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By Bill Seals
Sports Reporter 

The Jets are next after Herbert leads the Chargers past the Bears

 

November 2, 2023

Jevone Moore

Charger linebacker and former UCLA star Eric Kendricks, right, tackles Raiders running back Josh Jacobs during a recent game at SoFi Stadium. The Chargers battle the Chicago Bears on Sunday Night Football at SoFi at 5:20 p.m.

The Los Angeles Chargers used a potent first half offensive performance to end a two-game losing streak and defeat the Chicago Bears, 30-13, in a Sunday Night game at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood last week. Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert completed 21 of 25 passes in the first half, adding three touchdown passes to give the Chargers a 24-7 halftime lead.

The Chargers were never threatened in the second half by the Bears in improving their season record to 3-4. The Bears fell to 2-6 for the season. The Chargers scored touchdowns on their first two offensive drives of the game, with Herbert going a combined 11 for 11 for 120 yards. The first drive culminated with a 39-yard screen pass for a touchdown from Herbert to running back Austin Ekeler. The second drive ended with a nine-yard touchdown pass on a crossing route to wide receiver Semi Fehoko.

For Fehoko, the former Stanford star, it was his first reception as a Charger and his first NFL touchdown reception. Herbert threw a third touchdown pass with four seconds remaining in the half to tight end Donald Parham, who caught the short pass at the five-yard line, broke a tackle and barreled over two other defensive players for an 11-yard touchdown reception.

The Chargers got three long field goals from kicker Cameron Dicker, two in the first half. He also kicked a 53-yard field goal in the third quarter. That completed the scoring for the night for the Chargers. The Chargers wanted to run the football in the second half but could not get anything going on the ground. They were able to get Ekeler involved in the passing attack, where he got seven passes for 94 yards, but on the ground, he gained just 29 yards in 15 rushing attempts.

The Chargers needed to get Herbert going and in order to do that, they had to get Ekeler involved in the passing game. Herbert did not get sacked and one of the reasons was that the ball was coming out of his hands quickly and receivers were getting separation. Chargers head coach Brandon Staley talked about the Importance of getting Ekeler involved early.

"It was a big point of emphasis," Staley said. "He's such a complete player. That's when he's most dangerous, when he's running the football, catching the football in the screen game. To get him going in the screen game, I thought was really big in the game. He's such a weapon for us. He had a lot of time off with that ankle, so you can see that he's getting his rhythm and timing back. We need him to play like that in order for us to have a game like this."

Staley also complimented his franchise quarterback, who had been struggling recently. "I saw really good rhythm and timing. I thought that he was decisive. I just thought that his feet and his eyes were working together and that is when he is at his best. Our guys did a good job of protecting the passer and our receivers, tight ends and backs really did a good job. I thought that he was able to check it down a couple of times and keep drives moving. On third down, I thought that we were pretty good. A big-time performance by him tonight."

Defensively, the Chargers shut down the Bears running attack, which came in as a top five unit. The Chargers held the Bears to 73 rushing yards on 25 carries. Tyson Bagent, a rookie quarterback from Shepherd College, struggled without a running attack to support him, throwing two interceptions. For the second time this season, the Chargers faced a rookie quarterback, and they won both of those games.

The Chargers next game they will travel to MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey to take on the New York Jets in a Monday Night game on November 6th. The game will start at 5:15pm PST and will be televised nationally on both ABC and ESPN. The Jets have a record of 4-3, despite losing quarterback Aaron Rodgers early in the first game of the season.

The Jets have relied on their defense and running attack to beat teams like the Buffalo Bills and the Philadelphia Eagles. Breece Hall is an electric running back, and wide receiver Garrett Wilson is an explosive wide receiver.

Jevone Moore

A key matchup will be the struggling Chargers running attack against the Jets rushing defense, which is allowing 144.9 rushing yards per game, which ranks 31st in the NFL. The Chargers need to get their running game going to help Herbert and the defense. The Jets defense offers an opportunity to get the running attack rolling.

The interesting matchup will be the Jets 31st ranked passing attack against the Chargers NFL worst passing defense. Jets quarterback Zach Wilson has struggled this season, and the Chargers porous pass defense could give him an opportunity to shine. For the Chargers, this is going to be a test. Can their pass defense put together a good performance to get an important win on the road?

 

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