Winners And Losers From The Chargers Week 13 Win Against The Bengals
Week 13 was another fantastically entertaining game, as the Chargers let the Bengals stay in the game for three-quarters of football. A lot of people on Twitter were grumbling because the Chargers ran out to an early three-score lead. Then the Bengals had a solid drive down the field aided by some busted coverage and a Tee Higgins explosion. Austin Ekeler then promptly did everything he could to fumble the game away, on two plays that weren’t really his fault. The defense was able to get their helmets to the ball twice, and it was a bad day. Next thing you know, the Bengals are going into the end of the half only down by a touchdown and a field goal. Now we’re at a 2 point game going into the fourth quarter, of what would be a 19 point victory. I personally don’t think that the Chargers blew it, I think the Bengals were never really out of it, to begin with. However, then the Bengals started making mistakes of their own, and the game was out of hand. The Bengals fumbled leading to a touchdown, punted, threw a pick, and finally ended all hope with an ugly fourth-down turnover. Let’s take a look at my winners and losers from the Chargers week 13 win against the Bengals.
Watching the young Herbert play football is an absolute delight. He’s like ice cream at the beach on a hot day. You just know it’s always going to hit right. Herbert and the whole team benefitted from a more aggressive playstyle that was similar to what we saw the Chargers run with at the beginning of the season. He was going deep almost immediately from the beginning of the game. When you can effectively achieve the long chunk plays, you cover up for any other holes an offense might have. The offensive line wasn’t great at keeping Herbert upright and allowing Ekeler to find space. With that in mind though, Herbert was still amazing. Herbert showed off his incredible arm strength over and over again. Finding Mike Williams for big plays, even Keenan Allen for that first quick hit touchdown, and of course the huge touchdown to Jalen Guyton in the middle of the second quarter. I’m going to forgive his interception, it was the end of the half basically and he was trying to make a play after getting sacked twice in a row. He almost made that play too, the receiver was open and he got the ball there. His receiver almost seemed to lead the ball into the defender’s hands as he was trying to come down with it. Not something you can predict or duplicate a lot. Herbert is rightfully on his way to being a Pro-Bowler.
Nwosu isn’t a guy we’ve talked about a lot, because he simply wasn’t playing that much before the bye week. He struggled for the first couple of games of the season, but he’s been one of the Chargers’ best defenders the last six weeks. Week 13 felt like a coming-out party for him, fingers crossed. Part of it may have had to do with the fact that Joey Bosa was ruled out of the contest in the second half, and that led to expanded opportunities. Whatever the reason was, he was fantastic to watch. He was flying all over the field, and every time the Chargers made a big play in the box it was Nwosu’s name being called. He forced and recovered a fumble, had two sacks (one that basically sealed the game), four quarterback hurries, and led the team in tackles with seven. It was like watching a man possessed as he flew all over the field. Let’s hope for more as the season rounds out. The Chargers definitely need his contribution.
Another guy we don’t talk about a lot, but who’s sort of been bubbling under the surface all season. If you’re a hardcore fan and watch every snap of Chargers football as I do, you knew Herbert had been gaining trust in him. He kept making long catches for big plays, including the 44-yard ball from Herbert that he came down within the end zone. He almost had a second touchdown, as he was tackled mere inches away from the goal line after another 40+ yard play. It wasn’t a lot of plays, but he provided another option to go deep for Herbert outside of Williams. He also has a play style that’s different from Williams, as Herbert can’t simply tell him to go up and pick it out of the air. He has to beat guys with his speed, and that really adds another dimension to this offense.
The Bengals only really scored three times, so for the most part the Chargers played a good football game. Two of the touchdowns came from the ground. But instead of beating up on the rush defense, which was actually good this week, I want to look at what led to the touchdowns.
It was huge plays down the middle of the field and down the sidelines that even put the Bengals in a position to punch it in. What’s tough about these two players this week specifically, is that they were a part of the turnovers that the Bengals had. But realistically, they weren’t. They just happened to be in the right spot at the right time. Ja’Maar Chase threw a surefire touchdown up into the air which led to the Davis interception. Campbell scooped up an easy score from a fumble that was caused by a fabulous play by Christian Covington. For most of the game though, like all season, these two corners got roasted. They accounted for 144 yards of Joe Burrow’s total 300 on the day. That’s almost HALF of his yardage coming from just two guys. They have been this bad all year, and it’s honestly getting hard to watch them week in and week out. Every single time there’s a way that the opponent could possibly get back into the game, it seems to always be these two who are letting up big plays. I understand that some of it has to do with an injury at the position, but the Chargers simply have to get better production out of these two guys.