With Week 6 of the NFL season in the books, the Los Angeles Chargers finally reached their bye week. With no game to play in Week 7, the Chargers can finally get their hard-earned rest. However, they didn’t do that before an ugly loss to the Baltimore Ravens. But were there any positive takeaways from the blowout? What exactly went wrong against the Ravens? Are there any other explanations for the loss? These are the Chargers’ takeaways from NFL Week 6.
There is very little to say in regards to how the game went. The Chargers lost to the Ravens 34-6 in an ugly blowout. The Ravens completely dominated in all three facets of football: offense, defense, and special teams. The Ravens came out the gate swinging, scoring touchdowns on their first two drives. Meanwhile, the Chargers’ offense could not get any momentum, punting on their first three drives and turning the ball over on downs for their fourth. One thing to note about this game is that the Ravens special teams unit played very well, forcing the Chargers to start many of their drives deep in their own territory. Meanwhile, the Ravens defense did an impeccable job at shutting down almost every Chargers’ drive. The Chargers were clearly outmatched on Sunday, but there are some possible factors that will be addressed later in this article.
Did ANYTHING Go Well?
The Chargers’ Pass Defense
Surprisingly, there actually was something that went somewhat well for the Chargers on Sunday. The Chargers’ pass defense did a solid job in shutting down Ravens star quarterback Lamar Jackson‘s arm. Jackson finished the day with 19/27 passes completed, 167 yards, and a touchdown, with two interceptions. Chargers linebacker Kyzir White seemed to have Jackson’s number, being the one to give Jackson both of his interceptions. Jackson’s passer rating was a measly 68.0, which was actually 0.2 higher than Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert‘s. Unfortunately for the Chargers, Jackson’s arm wasn’t exactly necessary on Sunday, as he and the Ravens’ deep running back core torched the Chargers’ run defense. The Chargers’ defense had 3 sacks and 8 quarterback hits, which shows their quarterback rushing skills were still strong against the Ravens.
What Went Wrong?
The Entire Offense
Aside from the Chargers’ pass defense, the Chargers did not perform up to par in any other aspect of the game. Their pass offense, run offense, run defense, and even special teams unit all played miserably against the Ravens. The Chargers offense were forced to punt five times and turned the ball over on downs three times. Their inability to create any sort of momentum only made it more difficult on the defense, who spent a massive majority of the game on the field. The dichotomy of the times of possession for each team is absolutely staggering. The Chargers had possession of the ball for only 21 minutes and 53 seconds, while the Ravens had possession for a whopping 38 minutes and seven seconds. The difference in possession was a mind-blowing 16 minutes.
The Run Defense
The Chargers’ woes didn’t stop at a measly offensive attack. The Chargers’ run defense did not make the offense’s job any easier, allowing 187 yards on the ground. They really lived up to their current title of the NFL’s worst run defense. The Chargers’ run defense also allowed the Ravens to score three touchdowns, which made Jackson’s passing woes seem completely unimportant.
As if these two issues weren’t enough, Chargers kicker Tristan Vizcaino decided he wanted to join in on the fun. Vizcaino did not get a chance to attempt any field goals (thankfully), but his sole extra point attempt was missed, unsurprisingly. With that miss, Vizcaino is now 10-for-15 on extra points for the season, which comes out to a 67% completion percentage. That percentage is 33rd-best in the league. That means that there is a backup kicker out there that has a higher percentage than him. He is 6-for-7 on field goals, which isn’t terrible, but thankfully it means that the Chargers don’t often attempt field goals.
What Could Have Caused This?
Brandon Staley is Not Infallible
There are a number of different factors that could have accumulated to cause such a blowout. Sure, one could look at this outcome and think “the Ravens are simply a better team”. However, while that could possibly be true, it ignores a plethora of other things that could have gone wrong. For example, the Chargers could have not planned well enough for this game. Chargers head coach Brandon Staley’s has been receiving praise from the media for a while now, but not even he is infallible. He simply could have just schemed for the Ravens in a way that didn’t work out.
Running the Gauntlet
More importantly though, the biggest reason the Chargers blew the game so badly was from simple fatigue. The Chargers have had a brutal schedule so far this season. First, they played a decent Washington Football Team with high aspirations. In Week 2, they played the Dallas Cowboys, who have a lethal running attack along with an MVP candidate in quarterback Dak Prescott. Then, in Week 3, they played the Kansas City Chiefs, who had been to back-to-back Super Bowls and were favorites to make it out of the AFC. In Week 4, the Chargers played the Las Vegas Raiders, who, at the time, were one of the hottest teams in the AFC, sitting at 3-0 after winning some upsets against the Ravens and Pittsburgh Steelers. Lastly, in Week 5, the Chargers played the Cleveland Browns, who have the best running attack in the NFL and deep playoff aspirations.
Facing off against the Ravens after a schedule like that, it’s not surprising that the Chargers would crumble. If anything, it’s more surprising that they didn’t crumble even sooner. When the Chargers played the Browns, they easily could’ve worn down and lost the game with Cleveland’s running attack.
While the loss on Sunday was undoubtedly embarrassing, the Chargers should not be written off so soon. The Chargers have their bye week coming up, so the team can get their well-earned rest. After their bye, the Chargers’ schedule gets somewhat easier, facing the New England Patriots, Philadelphia Eagles, and Minnesota Vikings. This game is most likely just an anomaly game, and if these two teams meet in the playoffs, the Chargers will surely be looking for revenge. These have been the Chargers’ takeaways from NFL Week 6.