What’s wrong with Chargers’ offense? It’s running on empty

On Sunday night, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers rushed three yards against Kansas City.

Three meters. For the entire game.

Still, they outplayed the Chargers on the ground for the season.

Tampa Bay ranks 31st in the NFL with 261 rushing yards, three more than the league’s worst Chargers.

Offensive coordinator Joe Lombardi said Thursday the game in progress lacked consistency, which he explained could be remedied with better play-calling and better execution of those better play calls.

“I wish it was easy, that you could just point to one thing,” Lombardi said. “But as usual with these things, everyone pulls a little bit harder to get the thing moving in the right direction.”

The chargers bring their best performance to the ground yet. In a 34-24 win in Houston, they ran 81 yards, with over 12 yards remaining player in week 4

And one of those players, Atlanta’s Tyler Allgeier, needed just 10 carries to beat the Chargers with 84 yards.

“We want to see improvements from week to week,” said Austin Ekeler. “That’s next. We only had about 80 yards, which isn’t great. But it’s an upward trend to where we want to be.”

The running pains also eased against the Texans as Ekeler scored two of his three touchdowns on the ground. The Chargers went into action last weekend with zero rushing scores.

Chargers running back Austin Ekeler celebrates his touchdown against the Houston Texans in the second half.

Chargers running back Austin Ekeler had the opportunity to celebrate three touchdowns against the Houston Texans, two of them on runs.

(Eric Christian Smith/Associated Press)

While not exactly prolific, they ran often enough to be a viable threat, helping quarterback Justin Herbert capitalize on play action on a passing attack that amassed 340 yards.

The Chargers’ biggest win in Houston was a 50-yard completion by Herbert against Mike Williams, a game that opened after the Texans’ linebackers were pulled forward by a fake handoff to Ekeler.

“Personally, it was pretty disheartening to just have a two-yard average, get hit in the backfield and not get anything going,” said Ekeler, who finished Sunday with 13 carries for 60 yards. “We’re not where we should be, but we’re going in the right direction now.”

Across the league, 16 players have gained more rushing yards than the Chargers. Her longest run was 20 yards. You know who else has a long 20-yard streak this season? Las Vegas quarterback Derek Carr.

But at least with a few encouraging moments against the Texans, the Chargers go into Week 5 with a better feeling about their quick chances. They play Sunday in Cleveland against a defense that ranks 17th against the run.

Pro Bowl center Corey Linsley said he felt a momentum and belief building during the win over Houston.

“We probably had a bit or two on every series that was like, ‘Hey, let’s talk about this because we can get something here or right there,'” Linsley said. “Just small adjustments you try to make during gameplay.

“What’s going to mean so much for our running game going forward is the fact that there’s a lot of meat left on the bone. We were definitely not satisfied with the final length. But we have to snowball that and take it with us in the coming weeks.”

The Chargers’ most efficient runner to date has been Joshua Kelley, whose 4.2 average per carry is beating the team. But he has just 13 tries to play behind Ekeler and Sony Michel.

Lombardi was asked Thursday if he thinks the Chargers should use Kelley more.

“I think we should,” he said. “I think that’s a good point.”


Wide receiver Keenan Allen (hamstring) has been off practice and likely won’t play on Sunday. … The Chargers added Gerald Everett (hamstring) to their injury report as a limited practice participant. Kicker Dustin Hopkins (quads) and wide receiver Joshua Palmer (ankle) were also limited. With Hopkins’ status in doubt, the Chargers signed kicker Taylor Bertolet to their practice team. Bertolet, 29, played collegiately at Texas A&M. He has played time with five other NFL teams but has never kicked in a game.

https://www.latimes.com/sports/chargers/story/2022-10-06/chargers-offense-nfl-worst-rushing-team What’s wrong with Chargers’ offense? It’s running on empty

Emma Bowman

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