The Chargers The offense was electric, but the defense was shockingly poor 41:38 loss to the Detroit Lions on Sunday. Los Angeles Times Chargers beat author Jeff Miller and NFL columnist Sam Farmer Discuss what happened and what your prospects are:
How would you describe Jared Goff Does he look like a different quarterback than the one who led the Rams to the Super Bowl?
Farmer: He’s obviously more experienced, has more offensive weapons and may run a little less. That version of Goff was good too, though, and it’s too easy to judge him based on his three-point performance in the Super Bowl. He’s had some great games this season – wins over Kansas City and Minnesota come to mind, along with crucial runs against Seattle and Dallas. He was and is a talented player who plays in the top half of quarterbacks. Everything is falling into place for him this season and he is in the middle of the MVP conversation.
Müller: Isn’t that how he plays every game? Or is it just every decent opposing quarterback playing like that every game against the Chargers? I wish I was kidding, but this is the same defense that made Ryan Tannehill look like a more efficient Tom Brady in a Week 2 loss. I didn’t see as much of Goff as Sam did, but he looked like a great QB on Sunday.
The Chargers went deep on their wide receiver depth chart but couldn’t get it done Jalen Guyton a big surprise with four catches for 41 yards and a touchdown? It came back last week but was barely used. Otherwise he hadn’t been there for a while.
Farmer: Not a huge surprise, but a welcome one. Guyton is the type of threat the Chargers need with Mike Williams out and Keenan Allen starting against the Lions. The chemistry between Justin Herbert and Guyton was there a few seasons ago and they still had some big games left, so this isn’t really coming out of the blue.
Müller: Guyton and rookie Quentin Johnston both scored touchdowns on Sunday and do a good job of capturing where the depth of this team’s wide receivers currently lies. When Keenan Allen (shoulder) was out against the Lions – and tight end Gerald Everett (back) was also out – Justin Herbert had to go deep. This is probably about as much single-game production as the Chargers can expect from Guyton. They need more for Johnston.
The Chargers’ defense certainly doesn’t look good enough to compete for the big game, but Five of the Chargers’ next eight games are winnable. Do you think 9-8 would secure a spot in the AFC playoffs?
Farmer: Probably not. With the Raiders’ win on Sunday night, the Chargers fell to 13th place in the AFC playoff race. Chances are the Chargers will jump out to a 6-2 lead in the second half and need 10 wins to keep up, and even then they’ll need help on the tiebreakers to sneak in. This means they no longer have any room for error.
Müller: I agree with Sam on this. The AFC is far too close – seven teams currently have four or five wins – to expect nine wins to be enough. I don’t expect the Chargers to beat Baltimore at SoFi Stadium in two weeks, even though the Ravens blew their home game against Cleveland on Sunday. That means they could probably lose just one more game and still have a shot at the postseason.
The Packers had trouble scoring in Green Bay against the Rams, who had no quarterback and had more trouble, losing 20-3. What would be the Chargers’ concerns about the Packers, who haven’t had a consistent offense this season?
Farmer: Green Bay is bad. The Packers have lost five of six games and there isn’t much about them that scares anyone. But the Chargers’ worst enemy is themselves. They are simply unreliable and have no killer instinct. Since drafting Herbert, they have lost 13 games decided by a field goal or less. Not only is this the worst thing in the NFL at this stretch, it’s also a truly troubling trend.
Müller: Well, we know the Chargers can beat teams with bad offenses and weaker quarterbacks, so that seems encouraging. The Chargers entered as three-point favorites against the Packers, who haven’t scored more than 20 points in a game since Week 2. But who can be sure about this team? One certainty seems to be that a loss in Green Bay would be devastating.