The Los Angeles Chargers can’t seem to get out of their own way on the offensive side of the ball. At least that’s how it has played out through the first half of the 2019 NFL regular season for the Chargers, a team ranked 28th in the league when it comes to rushing the football.
The Chargers have rushed the ball for 556 yards this season. The Chargers’ 17-16 over the Chicago Bears, was yet another lesson in futility when it comes to rushing the football. As a team, Los Angeles rushed the ball for a grand total of 36 yards on 12 carries.
Chargers head coach Anthony Lynn addressed his team’s struggles in the run game during his weekly press conference at the team’s practice facility in Costa Mesa on Monday.
“I wouldn’t say it’s reaching a crisis level,” Lynn said. “I think some of the running game has been we haven’t been in positions to run the football and whenever we do go no-huddle offense, it’s a little harder to run the ball. I think 12 rush attempts — not enough, not enough at all. The running game hasn’t been good by any means, let’s get that straight but that’s the encouraging part. I think that’s something that’s going to get better in this second half of the season. If the rushing attack can come along, I think that’s going to help our team tremendously and I believe it will.”
If not for the No. 6 passing offense, thanks to quarterback Philip Rivers slinging the ball around to Keenan Allen and Hunter Henry, and the rest of the Chargers wide receiving corps, Los Angeles would most most likely be in a more offensive funk than what they are now.
Henry, who has emerged as a top pass-catching threat for Rivers, said the running onus falls on everyone on the offensive side of the ball.
“You know, we’re not being very efficient on first down, especially running it. It gets you behind the sticks,” Henry said. “When you get into second-and-11, it’s like, ‘Gosh, maybe we need to throw a short pass here to get it to a manageable third down or just pick up the first down.’ I think, first down runs we need to be better. If we can start getting five-, six-yard runs, it makes it a little easier and kind of opens up the playbook a little more. I think that kind of comes on all of us — offensive line, tight ends, receivers, too — they have a big role — and then the quarterbacks, and the running backs reading the holes and everything. It falls on all of us.”
With the offense going sluggish as they struggle to move the football on the ground and put points on the board, the Chargers have at least one phase of their team that is clicking well. Believe it or not, the Chargers defense has been playing like they are one of the best units in the league through the team’s first eight games.
While the final indicator of a team’s success is determined by the final outcome of a game, the Chargers (3-5), preparing for the passing onslaught of Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers, has a recipe of success on the defensive side of the ball.
Led by the play of Joey Bosa, who was named as the AFC Defensive Player of the Week after recording seven tackles, four tackles for losses and two sacks in the Chargers’ win against the Bears, Los Angeles can always make a defensive call.
““The dude is a beast,” Henry said of Bosa’s big game. “I mean, yesterday was a day where that guy kind of took over a game and, really, I feel like won a game for us. Not that he hasn’t in the past, but we were all like, ‘Dang.’ When we needed a big play, Joey came through. I’m super glad we have a guy like that and we have him on our team.”
Bosa is a large cog in what the Chargers are doing on the defensive end this season. Despite the team’s offensive woes, Los Angeles boasts of having the No. 6 passing defense and ranks 12th in the league in overall defense. When the moment calls for a big play, the Chargers’ defense usually always step up. Just ask Bears quarterback Mitch Trubisky.
The Chargers came up with a pick of Trubisky and forced the Chicago signal-caller to fumble the football to turn the game into Los Angeles’ favor.
“My defense, they protected every inch,” Lynn said. “That’s kind of their motto and they did a good job of it yesterday. Our red zone defense was outstanding, so I take my hat off to those guys. They prepared well.”