LA Chargers: Bolts lose home opener to Phins, 19-17
In the organization’s first home game since the team decided to move away from San Diego, the LA Chargers lost their opener to the Miami Dolphins, 19-17.
Now that the team is 0-2 in its debut season in the City of Angels, it goes without saying that this isn’t the start that owner Dean Spanos had hoped for from his LA Chargers.
Despite Philip Rivers going 31-for-39 with 331 yards passing and a touchdown, the Chargers were completely inept in the running game and on special teams.
The defense allowed running back Jay Ajayi to march his offense down the field throughout the game, carrying the ball 28 times for 122 yards. Additionally, with Gus Bradley seeing his second game as the new defensive coordinator with the Bolts, that same defense gave quarterback Jay Cutler enough time to throw for 233 yards and a score, completing 24 of his 33 passes in a very efficient manner. Though Chargers defenders Melvin Ingram and Chris McCain notched one sack each, Cutler and company had more than enough time to keep LA’s defense on their heels, especially with cornerback Jason Verrett missing the game with a knee ailment. Starting in place of the oft-injured Verrett was second-year corner Trevor Williams, who though he played with a tremendous amount of effort, he’s no Verrett. The Los Angeles secondary as whole permitted Dolphins wideout Jarvis Landry to haul in 13 receptions for 78 yards on the day.
When addressing the woes of the special teams units, undrafted free-agent kicker Younghoe Koo, who replaced two-year starter Josh Lambo as the club’s kicker, missed two field-goal attempts, including what would have been a game-winning kick in the closing seconds of the contest.
For Koo — who nailed a would-be game-tying field goal in Week 1, only to have the Broncos head coach Vance Joseph use a timeout, and subsequently have his second-chance field goal blocked — this was the second week of his young career where he’s faced major adversity.
*Side note: keep an eye on the Chargers and their kicking situation this week, as one should expect the club to bring in some veterans for tryouts.
Second-year punter and sixth-round draft selection (2016) Drew Kaser had one of his punts blocked, forcing his punting average down to even lower than it would have been. Despite getting a decent bounce/roll, the point remains that having punts blocked is not an ingredient for special-teams success. Kaser averaged 37.3 yards per punt, with three punts landing inside the 20-yard-line.
For the record, I predicted the Chargers would lose the game to the Dolphins by a score of 21-20 on my show “Just the Tip with Booga Peters” on WBLZSPorts.com, which you can listen to here.
The LA Chargers will welcome the 2-0 Kansas City Chiefs to the StubHub Center in Week 3, a game in which the Bolts most definitely need to win. Starting out 0-3 in the AFC West is certainly not the way to get the Chargers back to the playoffs for the first time since the 2014 season.