Overall Team Grades
My Player of the Game
Overall, this was a great game for the LA Chargers' offense. Throughout the game, Chargers QB Justin Herbert showed excellent playmaking and accuracy. Additionally, Herbert was an effective mobile QB who escaped the pocket to extend the play and avoid pressure. However, it is important to note that Herbert was also assisted by Keenan Allen, Hunter Henry, and Mike Williams. Early on, Allen was a reliable contested catch guy who burned Marcus Lattimore for a TD. Similarly, Williams had his fair share of mosses against Lattimore and came in clutch late in the game.
On the defensive side of the ball, the Chargers unit was effective at limiting the Saints' run game. More specifically, the Chargers front seven was able to manhandle the Saints OL throughout the game. While Saints RB's Latavius Murray, and Alvin Kamara, still broke out of some tackles, this team played pretty well in rush defense. Nevertheless, this defense struggled mightily against the Saints passing attack. Despite numerous poor throws from Drew Brees, defensive backs Rayshawn Jenkins and Brandon Facyson got picked apart multiple times. Furthermore, LBs Kyzir White and Kenneth Murray also allowed big opportunities in the passing game.
Advanced Team Grades
Passing Offense (Overall)
Game Notes on Offense
As mentioned earlier, Justin Herbert was the MVP of this game for the Chargers offense. Throughout this game, Herbert was a proven leader who had the skillset and intangibles to keep the Chargers offense in the game. Furthermore, Herbert accomplished this feat despite a poor performance from his offensive line. Throughout this game, Herbert had the mobility necessary to evade pressure and the poise to stay in the pocket and deliver dimes in traffic.
Although none of those dimes could have been realized if it wasn't for his outstanding receivers. For instance, Hunter Henry was a great safety valve who came through in late down and red zone situations. Likewise, Keenan Allen and Mike Williams were two terrifically talented contested-catch wideouts who consistently shred tight coverage. Plus, Jalen Guyton came through with a nice deep bomb reception against Marcus Lattimore to set up a TD.
The only problematic part of this offense was the offensive line. During this game, the offensive line repeatedly allowed Hebert to get pressured heavily. Unfortunately, this offensive line surrendered four sacks and 24 pressures. Additionally, this offensive line failed to provide Justin Jackson and Joshua Kelley much room. Fortunately, both of these RBs maximized their touches and received some rushing room from the Chargers scheme. As a result, Justin Jackson was especially effective with some explosive runs for 71 yards.
Despite the loss, this offense's skilled positions excelled in last week's game. From the start of the game, Justin Herbert showed flawless connections with his receivers. This connection was best exhibited by the fact the Chargers only dropped two catches throughout the game. Furthermore, Herbert showed the accuracy and mobility necessary to find his wideouts deep down the field for big plays.
Speaking of the Chargers receiving corps, all of this unit's members have shown the ability to shred tight coverage and gain significant separation. Moreover, RBs Joshua Kelley and Justin Jackson have shown the ability to make moves in space in both the receiving and rushing games. This will give Herbert a great receiving corps to excel with. Still, this entire offense will be held back by their porous offensive line.
Controlling the Line of Scrimmage
Game Notes on Defense
Throughout the first half of this game, the Charger's defense was effective at limiting the Saints. In fact, the Saints only had ten points entering the second half. Additionally, the Chargers defensive line did a good job manhandling the Saints offensive line in the run game. As a result, Saints RB Alvin Kamara only ran for 45 yards on the ground. Furthermore, this unit was able to control field position well on most drives due to good tackling and pass rush from their front seven. Plus, safety Nasir Adderly hauled in a terrific interception to set up the Chargers offensive in excellent field position.
However, the Chargers' Achilles heel throughout this game was their inability to stick with Emmanuel Sanders. While Casey Hayward was spectacular in coverage, Facyson struggled throughout the game. Likewise, LBs Kenneth Murray and Kyzir White struggled in coverage, where they allowed multiple big plays. As a result, the Chargers defensive coordinator will need to do a better job emphasizing coverage in practice.
Without Melvin Ingram, the Chargers' defensive line was still effective on both sides of the football. Led by Joey Bosa, this unit was able to harass Drew Brees and Alvin Kamara in the backfield. Their pressure played a role in Brees' inaccuracy throughout the first half of the game. Likewise, Denzel Perryman and Uchenna Nwosu were versatile LBs who excelled last Sunday.
In terms of the Chargers secondary, Nassir Adderley and Casey Hayward were the defense's silver linings. Adderley was snagged an impressive interception to set LA up in good field position, and Hayward was a lockdown corner throughout this entire contest. However, the rest of this secondary was a different story. DBS Desmond King and Rayshawn Jenkins were especially horrible in coverage where Drew Brees caught them slipping repeatedly. Likewise, LBs Kenneth Murray and Kyzir White allowed big plays and a touchdown against Drew Brees and the Saints. Therefore, coverage needs to improve for the Saints.
Special Teams Comments
Michael Badgley missed an extra point and an opportunity to win the game on a 50 yard FG. However punter Ty Long was an effective punter despite being under duress.
Play of the Game
Nasir Addererly INT snag against Drew Brees
Comments on Coaching
As a whole, Anthony Lynn coached an excellent game against the Saints. For instance, he and offensive coordinator Shane Steichen were able to hide their deficiency at an offensive line. As a result, their plays set up their running backs for explosive rushing opportunities in space despite porous run blocking. Likewise, their decision to keep Justin Herbert on the run with bootlegs gave the rookie enough time to find receivers deep for big plays.
On the defensive side of the ball, defensive coordinator Gus Bradley has been effective with his aggressive scheme. For instance, his front seven got into the backfield and rattle Drew Brees with pressure throughout the game. As a result, Joey Bosa, Emeke Egbule, and Uchenna Nwosu all were able to harass Drew Brees throughout the first half. Furthermore, this defense's excellent tackling shows that this a disciplined unit, which can control field position and limit big plays.