Good opportunity for Chargers to get going on ground vs. Texans

The Chargers fell victim to getting gashed on the ground against the Texans a season ago, as they allowed 189 rushing yards and two touchdowns on 36 carries (5.3 YPC).

As Los Angeles is set to take on Houston this Sunday, this could be the perfect opportunity to get even. The Texans’ rush defense is the worst in the NFL, allowing more than 200 yards per game.

Easier said than done, however.

The Bolts are currently coming off an underwhelming performance in their loss to the Jaguars, where they had 26 rushing yards on a dozen carries (2.2 yards per attempt).

Through three games, the Chargers have 67 rushes for 177 yards and no rushing touchdowns. They are dead-last in the league with 59.0 rushing yards per game.

Austin Ekeler is averaging just 2.5 yards per carry. Sony Michel is averaging 2.9 yards per carry. Joshua Kelley leads the pack with 4.4 yards per carry, but he’s only rushed nine times. Rookie Isaiah Spiller has yet to make his regular season debut.

It’s easy to point fingers at the running backs for the lack of efficiency. While some of that is the case, a big factor is a combination of below-par run-blocking and lack of continuity up front.

Run game coordinator and offensive line coach from the 2021 season, Frank Smith, left to join the Dolphins to take over as their offensive coordinator. To replace Smith, Brendan Nugent was hired to oversee the offensive line alongside Shaun Sarrett.

Matt Feiler has been a disappointment up to this point. Corey Linsley has been out since the halfway point of the Week 2 loss to the Chiefs, so the team had to start Will Clapp. Rookie Zion Johnson and Trey Pipkins have slowly been building chemistry on the right side.

Further, fullback Zander Horvath is a rookie and still learning the details of the system. Tight ends Gerald Everett and Tre’ McKitty have been fine, but the Chargers’ best blocker at the position, Donald Parham, has yet to play this season as he nurses a hamstring issue.

“We have to get the ball running. We have to run the ball,” said Ekeler. “We got to get ourselves more efficient so [Offensive Coordinator] Joe [Lombardi] trusts us running the ball. It comes down to us getting it done.”

While Justin Herbert continues to work his way to total health from his rib injury, he will need a consistent rushing attack to take some of the load off his shoulders. This would be the game to do just that and start building momentum in that department.

Story originally appeared on Chargers Wire