The 2021 NFL season is officially in full swing! We see Brandon Staley make his Chargers head coaching debut. Derwin James makes his highly anticipated return and more! With that being said let us look at the Good, MEH, and the BAD from the Chargers week 1 football game.
Joey Bosa is a BEAST
This shouldn’t be seen as a surprise, but Joey Bosa is really good at football. Bosa finished with a sack and multiple pressures against the Football Team. Bosa leads the NFL in pass rush win rate after week one. (minus Monday night football, but who’s really a threat there?) Bosa, while having a few sloppy penalties, was his usual game wrecker self and got started early ㅡ having a major impact on the game.
Joe Lombardi’s PlayCalling
As a Chargers fan, seeing the playcalling by Joe Lombardi was a breath of fresh air. The offense actually played to the strengths of their second-year QB, and 6th overall pick, Justin Herbert. Lombardi called a running game that played well enough against a dominant Washington defensive line, and his scheme protected Justin Herbert well on pass plays. Despite this, however, I would expect the Chargers to push the ball vertically in week 2 against the Dallas Cowboys.
Offensive Line Play
The offensive line was dominant all game. Justin Herbert had a clean pocket to operate for most of the game, as the offensive line allowed only 5 pressures on 52 dropbacks against the elite Washington pass rush, led by former second overall pick Chase Young. Rashawn Slater was magnificent in his rookie debut. Even Matt Feiler, who led the team with 3 pressures allowed, was phenomenal as a run blocker. This is a very encouraging sign for the Chargers offense, as no rational analyst could have expected this level of play in week 1.
Closing Out Games
The Chargers are famously known to blow close games such as this one. These are the kinds of games that we would see the Chargers lose with Anthony Lynn as head coach. The Chargers, after trailing 16-13 early in the 3rd quarter, would proceed to shut out the Football Team through the rest of the game. The Chargers offense also maintained an aggressiveness that we were not accustomed to seeing under Lynn. Although it is only week one, this feels like a new era for the Chargers.
Nothing to be overly concerned with yet, but it was definitely noticeable. The Chargers allowed 4.7 yards per carry against Washington. Although when they needed it the most in the second half, the defense came up and made plays. Kyzir White was flying to the ball, and Joey Bosa’s explosive impact was felt. Hopefully, someone outside of Bosa steps up and starts to consistently make plays in the front seven.
Red Zone Execution
The Chargers had plenty of opportunities to put the game out of reach in the first half. The Chargers were up 10-6 and driving, late in the first half, but were forced to kick a field goal from the nine, instead of punching it in for six. One Joey Bosa penalty later, and the Football Team cuts it to four prior to halftime. Justin Herbert also had a pair of turnovers in the red zone, and even if one of them was a questionable call by the referee, red zone turnovers are unacceptable. The Chargers have to be able to finish drives with touchdowns if they want to be a competitive team and contend for a playoff spot.
Overall, the Chargers were impressive in their week one performance. At head coach, what was a weak spot was turned around by Brandon Staley, who did a great job in his head coaching debut. The former porous Chargers offensive line was outstanding against this dominant Washington defensive line, helping Justin Herbert look sharp and despite the red zone woes and questionable run defense, Chargers fans should be excited for the rest of the 2021 season.