“Chargers–Ugly Win–Lucky Win”
They should have won….could have lost…haven’t proven very much.
The Chargers survived an anemic offensive show. Survived a bad injury on defense. Survived two impressive drives put together by rookie QB-Joe Burrow.
The Bolts beat the lowly Bengals with an unimpressive performance against an NFL doormat, thanks to a costly fumble by Cincinnati RB-Joe Mixon…an errant shovel pass by Burrow killing another drive….and a missed close in field goal by Randy Bullock, who had already kicked 3-three pointers.
When it comes time to configure playoff spots, no one cares how you got the wins, including who you beat. This was a win, but really felt like a loss.
But the Bolts were lucky. Heavy duty running back Joe Mixon killed one drive with a fumble. Rookie QB-Joe Burrow got better and better as the game went on, but a high school shovel pass into traffic resulted in an interception killing a drive.
And a chip shot field goal by Bullock that would have forced overtime, missed wide right, ending a surging Bengals comeback.
The Chargers have found a power running back in UCLA rookie Joshua Kelly who powered for 60-yards off the bench changing the whole personality of a struggling offense.
QB-Tyrod Taylor did not turn the ball over, moved the pocket and scrambled when his OL struggled. But he didn’t really scare anyone running the offense.
But he took 3-wicked hits, and was pressured out of the pocket 10-times in a rather uneven outing by the offensive front. There has to be concern there. Twice Taylor failed on 4th and short runs that ended drives, and this was against a team that was at the bottom of the barrell last year in virtually all stats.
Mike Williams had huge catches. Keenan Allen didn’t do much. Hunter Henry caught a few passes.
But in discovering Kelly’s nut-tough running, this may be as big as the win itself.
On defense, the lead veteran in the secondary Casey Hayward had a bad outing. Burrow completed 8-passes against Hayward.
Joey Bosa had a good first half, but disappeared as the game wore on.
Burrow took 3-sacks in the first half, looked panicked, then showed his moxie and athleticism, not getting touched in the 2nd half. He took 5-hits and was pressured 8-times, but ran for a TD, and led scoring drives late, that should have resulted in a win, not the last second loss.
Coach Anthony Lynn’s team had 5-penalties in a poor opening half. The team had to recover its emotion after what appeared to be a gruesome possible ankle dislocation suffered by last year’s impressive rookie linebacker Dru Tranquille.
Joe Reed, the rookie from Virginia had an impressive 45-yard kickoff return, but the Chargers kick over teams gave up a 35-yard kickoff return and a 19-yard punt return.
A win is a win, but this was against a bad Bengals team, and it was a struggle, and it was almost a loss.
Next week, they get to play in their new home stadium in LA, So-Fi, the house the Rams built.
And next week, Kansas City comes to town with that firepower. Tyrod Taylor better make plays; the defense needs to get better, or this weeks win won’t matter much if they don’t play better against one of the best, the Chiefs.
What the Bolts did, survive this, is better than what happened to the Cowboys-Eagles, Tom Brady and Philip Rivers, I guess, where really good teams got beat.
Ugly win, lucky win against Cincinnati.