Week 14 Tale Of The Tape: Washington Redskins At Los Angeles Chargers
- QuarterbackThere may not be a huge talent gap between the Redskins and Eagles, but one team has learned how to execute properly and avoid mistakes, while the other can’t seem to take advantage of its opportunities. Kirk Cousins is a talented quarterback who will command big money if he reaches the open market during the offseason. He has completed 66.6 percent of his passes and 21 of them have gone for TDs.The Chargers may have started the season with four straight losses, but they have turned things. They sit in a three-way tie with the Chiefs and Raiders for first place and much of that is due to quarterback Philip Rivers’ ability to avoid interceptions. He has just two interceptions in the last five weeks and has thrown for 1,033 yards in the last three weeks with six TDs.
- OffenseInjuries have taken a huge toll on Jay Gruden’s team, and their offensive line has been hurt badly by them. Running back Samaje Perine has stepped into the role of the team’s top ground gainer, while Jamison Crowder is a speedy, big playmaker who can fly down the field. TE Vernon Davis can get open and wall off defenders with his size and strength.The Chargers have a dynamic playmaker out of the backfield in Melvin Gordon, who can get the job done as a runner or a receiver. The key to the Los Angeles offense may be wideout Keenan Allen, who excels at making acrobatic catches and has 12 receptions of 20 yards or more. Hunter Henry is establishing himself as a solid tight end, while Tyrell Williams is a solid complementary receiver.
- DefenseThe Redskins have made several adjustments to their defense to improve their athleticism and speed, but they still rank 19th in yards allowed and have quite a bit of difficult playing consistently for 60 minutes. Ryan Kerrigan is still a dynamic pass rusher who leads the team with 9.0 sacks, while FS D.J. Swearinger has 57 tackles, three interceptions and 10 passes defensed.The Chargers are relying on their speed and athleticism to get the job done on defense, but they have a difficult time holding their own against the run because they lack size and power. The Chargers have one of the best pass rush tandems Joey Bosa (11.5 sacks, four forced fumbles) and Melvin Ingram (8.5 sacks), and they are capable of taking over any game.
- Special TeamsThe Redskins have ranked with the best special teams in the league in years past, but they have fallen quite a bit this season. However, they are far more competent in this area than the Chargers. Nick Rose has made 10-of-11 FG attempts since replacing Dustin Hopkins.It has been a brutal year on special teams for the Chargers, and they easily could have won two more games – and possibly three – if they had been good in this area. Travis Coons made 4-of-5 FG attempts vs. the Browns, but he is the third placekicker employed by the Chargers this season.
The Chargers have rebounded after a brutal start, and if special teams don’t hurt them, they should win here. Rivers has shown he can avoid interceptions, and the Chargers have grown as a result.