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Four Takeaways From The Chargers’ Crucial Week Four Win

After suffering an embarrassing home defeat against the Jaguars, the Los Angeles Chargers bounced back as they outlasted the Houston Texans 34-24.

The Chargers got off to a fast start on both sides of the ball in Houston. After the defense forced an early turnover, the offense quickly capitalized as Justin Herbert connected with Gerald Everett for an 18-yard touchdown pass. The Chargers continued to dominate the first half, heading into halftime with a 27-7 lead and everything seemed to be going their way.

However, in typical Chargers fashion, the 20-point lead quickly shrunk to three as the Texans scored 17 unanswered points to begin the second half. The offense needed to respond and that’s exactly what they did. Justin Herbert and co. put together a 12-play, 84-yard touchdown drive to seal the victory and avenge last year’s Week 16 defeat. Here are four takeaways from the Week Four win:

1. Welcome Back, Chargers Running Back Austin Ekeler

After scoring 20 touchdowns in 2021, Ekeler was expected to be a touchdown magnet from the get-go in 2022. However, he went scoreless to start the season and his impact was limited throughout the first three games. Week Four offered him an opportunity to change that against the league’s worst rush defense and he took full advantage of that.

Ekeler ran for 60 yards and two touchdowns on 13 carries while also corralling six receptions for 49 yards and a receiving touchdown. The offense needed a big game from the star running back, especially with the absence of Keenan Allen, and he more than delivered.

2. Chargers QB Looks Healthy

Justin Herbert didn’t have his best game in Week Three after fracturing his rib cartilage in Week Two’s defeat against the Kansas City Chiefs. While he did throw for 297 yards and a touchdown, he also had two turnovers as the Jaguars demolished the Chargers 38-10. Herbert continued to play through the pain, but the injury seemed to have affected him all game long, more physically but also mentally. Thankfully, that wasn’t the case in Week Four.

Herbert picked apart the Texans’ defense as he threw for 340 yards and two touchdowns. The third-year quarterback was at his best when the game got close, leading a 12-play, 84-yard touchdown drive which included two third-down conversions and a fourth-down conversion.

Despite playing two games with fractured rib cartilage and not having his favorite target, Keenan Allen, for three games, Herbert leads the league in passing yards and ranks in the top five in completions, touchdowns, and quarterback rating. The superstar quarterback will continue to play at a high level as his health keeps improving with each passing week.

3. No Bosa, No Problem

Defensive end Joey Bosa suffered a groin tear in Week Three’s defeat and is expected to miss the next eight-ten weeks after undergoing surgery to repair the injury. A group effort will be required from the rest of the defensive line to replace his production and that’s exactly what we saw in Week Four.

Sebastian Joseph-Day, Morgan Fox, and Khalil Mack combined for 13 of the Chargers’ 23 pressures and three of the team’s four sacks, each with one apiece. Jerry Tillery had two pressures and a massive strip sack, which wasn’t recovered by the defense but played a huge role in forcing the Texans to settle for a field goal early in the fourth quarter. Second-year defensive end Chris Rumph also had a pretty good game, generating three pressures and a quarterback hit. The defensive line passed their first test without Bosa, but tougher challenges await them.

4. Chargers Rookie Left Tackle Salyer To The Rescue

Starting left tackle Rashawn Slater, who was named second-team All-Pro as a rookie, suffered an injury against the Jaguars, piling on to the lengthy Chargers injury report. The injury was originally expected to be season-ending, but the team will leave an injury report/to return spot open for him. Nonetheless, a replacement was needed, and the Chargers decided to give the sixth-round rookie, Jamaree Salyer, a chance. Salyer didn’t have many reps at left tackle during training camp but started at the position last season for the Georgia Bulldogs. This raised questions from the media and some of the Chargers’ fanbase. Thankfully, he provided the answer.

Salyer was dominant during his first start, not allowing a single sack, pressure, or hurry all game on 41 pass-blocking snaps. According to Pro Football Focus (PFF), he was the league’s best pass blocker in Week 4, topping the charts with a 90.4 grade. This is while facing Jerry Hughes, whose 35.7% pass rush win rate ranked third in the league heading into this game. A promising debut for the rookie hopefully prepares him for the gauntlet that awaits in Cleveland, superstar defensive end Myles Garrett.


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