Chargers Win Again! Await Showdown With Chiefs
Final Score: Los Angeles 30 - Washington 13
December 14, 2017
Tom Telesco, the General Manager of the Los Angeles Chargers, must be beaming these days with the play of his 2017 5th round draft pick from Iowa. Rookie defensive back Desmond King has become the epitome of being a Charger. He is a player, like his team, who is getting better and better every week.
On Sunday at the StubHub Center in Carson, the Chargers crushed the visiting Washington Redskins 30-13, setting up a big division matchup with the Kansas City Chiefs on Saturday.
The victory was the fourth straight for the Chargers. The Chiefs and the Chargers are tied for first place in the AFC West at 7-6. The winner of this game will be a strong favorite to win the division and host a playoff game.
King had another strong performance against the Redskins. He had seven solo tackles and one sack. King is second on the Chargers with 51 solo tackles and leads all NFL defensive backs with four sacks. In the past six games, King has four sacks, thirty solo tackles, a 90-yard interception return for a touchdown against Dallas and 44- yard kickoff return. The kickoff return was the longest of the season for the Chargers.
King is a playmaker, as he was in college when he won the Jim Thorpe Award as the best Defensive Back in the nation. King fell to the 5th round due to his size and a lack of great speed for the cornerback position, but his football instincts are as good as it gets. Coaches and players have been very impressed with King.
Head Coach Anthony Lynn said about King: "When you look at the way Desmond is built, he can tackle. That's one of the things he did well in Iowa. He played the slot a lot. He played in the box and was a good tackler. He has a knack for getting around blocks and getting to the quarterback. He's been that way his whole life."
Charger Quarterback Philip Rivers added: "He's one that, if you ask my dad if he likes number 20, he'd say (he's) a heck of a football player. That's the best way to describe him. He's a blitzer. He plays and is sliding tackles. He recovers. You see him with his personality, the way he plays - he loves to play."
The Chargers dominated this game from the start against the Redskins. They jumped to a 13-0 lead after one quarter, on two field goals from Travis Coons and an eight-yard touchdown pass from Rivers to tight end Hunter Henry. The Chargers had 153 total yards to 27 for the Redskins in the first quarter. The rout was on.
As Redskin Head Coach Jay Gruden said regarding the opening quarter: "They were moving the ball well. They were running the ball, throwing the ball... and did a great job. Hats off to Philip Rivers and the coaching staff over there in Los Angeles."
In the second quarter, the Redskins scored their only offensive touchdown of the day on a nice 23-yard pass on the run from Redskin Quarterback Kirk Cousins to tight end Vernon Davis. The extra point was missed, but the lead had been cut to 13-6.
On the first play following the kickoff, Rivers dropped back and tossed a long pass to wide receiver Tyrell Williams, who was running a deep post pattern. Williams is an undrafted speedster from Western Oregon, another Telesco discovery. Williams easily beat Redskin cornerback Josh Norman on the beautiful pass for a 75-yard touchdown reception.
For the day, Williams had four receptions for 132 yards. Keenan Allen also had six catches for 111 yards, including a 51-yard reception from Rivers in the third quarter. That set up a one-yard touchdown run by running back Melvin Gordon. In addition to his touchdown run, Gordon also gained 78 yards on 22 carries.
Rivers continued to play some of the best football of his long and successful career. Rivers, who celebrated his 36th birthday on Friday, completed 18 of 31 passes for 319 yards and two touchdown passes. For the game, the Chargers had 488 yards in total offense and held the Redskins to just 201 yards in total offense.
The Chargers are beginning to get into juggernaut territory. Their last four opponents have been defeated by a combined 131-53. In the last four games, they have not trailed in any game with the exception of a two-minute period at the end of the first half of the Cleveland Brown game.
Defensively, the Chargers are getting better every game. Over the past three games the Chargers have held their opponents to under 300 yards. Over the past five games, the Chargers have intercepted eleven passes.
The much-maligned Charger run defense has also shown significant improvement. In the past three weeks, the Chargers run defense has given up an average of 77 yards per game on the ground, the third best in the NFL over this period.
Everything is trending in the right direction for the Chargers. Now comes the biggest challenge for this Charger team. The game at Kansas City will likely decide the AFC West division title. With both teams at 7-6, the winner will be up by a game with two games left and both have favorable schedules.
The Chiefs are 2-6 over the past eight games. The Chiefs are ranked 28th in defensive yardage allowed and 6th in total offensive yardage. They have struggled to stop both the run and pass on defense, but have been well balanced on offense.
The Chiefs are going to need to be able to run the football against an improved Charger run defense. It is difficult to throw the ball with success against this Charger pass defense. The Chargers need to avoid the turnovers that beat them the first time against the Chiefs.
This will be like a playoff game for the Chargers. Game time is 5:30 P.M. on Saturday Night on the NFL Network.