The Rams made a splash in the NFL last week by signing free-agent successor Odell Beckham, Jr. shortly after they acquired the eight-time Pro Bowl midfielder Von Miller. The only sound the Chargers made was the ugly and ominous thump when they were defeated by the Minnesota Vikings 27-20 on Sunday.
The Rams, hoping to play Super Bowl LVI at SoFi Stadium in February rather than just host, go for it. The chargers, also referred to as SoFi home, are going to the side after losing three out of four games after their stunning 4-1 start.
Chargers’ early promise fell through. As soon as they fix one problem, another appears that drags them away and prevents them from constantly playing like the team they insist on.
“Where we are, at 5-4, we fight, it seems, every week. We are trying to find this rhythm and time. It’s not there yet, ”said coach Brandon Staley. “We just haven’t achieved it yet, and I think our report reflects this in all three phases. We are trying to find him. And our guys are playing hard, but our game needs to be improved. “
Their attack was no longer in sync on Sunday after quarterback Justin Herbert fired a 75-yard touchdown to open the third quarter and give the Chargers a 17-13 lead. Their running defense was better than at the start of the season, but their pass defense caused a leak and allowed Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins to go 294 yards and land twice. The defense failed to get Minnesota off the field after the Chargers narrowed the Vikings ‘lead to 27-20 with Dustin Hopkins’ 24 yards from the field in 4 minutes 36 seconds in the fourth quarter.
The possession time – 36:15 for Minnesota and 23:45 for the Chargers – was uneven.
“And so it seemed to me,” Staley said. “Today we lost possession time because of how we played offensively, not because of how we played defensively.”
They cannot win that way, and they know it.
“This is not how we want to play,” said defender Linval Joseph. “We just need to figure out ways to hold the ball, control the ball, get passes, do three and outs, get the ball back on our attack, score again and really step on the gas. We just haven’t done it yet.
“Sooner or later it will happen, and when it does, be careful.”
It would be perfect early. They fell from first place in AFC West – the Kansas City Chiefs came in first with their victory over Las Vegas – and the confidence they hoped to flourish after winning Philadelphia 27-24 was undermined by their defeat to Minnesota. which lowered their home record to 2-3.
This is unacceptable, although – as usual – there were more fans of visitors than dedicated Chargers.
“It has more to do with the teams we play with,” Staley said, referring to a home schedule that had Dallas, Las Vegas, Cleveland and New England (4-5) before Minnesota. “We have to do better. The opposing crowd does not play a role in our success. It’s more about chargers and our level of performance. “
More like not doing them, at least on an ongoing basis.
Both teams played a major role in injuries on Sunday, with the Vikings missing a few players on the COVID-19 reserve / roster and four injured defenders. But that’s life in the NFL.
“This is the mentality of the next person,” said Joseph. “And as soon as we can get everyone to be on the same wavelength, we will play the football that we need, and this is what is happening now. Around the league. All the guys are wounded. “
Herbert, whose 195 passing yards was in line with the seasonal low he recorded in the infamous defeat in Baltimore on October 17, has a theory that the Chargers are not doing well on the attack.
“This is the first year of the new attack, when everyone comes together, people from different teams, and the first year is clearly tough. There is no continuity from last year, so you have to learn a whole new attack, a bunch of brand new guys, and I feel like we did a good job together, ”he said.
“Obviously, we will have problems growing, but I feel that guys are showing up and doing their best every day, and we will continue to get better, we will continue to emphasize that. So I think we are where we need to be. “
It feels like the Chargers have reached a turning point in their season. Prime time next Sunday, they will host the Pittsburgh Steelers, who are 4-0-1 with a 1-3 start. Joseph said that he expects practice this week to focus on consistently integrating all stages of the game within each game and from week to week.
They have no choice but to get together and find an effective, efficient rhythm and explosive attack if they want to be the team that looked so promising again in the first five weeks.
“I just know that when things go according to plan, once things line up properly, it will be difficult for us to win,” said Joseph. “As soon as we start playing full games, people will start to respect us completely.”
Respect is earned, not given. First, consistency.