Once again on Sunday, the Los Angeles Chargers were their own worst enemy, giving up 24 points to the Pittsburgh Steelers before attempting – and failing – to mount a comeback in the fourth quarter. The Chargers now have a record of 2-4 and head into arguably a much tougher period of games. This does not bode well for LA’s playoff hopes.
Much like last week against the Denver Broncos, the Chargers fell behind early in the game and couldn’t recover. In the last two games, the Chargers have been outscored 37-0 and quarterback Philip Rivers has struggled to find targets when forcing the game late on. This week, the Bolts were shut out by the Steelers for three quarters and last week didn’t score a single offensive touchdown. This points to problems of cohesion within the offensive unit as well as possibly a decline in 37-year-old QB Rivers.
The Bolts have now suffered back-to-back losses for the second time this season and one change that seems to have caused a decline in production is the return of want-away running back Melvin Gordon. Gordon’s return to the starting lineup has meant less reps for 2019’s stand-out offensive player Austin Ekeler. He has seen his average rushing and receiving yards per play halved in the last two weeks compared to the first four weeks of the season. Gordon’s return also seems to have affected the overall mood within the team as the Chargers team has been significantly different to the one that started the season, when they were trying to outscore their opponent with confidence and flair. Now the Chargers look nervous and seem to lack ideas when it comes to moving the chains.
Once again, you can’t mention a Chargers game without the high amount of turnovers. The Chargers committed three turnovers on the day including a backwards pass that was dropped by Gordon and was returned for a touchdown, to make the game 7-0 early on. The Chargers must find a way of improving how they handle the ball, otherwise games will continue to get away from them this season.
One positive to take away from the game was the return of star tight end Hunter Henry, who had two touchdown catches late on. Chargers fans will be hoping that Henry and Keenan Allen can be priority targets for Rivers when LA visit the Tennessee Titans next weekend. That game will be hard to predict based on both teams’ inconsistent form, but with star quarterbacks on both teams, it should be an interesting battle at Nissan Stadium.
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