The Los Angeles Chargers lost in heartbreaking fashion on Monday Night Football, for the entire country to see.

It was another squandered lead that dwindled as the game went on and when it came to crunch time Justin Herbert showed up with a strike to Mike Williams to give the Chargers the lead. However, the defense which has been running on 50% most of this season due to injuries couldn’t contain the Saints offense and that was the deciding factor in the game.

Photo: Mike Nowak/Los Angeles Chargers

The Chargers are now sitting at 1-4 going into their bye week, which was moved from Week 10, due to schedule changes league-wide in the NFL after the Patriots vs Broncos had to be moved back to this week from positive COVID-19 cases in the pats facility.

This bye week change has been a blessing in disguise for the Chargers, who have been hampered by injuries for a large part of this first quarter of the season.

The Chargers have had several notable season-ending injuries for All-Pro Safety Derwin James, which happened in training camp a few weeks before the season. Pro Bowler and Captain Mike Pouncey went down for the season with a nagging hip injury. The Chargers young star linebacker Drue Tranquill was lost for the season after a gruesome ankle injury in the Bengals game. That is not to mention the more-minor injuries that have caused dropped production and playing time from some of the Charger’s most important players.

Photo: Mike Nowak/Los Angeles Chargers

Chris Harris, Jr.

Chris went on the IR after week three with a serious foot injury that was expected to sideline him for 4-6 weeks. In his place, Michael Davis and Desmond King have stepped up in his place, but the secondary has struggled the last couple of weeks.

Harris is expected to come off of IR around Week seven or eight, there will likely be more news on his recovery after the bye week. The Chargers are in need of his presence on the field for leadership and his lockdown ability.

Austin Ekeler

Ekeler had to go on IR after a hamstring injury against the Buccaneers in week five. He hyperextended his knee and strained his calf, the diagnosis was a Grade 2 strain, which has a recovery timeline of 4-6 weeks. Muscle injuries similar to this and this serious tend to be a little bit more difficult to predict, however, Ekeler is one of the most athletic and health-driven players on the Chargers roster, if anyone could come back from this injury quickly it would be Austin Ekeler.

Ekeler could be expected back by week 8 at the earliest but likely won’t be ready to go until closer to week 10 or 11.

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Joey Bosa

Bosa is not on the IR and has been playing through a plethora of injures for most of the season. He has been questionable for the last couple of weeks with his tricep injury, a knee injury, and an ankle injury that caused him to be questionable going into the Week 5 matchup vs the Saints.

Bosa was only able to play 37% of the snaps against the Saints due to his injuries and that hurt the Charger when it came down the stretch in overtime.

Bosa has been going through all of that and is still tied for second in the NFL in total pressures with 18, and has 4 sacks on the season. Bosa even told the media this week that the adjusted bye week is really important for him because he is really beat up. Bosa has become the leader of this defense and being the highest-paid defensive player in the NFL he has proven his worth, he should have time to get healthy this week and be back to reining-terror on quarterbacks in Week 7.

Keenan Allen

Allen has quickly become Justin Herbert’s favorite target in the Chargers offense, he is putting up record numbers with Herbert at the helm and that will likely continue. Allen had to exit the MNF after the first quarter due to a back injury, the cause of it was from his touchdown catch in the first quarter which caused him to have back spasms making him unable to return.

This was more of a precaution from the Chargers staff with their bye week being the following week. He should be back in action for Week 7.

Trai Turner and Bryan Bulaga

Turner and Bulaga were key pieces of the Chargers offseason, in order to shore up the line for the quarterback. Unforunetally this season both of these players have only played one full game this season and have struggled with a variety of injuries for most of the year. Second-year Tackle Tray Pipkins III and veteran free agent Ryan Groy have had to step up in place of these two-star lineman being out, and they have struggled and caused a majority of the pressure on Justin Herbert this season. The cascading effect of not having Bulaga and Truner fully-healthy has drastically dropped the rushing efficiency, and also forced Justin Herbert to have to get out of the pocket in order to avoid getting sacked.

There are a lot of injuries on the Chargers at the moment but these two are what will decide this 2020 football season, the Chargers need to build chemistry on the offensive line and that starts with having these two back.

Both have practiced the last couple of weeks, they were not healthy enough to play. They are both questionable for Week 7, but the bye week will hopefully give them time to get healthy.

The Chargers have one of the easiest schedules for the rest of the season, with matchups against the Jaguars, Broncos, Dolphins, and Jets in the coming weeks.
If the Chargers can fix their mistakes late in games and the players above are able to get healthy and stay healthy, this season is very salvageable for the 1-4 Chargers.

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