3 takeaways from Chargers’ 19-16 victory over Broncos

Gavino Borquez
·3 min read

The Chargers defeated the Broncos on Sunday, capturing their third-straight victory.

Here are my takeaways from Los Angeles’ Week 16 win:

Absolute greatness

Quarterback Justin Herbert is having one of the best rookie seasons in NFL history. Herbert is now the holder of the most touchdown passes in a rookie season (28) after passing Baker Mayfield on Sunday.

Herbert also became only the fourth rookie quarterback in league history to throw for 4,000 yards in a single season. He is only the second quarterback to throw for at least 4,000 yards in his first 14 starts. Chiefs’ Patrick Mahomes is the other.

Herbert needs one more against Kansas City this weekend to claim the most notable record — the rookie passing yards record. He needs 340 yards to tie Andrew Luck at 4,374 yards. Facing a secondary that’ll likely be resting their starters, it’s doable.

Herbert’s production and growth as a player has been eye-popping but the thing that stands out is that he is closing out games, as he has led game-winning drives in the fourth quarter or overtime in three consecutive weeks.

That, itself just goes to show that he is going to be in the league for a long time.

Both lines need to be bolstered

The Chargers have a few positions that they need to address this offseason, but the ones that need to be prioritized lie along the offensive and defensive line.

The offensive line allowed a total of 12 quarterback pressures, but seven of them came on the left side (Sam Tevi – 4, Forrest Lamp – 3), both of whom gave up a quarterback hit each. This was all without the Broncos’ best pass rusher, Bradley Chubb.

Tevi, Lamp and center Dan Feeney are all slated to be free agents after this season. I believe Feeney will be back, Tevi and Lamp’s future remains to be seen. Regardless, Los Angeles could afford to take two or three offensive linemen with nine of their draft picks.

Meanwhile, the defensive line, which was already without Joey Bosa (concussion) and Uchenna Nwosu (injured reserve), only had 18 total quarterback pressures, with nose tackle Linval Joseph leading the group with four.

Starters Isaac Rochell and Jerry Tilley only combined for four pressures, indicating that they need to grab an edge defender in the first couple of rounds of the draft, especially when factoring the limited amount of snaps that Nwosu got before getting hurt and the durability concerns of Bosa.

The Chargers could also afford to add more beef because the Broncos ran for 133 yards (4.8 yards per carry) and the lack of push and open holes has been happening on a consistent basis this season.

Seat is still hot

The Chargers won, but that doesn’t necessarily guarantee or should indicate that coach Anthony Lynn is safe. While that marked the team’s third consecutive victory, inside of the product, not the outcome, was still reminiscent of all their other games this season.

Like Los Angeles’ other victories, this was too close for comfort, as the win was only by three points. Rather than taking the lead and holding on to it, L.A. allowed Denver to come back and stir things up when they were up 13-0.

The Bolts caught multiple breaks as the Broncos had a handful of hiccups that could have impacted the outcome of the game such as:

Quarterback Drew Lock not throwing the interception in the red zone in the first quarter. Kicker Brandon McManus not missing his field goal from 37 yards. Wide receiver Jerry Jeudy not having five drops, with at least two of those being potential game-changers and one that was a potential touchdown.

Lynn’s maddening game management and lack of discipline in critical situations could have costed them the game, as detailed here, which makes it hard to believe that the issues will be resolved beyond this season.