The Chargers are officially halfway done with their season as they roll into Week nine of the NFL season.
It’s been a bumpy ride, to say the least.

The Chargers sit a 2-5, with their only wins coming against the Cincinnati Bengals and the Jacksonville Jaguars, two teams that are competing for the first overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft.

The Chargers are the first team ever to blow four 16+ point leads in a season, keep in mind that they have only played seven games this season, which makes it even more comical.

Photo: Mike Nowak/Los Angeles Chargers

Offense: B+

The offense has been the best overall unit for the Chargers, but are also responsible for several of the late-game collapses. Rookie Justin Herbert has clearly been the highlight of the season, widely regarded as not NFL ready he was forced to step in Week Two and has never looked back.

Herbert has won Rookie of the Week 5 of the 6 weeks that he has been starting and is the likely favorite to win rookie of the year. Herbert’ chemistry with His reviving core in Keenan Allen, Hunter Henry, and Jaylon Guyton have carried the Charger’s offensive success. Offensive Coordinator Shane Steichen has done a good job this year accommodating the offense for Justin Herbert.

The bad side of the Chargers offense has been the offensive line and the ineffective rushing attack that Anthony Lynn has been attempting to implement this season in the Post-Rivers Era. The offensive line struggles have been caused mostly by injuries to offseason acquisitions Trai Turner and Bryan Bulaga, and waiting on the development of players like Dan Feeney, Forrest Lamp, and Sam Tevi. Once the entire offensive line can play together as a cohesive unit the rushing attack should improve. We saw it last week against the Broncos, the Chargers backfield had 210 rushing yards against the best-run defense in the NFL. That was likely from better-designed runs and having Bryan Bulaga back in the lineup.

If the Chargers can continue to run the ball successfully they will not have to rely as heavily on Justin Herbert and will hopefully start leading to success in the win column.

Photo: Mike Nowak/Los Angeles Chargers

Defense: C-

The Chargers defense was widely regarded as one of the top defenses in the NFL during the offseason. With defensive coordinator Gus Bradley in his 3rd year running the defense, this was projected to be their best defensive unit yet and hopefully lead the Chargers to the playoffs. Then disaster struck a month before the season started when All-Pro Safety Derwin James was lost for the season, after missing a large majority of the 2019 season.

The injuries have racked up when starting Mike Linebacker Drue Tranquill was lost for the season on a gruesome ankle injury, and All-Pro cornerback Chris Harris Jr went on the IR after a foot injury in week three. Joey Bosa has been worth every penny that the Chargers paid him this offseason, after making him the highest-paid defensive player in the NFL. He currently has 4.5 sacks, 8 tackles for a loss, and 24 quarterback pressures.

The biggest issue with the Chargers this year is finishing out games, and that’s something that the defense has to especially do, the defensive unit has gotten off to very hot starts in almost every game this season, accumulating lots of pressure on the quarterback and sacks. However, the defense begins to struggle after halftime where they give up almost all of their points and has led the lead the Chargers hold to disappear and ultimately lose the game.

There are 60 minutes in a football game for a reason, and Gus Bradley is going to have to figure out how to finish games going forward or the Chargers will continue to lose games. 

Special Teams: F

The Charger’s lack of execution on special teams on all facets is a widely known trend amongst the NFL, it has been for several years now. The Chargers rank in the bottom percentile in almost every special team’s success metric.

Just about everything under the sun has gone wrong for the Chargers special teams throughout this season: from poor blocking on punt formation allowing blocked punts, with one being a touchdown recovery, to missed field goals and PATs, and overall, lack of explosive plays in the return game that teams rely on. 

Photo: Mike Nowak/Los Angeles Chargers

While things look bleak for the Chargers outlook on the season, they are still able to largely control their destiny. They have one of the easiest schedules remaining and are waiting on key players like Austin Ekeler, Chris Harris Jr, and Trai Turner to return from injury.

The Chargers will try and break their losing streak in the AFC West again today against the Raiders in an important divisional game.
Joey Bosa will not be able to play this week and the Chargers defense will need to get pressure on Derek Carr to stay competitive.

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