What we learned from the Chargers’ 35-23 loss to the Rams
Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers is sacked by Rams defensive lineman Ndamukong Suh during a third quarter drive on Sept. 23(Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)
Rams receiver Brandin Cooks hauls in a 17-yard pass over Chargers cornerback Casey Hayward Jr., landing at the one-yard line, setting up the Rams’ first touchdown on Sept. 23.(Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)
Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers throws downfield to receiver Mike Williams for a 16-yard gain during the third quarter on Sept. 23.(Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)
Rams quarterback Jared Goff congratulates receiver Brandin Cooks after hooking up for an apparent touchdown pass in the first quarter against the Chargers at the Coliseum.(Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)
Chargers receiver Mike Williams dives into the end zone past Rams safety Lamarcus Joyner for a 20-yard touchdown from quarterback Philip Rivers at the Coliseum.(Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)
Rams running back Todd Gurley is tackled by Chargers defenders Kyzir White, left, and Derwin James at the Coliseum.(Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)
Fans reach for an autograph from Rams receiver Josh Reynolds before a game against the Chargers at the Coliseum.(Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)
Chargers receiver Keenan Allen can’t haul in a potential touchdown pass late in the fourth quarter as Rams safety Lamarcus Joyner defends on Spet. 23.(Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)
Rams receiver Cooper Kupp slips the tackle of Chargers cornerback Trevor Williams for a 53-yard touchdown pass on Sept. 23.(Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)
Rams linebacker Cory Littleton blocks the punt attempt of Chargers punter Drew Kaser, resulting in a Rams touchdown in the second quarter on Sept. 23(Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)
What we learned during the Chargers’ 35-23 loss to the Rams
Not having Joey Bosa is officially an issue
There’s no way of knowing now if Bosa playing Sunday would have altered the outcome of this game. But his presence certainly would have altered Jared Goff’s day in some negative fashion. The Rams quarterback instead was permitted ample time and opportunity to complete 13 of his first 14 passes and 29 of 36 overall. “You can’t give a team like that nothing,” coach Anthony Lynn said. “Their offense is very good. We couldn’t get off the field. We didn’t put enough pressure on the quarterback.” Without Bosa, who is out with a bone bruise in his left foot and not expected back until sometime in October, at the earliest, the Chargers are scrambling to manufacture a pass rush. Lynn promised that he and his defensive staff would find an answer.
Special teams remain a concern
Chargers fans know all about the team’s struggles in this area and another wholly unnecessary remainder arrived at a particularly poor time Sunday. Drew Kaser’s second-quarter punt in the end zone was blocked by the Rams’ Cory Littleton and recovered by teammate Blake Countess for a touchdown. The play put the Rams up 21-6 and came immediately after Derwin James had intercepted Jared Goff in the end zone to thwart a threat. “Our players are our players,” Lynn said. “We can’t go flipping out when they…we’re not making a change there. We just gotta get better. We’re going to do something differently.” Asked for specifics, Lynn said, “That’s what I’m going to talk about with my staff, OK?”
Mike Williams is another young star
With James, the rookie safety, rightly receiving much of the attention so far, Williams displayed his significant skills again Sunday. The second-year wide receiver had two touchdown catches - both brilliant feats of athleticism - and finished with four catches for a team-high 81 yards. “He played big and strong and made some big plays,” quarterback Philip Rivers said. “He’s only going to continue to be more and more of a factor for us.” Williams, who battled injuries much of his rookie season, had his first career touchdown catch in Week 2 at Buffalo.
The Chargers aren’t the Cardinals
Rivers can hold in a pinch
In the 13th season of his Hall of Fame existence, Rivers experienced a career first Sunday. He held on an extra point. Kaser is the Chargers’ regular holder. He was unavailable, however, after leaving the game for a time in the first half because of a leg injury suffered the blocked punt. So Rivers stayed in after Melvin Gordon’s 11-yard touchdown run just before the end of the second quarter. “I’ve got about five or six in the last 20 years,” Rivers joked when asked how often he had practiced holding. Then he was asked the last time he held in an actual game. “1999,” he said. “High school. That’s my second hold of my life.”
Chargers beat writer Jeff Miller and reporter Annie Heilbrunn discuss the Chargers’ 35-23 loss to the Rams at the Los Angeles Coliseum.
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