X-Factors For Chargers Vs. 49ers

Drue Tranquill eyes a tackle against the Cardinals in the 2019 preseason.

X-Factors For Chargers Vs. 49ers

Whether it is pre-season, regular season, or the playoffs, there are going to be specific things that are needed for a team to come out on top. We’ll call these X-factors.

Last week, the Chargers got the win playing the Rams. Among the reasons why they won is because of their steady run game, excellent play from their linebackers, and the quarterbacks keeping a solid command of their offense. With it being pre-season, you won’t have the typical difference-makers like Justin Herbert, Joey Bosa, or Keenan AllenSo with this, there are going to be a variety of things to determine the outcome of this game.

The Los Angeles Chargers are taking on the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday, August 22nd. With that, let’s get into the three X-factors for the game on Sunday.

Offensive Line

For those that have been following the joint practices with the 49ers from Thursday and Friday, a major consensus for one of the main problems in these scrimmages was the lack of protection from their offensive line. While not having a few key pieces, there still needs to be better protection upfront.

We saw countless times last season it didn’t matter the magic that Herbert pulled, if they couldn’t get the run game going or have adequate protection, it would eventually catch up to them and eventually, lose.

Whenever you are dealing with a makeshift offensive line, the center is extremely important in making sure that is everyone is on the same page and the protections are being called correctly. It seems that Scott Quessenberry will be the one that takes over that responsibility for most of the game. It is essential that he starts the game off aggressively and taking command of the offensive line. Especially with it looking like Rashawn Slater will not be suiting up for this game.

As long as the offensive line is on the same page and starts the game off taking command of the line of scrimmage, they will be in good shape.

Keep Trey Lance Contained

Despite not a lot of the starters playing and many of them presumably being out once Lance is in, this is a great opportunity for the Chargers to right some of their wrongs from previous seasons. They really struggled with mobile quarterbacks throughout Gus Bradley’s tenure as defensive coordinator. Whether it was Joe Burrow, who averaged 5.8 yards per carry along with a touchdown in his first career game; or Patrick Mahomes who always seemed to make a timely play with his legs on third downs. Cam Newton had a couple of rushing touchdowns in that forgettable game last season. There are other examples that you can look at during the season but simply put, the Chargers were not good at handling mobile quarterbacks.

Lance has only played 1 game over the past couple of years, the most we have to look at him was from the 2019 college season at North Dakota State. During that season he rushed for exactly 1,100 yards and 14 touchdowns. That is as mobile as you are going to get from a quarterback.

Since this is preseason, you can’t put a lot of stock into how the individual players handle Lance; however, what I will be looking for is how their defensive scheme handles his rushing ability. This is a great test to see if the Chargers are prepared to face the plethora of mobile quarterbacks throughout this upcoming season. We’ll be able to get a solid idea of how they are planning to handle it on Sunday.

Stopping The Run

The San Francisco 49ers offensively are best known for their running game, plain and simple. It is the reason that they made the Super Bowl two seasons ago and it’s what sets up the rest of their offense. They have multiple running backs that can beat you in a variety of ways – including new rookie Trey Sermon. Last week against the Kansas City Chiefs they carried the ball 29 times for 175 yards and a touchdown.

It is crucial to set the tone from the beginning and not let them establish the run. The two players I’m keeping my eye on are Drue Tranquill and Kyzir WhiteAgainst the Rams last week these two were all over the field and making their presence known. It wasn’t just the big plays they were making, it was the energy and intensity. This is something that flows through the rest of the defense and sets the tone for the game.

While it may be pre-season, these X-factors to winning the game are more about the culture that the Chargers have established this offseason. It’ll be exciting to see how everyone plays together and if everyone is on the same page.


Drue Tranquill eyes a tackle against the Cardinals in the 2019 preseason. Via The Athletic