Where do Chargers’ offense, defense rank through 1st quarter of 2021 NFL season?

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We are four games into the 2021 regular season, and the Chargers find themselves sitting with a 3-1 record after key victories over division rivals Chiefs and Raiders.

Under Brandon Staley, who is the frontrunner to win Coach of the Year, Los Angeles has been firing on all cylinders in each phase of the game, which has put them in the position they’re currently in.

Before the Bolts start the second quarter of the 17-game slate, let’s take a look at where the offense and defense rank through the first four games.

Offense

When you have a rising star quarterback, a revamped line, and an array of talented skill players, there’s a great chance for offensive success. But when you combine that with a play-caller that has plenty of experience in one of the league’s most proficient systems, lookout.

Since taking over as offensive coordinator, Joe Lombardi has taken all that he learned while being with the Saints and placed it in the hands of Herbert, giving him an array of passing concepts out of heavy personnel groupings and formations.

Lombardi has maximized the talent of wide receiver Mike Williams, who is currently the team’s top pass-catcher, because he’s putting him in favorable positions with his alignments and route trees, giving him plenty of one-on-one opportunities.

The running game has also been an integral piece to the offense. Running back Austin Ekeler’s success hasn’t come outside of the tackles, where he used to thrive in recent seasons, but rather in between the A or B gaps. This goes to show the physical element the new line brings.

The simplicity yet creativity of Lombardi’s play-calling has kept defenses guessing on a weekly basis, but most importantly, it’s has elevated Herbert’s game rather than experiencing a sophomore slump, like many were assuming coming into the season.

  • 391 yards per game (11th)

  • 5.7 yards per play (15th)

  • 107.5 rush yards per game (16th)

  • 4.1 yards per rush (17th)

  • 283.5 passing yards per game (6th)

  • 7.1 yards per pass (16th)

  • 4.07 sacks per play (7th)

  • 49.09% third-down conversions (4th)

  • 23.8 points per game (tied-14th)

  • 55.00% red zone scoring (24th)

Defense

Like the offense, when you have play-makers at all three levels, there’s a great chance for success on defense. But when you couple that with Brandon Staley, the defensive guru, opposing offenses are going to be in for quite the treat.

While the run defense has struggled, Staley’s philosophy revolves around slowing down the pass, particularly the explosive plays. That has come to fruition, as the pass rush and coverage have gelled to neutralize Cowboys’ Dak Prescott, Chiefs’ Patrick Mahomes and Raiders’ Derek Carr.

  • 332 yards per game allowed (9th)

  • 5.5 yards per play allowed (14th)

  • 139.5 rush yards per game (29th)

  • 192.5 pass yards per game (25th)

  • 1.82% INT rate (12th)

  • 1.8 takeaways per game (6th)

  • 6.67% sacks per pass (12th)

  • 2.2 sacks per game (tied-13th)

  • 44.19% on third down (23rd)

  • 72.73% in red zone (25th)

  • 18.5 points per game (7th)