Union-Tribune columnist Nick Canepa issues his grades for the Chargers after Sunday's 26-21 victory over Cincinnati.
On a day when seat manufacturers got free advertising at Carson High, Philip Rivers played the NFL’s worst defense. Hot early, he soon found himself slugging through the Carson swamp. Completed his first seven passes before a tip (one of three), but a lot went wrong in this uninspired team performance. A read option? Philip? Two touchdowns vs. these saps?
Running backs: C
Mike Williams had a wonderful sideline catch and then a huge one later. Antonio Gates remains an NFL tight end. Keenan Allen caught a TD, and had a big fourth-quarter catch. Tyrell Williams had his first catch since November.
Offensive line: D
Not their finest 60 minutes after first two series. Mike Pouncey, who is very good, got beat for an early sack. Sam Tevi did not make the honor roll.
Defensive line: C-
Darius Philon had huge sack on two-point try near the end, but pass rush can be found in San Pedro. Joey Bosa, very active, had his fourth sack in four games. Melvin Ingram seems allergic to QBs. The middle misses Corey Liuget and Brandon Mebane. Damion Square got a paw on a pass. Ingram had an inexcusable offside.
An awful performance by most everyone on D, not just these guys. But it is one of The League’s undistinguished, anonymous groups, playing on without MLB Denzel Perryman. Rook Uchenna Nwosu had the sack at the end.
With little help from rush, trouble covering second-teamers. Casey Haywood, a Pro Bowler, not having a Pro Bowl year. Michael Davis made a great tackle on fourth-and-inches. Forgot about John Ross on the goal line (with seven men in coverage). Derwin James, also their best linebacker, keeps making plays (he’s played five positions). Jahleel Addae had a cute hold in the end zone. Adrian Phillips had moments.
Special teams: A-
Capitalizing on Cincy’s ineptitude, Michael “Leg” Badgley tried and converted a 59-yard FG (longest in Judases history) at the break, then three more. Illegal formation on one of Donnie Jones’ best punts, which don’t come often. Desmond King had a dumb fair catch on the 7, then a 35-yard kickoff return. Good coverage.
For luck. J’s finally got a lucky coach in Anthony Lynn, whose team played uninspired ball against a bad team. He got away with another one. Conservative play calling when unnecessary. Incredibly fortunate on a crazy rule interpretation that cost Bengals a TD.
Next opportunity (at Kansas City): F
If the Judases play like they did Sunday, they’ll be with the fishes in the Missouri River. Thursday game. Short rest (but Chiefs had to play five quarters Sunday). In this cattle town, the Judases have played fowl to K.C.’s rib-eye.