Los Angeles Chargers: Bolts shined bright during 2017, despite 9-7 finish
The Los Angeles Chargers played fairly well in their first season in Los Angeles. Even though they finished 9-7, the Bolts remained in playoff contention until the very last week of the regular season.
Quarterback Philip Rivers passed for 4,515 yards and 28 touchdowns. Former Wisconsin running back Melvin Gordon played in all 16 games this season and he rushed for 1,105 yards and 8 touchdowns.
Rivers spread the ball around on plenty of occasions. Keenan Allen, Tyrell Williams, Travis Benjamin, Melvin Gordon and Hunter Henry were each targeted at least 63 times. This five-man group caught 22 touchdowns to go along with 3,743 receiving yards.
The Bolts’ defense was 3rd in points allowed as Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram combined for 23 sacks in 2017. Tre Boston and Casey Hayward each had at least four interceptions. The defense struggled versus the run by allowing 131.1 rush yards per game, but it surrendered an average of 197.3 pass yards per game.
The Bolts began the year 0-4 and lost each of those games by an average of 5.25 points.
Then the Bolts made some noise. LA won seven of their next nine games to improve to 7-6. They beat division rivals Oakland and Denver. They later destroyed the Bills 54-24, the Cowboys 28-6 on Thanksgiving and the Redskins 30-13.
LA lost to the Chiefs in Week 15 by a score of 30-13. Still, in playoff contention, the Bolts earned victories over the Jets (14-7) and Raiders (30-10) to end the 2017 season at 9-7.
There’s a lot of upside with this team and Anthony Lynn appears to be the right head coach to lead them to the playoffs next year.
With young players making a name for themselves like Jahleel Addae leading the team in tackles (96 total) and Austin Ekeler becoming a versatile running back, the Bolts aren’t going away anytime soon.
The AFC West may be the Los Angeles Chargers to lose in 2018, but watch out! This LA team might be able to make a run at the Super Bowl. Rivers is still searching for his first Lombardi Trophy, after all.