Winners And Losers From The Chargers Week Six Loss To The Ravens
The 4-1 Chargers faced off against the 4-1 Ravens in week 6 in a battle of division leaders. The game started off with a betting line of Baltimore -3, and the red hot Chargers had scored 105 points in their last three games. So then we’ll just have to call what happened in week 6…strange.
The Chargers got dominated in every facet of the game. The scoreboard read 34-6 at the end of the day, and that hardly tells the whole story. The Ravens played a good but not great football game, but the Chargers were worse than we could have imagined. I think this performance hit a new low this season that we haven’t seen and it’s probably an aberration. We have seen the Chargers make mistakes in other wins, so we knew they were not a perfect team but still they didn’t even seem like the same football team.
The Chargers’ offense completely abandoned the run, Herbert was constantly under pressure and oddly inaccurate, and the Ravens’ pass coverage was elite. Constantly not allowing guys to get open, and smothering the ball when it was thrown their way. The run defense came up against one of the best rushing teams in the history of the game, and the Ravens did not disappoint. They carved up the league’s worst run defense to the tune of 187 yards and 3 rushing touchdowns. Yikes.
Lamar Jackson and the passing game weren’t actually all that great in this game, with Jackson throwing two picks. But he was plenty good enough to make sure his team stayed in control of the game. Constantly finding short out routes, and quick slates for 5-7 yards. Then allowing either his running backs, or his own legs to get the first down. It wasn’t easy to find any winners this week, but I did my best. On the other hand, there are plenty of losers on the other end, as blame deserves to be spread around in this end-to-end domination by the Ravens. Let’s take a look at the Chargers week 6 winners and losers.
I can’t deny that it was hard to find a winner this week. But if there was one thing that went right this week, one player that played well despite the performance of the team, it was James. On a day that the offense basically didn’t score (except for that gift by Jackson), and the defense was absolutely blown away, James led the entire team with a PFF grade of 85. He led the entire team with 7 tackles, a tackle assist and forced a fumble. Really his only issue was the touchdown that was clearly his blown assignment that Mark Andrews caught. Besides that though, he was a lot better in coverage than he has been the last few weeks. Keeping the Baltimore pass catchers he was covering to a total of 9 yards. There wasn’t a lot of happy-go-lucky to go around this week, but it’s always slightly comforting when your superstar plays well despite the circumstances.
There are no more excuses, defenses, or reasons for why they are playing this bad. It’s simply either lack of talent, or poor coaching, or both. There are no other answers left. If the Chargers played one of the best rushing attacks in football last week, they surely played the other best rushing attack this week. Everyone who was watching knew that the Ravens would come in and look to establish the run. It almost felt like the Chargers didn’t get the memo that this is a historically good rushing attack.
Truth be told, not one specific player really hurt them that bad. But…you had four players who had 8 carries, three different players scored, and three went for over 50 yards. The Ravens clearly knew that no matter who had the ball, they were going to get it done. It makes sense not to target the Chargers’ excellent secondary, but this almost felt like Coach Staley and staff were caught off guard. I’m not sure what the fix is, but the Chargers are the worst run defense in football, by a wide margin. For a defensive-minded coach, this has to be the only issue on the board. The run defense needs help in a big, big way.
We know that the Chargers are hurt on the line. They just lost Oday Aboushi for the season to an ACL tear. Losing Bryan Bulaga was already a big blow. Now they are dealing with backups on the right side of the line in Storm Norton and Michael Schofield. The pairing, along with the rest of the offensive line struggled against the Ravens aggressive front and Herbert was under a lot of pressure.
Norton has been hot or cold, and that is the nature of starting a developmental project, but he finished with the worst grade on the entire offensive side of the ball with a 49.5 PFF score. The Ravens didn’t hit home on Herbert that much, but the bottom line was you could see how uncomfortable he was all day. He was constantly in a hurry and making inaccurate throws. For the first time since the blowout loss to the Patriots, he looked like a young quarterback. I’m not going to absolve Herbert of all sins, because he did make a number of bad throws. But for a guy who’s essentially been a top 5 quarterback over the last 20 games, there has to be an explanation for why he was so bad. The offensive line needs depth help, and they need it immediately.
The above losers are bigger issues as to why they lost the way they did, but Vizcaino’s play is going to cost them a game at some point. He is a young player, and the Chargers believe in his talent, but at some point that has to turn into positive results in the kicking game. Vizcaino now leads the NFL in missed PAT’s, with five. The record for most missed PAT’s since the NFL moved the kick back is seven. At this rate, he will break that record in early November. The Chargers have plenty of options to add a kicker during the bye, including former Washington kicker Dustin Hopkins. They added some special teams help in the form of Andre Roberts earlier today, and they need to do the same for the kicking game. At a bare minimum, they should bring in other kickers for tryouts. But it is time to move on from Vizcaino.