field. They become so heavily reliant on their short passing game because it’s the focal point of the offense. But they didn’t even try to keep the defense honest in this one. The tight ends who are normally there to help supplant the short passing game by just kind of wiggling out space weren’t even present in this game. Everyone knew what the Chargers wanted to do on offense, and the tight ends were the first thing that fell. For a team that can put up 40 points in a hurry on any given night, they are going to have to work out how to be consistent on a weekly basis.
I don’t want to make this part too long, because we’ve talked about this subject so many times. But it can’t go without discussion, as it was the biggest factor they lost on the day. The Broncos had nearly 150 yards on the ground to go with two touchdowns. Javonte Williams even chipped in with 57 yards receiving from out of the backfield. Running backs cannot be allowed to put up that kind of production almost weekly against the Chargers. Here’s to hoping some changes can be made, as Jerry Tillery was once again terrible this week. Even Bosa missed a few tackles on runners. Across the board though, opponents know they can have whatever they want against the Chargers on the ground. And they’re abusing it.