LOS ANGELES, CA- Chargers Take a W in First Round of Playoffs 23-17
The Chargers advance to the divisional round beating the Ravens 23-17. LA played amazing on all sides of the ball Sunday. With Rivers playing to the Ravens weaknesses and not putting up big numbers, I was impressed with his performance. Same goes for the running backs and recievers not putting up glamours numbers but enough to surpass the Ravens D. Speaking of defense the Chargers forced a lot of turnovers and got the stops needed to seal the win. I can’t forget Special Teams also put in work to help this Chargers team win.
Philip Rivers finished the game 22/32 160 0 TD and 0 INT. To be honest with you I’m completely fine with that and I’ll tell you why. The first time the Chargers faced the Ravens Rivers threw two INT one on the first play of the game. The second time around he had a lot more check downs and short completions rather to long bombs the Chargers are used to. The leading receiver was Mike Williams with 2 catches and 42 yards. He also had the longest pass for the Chargers which was only 28 yards. Rivers almost had a passing TD to FB Derek Watt but was ruled at the 1-yard line because the ball didn’t cross the plane. Rivers is now 4-0 in wild card playoff games.
Melvin Gordon and company ran for 89 yards including 15 yards from your one and only Philip Rivers. Gordon had majority of the carries with 17 and rushed for 40 and 1 TD. With a scary hit that sidelined in for a few plays but hopped back in the game getting a TD from 1-yard out later in the game. Ekeler had some reps showing some spark in the back field rushing for 29 yards on 11 carries.
The defense is what impressed me the most out of this whole game. Causing 3 fumbles in the first 8 offensive snaps of the Ravens, one of them being recovered by the Chargers Special Team Pro-Bowler S Adrian Phillips. Phillips also had 3 pass deflections and an INT that turned into 3 points. The Chargers held the Ravens out of their territory until 10:26 in the third quarter. Also held the Ravens to 69 total yards which is the fewest allowed in playoff history. With so many injuries at DT and MLB the Charger utilized their S at Nickelback/ LB position and DE at DT position. With these moves the Chargers got 7 sacks, 1 INT and 4 forced fumbles. The last fumble forced by rookie Uchenna Nwosu coming in the potential game winning drive to seal the deal for the Chargers.
Special Teams in the past have been a mess least to say but 2018-2019 season it's different. With a Michael Badgley making 5/5 FG’s, which is an Chargers playoff record, the Chargers are safe to say he’s the right guy. Also Desmond King being a spark almost returning a kickoff for a TD going 72-yards. Desmond King made 1st Team All-Pro for DB but also made 2nd Team All-Pro as a Special Teams Returner.
Overall the Charger came to Baltimore handled business and ready to face New England to face Tom Brady for the first time in the playoffs since 2007. With a 7-1 record on the road coming into the matchup vs the Ravens (Chargers record) I have complete convinced that the Chargers have a real shot to upset the Pats in New England. It's a tough road to the playoffs but nothing comes easy and with the heart and determination of this Los Angeles team the sky's the limit. GO BOLTS!