We all know over the last several years the AFC West division goes through Kansas City. But is it time for more people to start paying more attention to San Diego? The Chiefs have not looked quite as sharp as they have in the past, so the LA Chargers are looking like they want to strike when they have the chance. They are currently sitting at 6th in the NFL for points scored. They have often been that team that many people overlook and never consider them to be a legitimate threat. The days of LT running amok and Junior Seau wreaking havoc across the NFL of many years past have been long gone, finishing with 8 or less wins in 4 of the last 6 seasons doesn’t bring a whole lot of faith. But as of late, it looks like more teams need to circle this team on the calendar as a high quality matchup to be concerned about.
They have a lot going on this team to give their fans a whole lot of hope. Last season they finished at only 7-9 but there was a lot of budding excitement building for their young 23 yr old QB, they won 4 straight in 2020 to wrap up the season. And this year they are looking to be ready to make the next step, right from the beginning. Justin Herbert has shown great poise with a big arm and great vision on the field. Herbert is 4th in passing yards, with 1576, and has a QB percentage completion rate, at 67.2% along with being 3rd in TD throws. He is passing at a higher level than last year, and last year he played at a high level with a 98.3 QB rating and had a 5.2% TD throw pct. He has been controlling the field with incredible vision, along with the courage to stand in the pocket, facing incoming fronts and shake them off to deliver darts on the field.
They have been able to overcome mistakes with great defensive effort – as they keep teams under their thumb, giving up just 23 /game this year. The Chargers have shown a real nose for playing hard D, and they have shown the ability to generate turnovers. They gave Kansas City and Patrick Mahomes fits when they caused 4 TOs in that game, and showed to have resiliency when behind, they haven’t shrunk when the lights come on.
They have speed on defense with Joey Bosa and Kyler Fackrell who have brought 4.5 sacks and 3 forced fumbles between them. Along with rookie, Asante Samuel Jr. at DB, who has been a nice bonus with 2 picks and 5 passes defended. They haven’t been susceptible to much blown coverage, WRs aren’t finding huge holes on the field, and their outside pass rushers have been really good keeping QBs in the pocket as well. It looks to be all coming together for them.
Then we have Austin Ekeler. He has made the most with his new role as the true RB1 on the team, Ekeler has been exceptional as he follows his blockers when blazing through holes, as his 5.2 YPC is impressive, and having averaged 5 or more yards/carry in 3 of 5 games this year. The 26 yr old RB has 194 receiving yards along with 349 rushing yards so far, they have found their guy in Ekeler. He has a wicked jump cut, with the slick ability to be able to bounce around like a ping pong ball when LBs are closing in on him.
It’s 2021, the Chargers appear that they have turned the corner. It is time to look at them as being potential postseason noisemakers, and place them into the upper level of teams. If you are expecting them to falter and self implode – you may be disappointed. I think Justin Herbert and the LA Chargers have arrived.