With the first half of the season behind us, we as Chargers’ fans must ask ourselves, what else can go wrong this season? The injury bug has transformed into a full on plague, and no player is safe.
On Tuesday, the San Diego Chargers added three more players to season-ending IR, WR Keenan Allen (lacerated kidney), RB Brandon Oliver (toe), and OLB Tourek Williams (foot). Williams had been out since the preseason.
The biggest blow is obviously missing Keenan Allen. The talented third year pro was having a career year and was 1st in the NLF in receptions (67) and 3rd in yards with 725 yards. He was easily on pace to break the franchise record for receptions (100) and he will be missed in an otherwise dismal season so far.
These moves also came on the heels of the club releasing KR/WR Jacoby Jones after having negative punt return yards and making a bone-headed play during the Ravens game.
The Chargers (2-6) will try to focus their efforts on the visiting Chicago Bears (2-5) for a Monday Night Football showdown. The Chargers have lost four in a row heading into this matchup and three of those losses came on the last play of the game. The Bears have been dealing with some injuries of their own, but look for some new faces on the Bolts to hopefully step up in this one.
When: Monday November 9, 5:30 pm PT
Where: Qualcomm Stadium, San Diego, CA
Betting: Chargers (-4)
The Chargers and Bears have faced each other 11 times in their history, with the Bears holding a slight 6-5 advantage in the series. Out of the 5 victories for the Chargers, 4 of them have come in San Diego and 2 on Monday Night Football (a sign of things to come?). The last time these teams faced
off was in Chicago in 2011, with the Bears taking it 31-20.
I could just copy and paste the part about Philip Rivers in this section every week because he is literally the Chargers offense. He’s leads the NFL in passing attempts (348), completions (243) and yards (2,410). He is now without his top target in Keenan Allen who is done for the year. Look for Stevie Johnson to step up in a bigger role. He has 24 receptions and almost 300 yards on the season but hasn’t seen a lot of targets as he was dealing with injuries.
On the outside Malcom Floyd had a huge day against the Ravens last week. He reeled in 4 catches for 93 yards and 2 TD’s, including a career long 70-yard touch down catch as he got behind the defense. Look for more usage from him, especially on deep balls and in the red zone.
Wide out Javontee Herndon was also called up from the practice squad this week. This will be his first time on the active roster. Look for him to be returning punts and kickoffs now that Jones has been cut and Brandon Oliver is on the IR.
Melvin Gordon should continue getting carries out of the backfield as he got the majority of work last week. Danny Woodhead and possibly, dare I say, Donald Brown will also get carries with Oliver out. I think Woodhead needs to be involved more in the passing game, he was hardly on the field at all in last weeks game.
Nose tackle Ryan Carrethers, who was drafted in the fifth round last year, finally got on the field last week and he played extremely well. He had 7 combined tackles and did a great job taking on blocks to let the linebackers make plays, even Donald Butler had a tackle for loss! I’m hoping this kid gets more playing time because I think he could be really good for the defense.
On the outsides, Jerry Attaochu still leads the team in sacks with 4 and Melvin Ingram is right behind him with 3. Surprisingly, Jay Cutler has only been sacked 9 times this season, so it would be fantastic if the Chargers could get pressure all night to disrupt the Bears’ offense.
DT Damian Square was also added the active roster this week. He’s in his third year out of Alabama and is 6′ 2″ 293 pounds. He could get some looks for a D-line unit that has struggled this year.
Jay Cutler should be hearing the ‘boo birds’ on Monday night as he takes the field for the Bears. The gunslinger has thrown 8 TD’s and 4 picks to go along with 1,400 yards (that’s like one game for Rivers).
He will be missing one of his favorite targets out of the backfield in Matt Forte who went down with a knee injury last week. He will be unavailable for this game, so rookie Jeremy Langford from Michigan State will get the start. It will be Langford’s first NFL start and has 27 carries and 2 TD’s this season.
Cutler will, however, have his wide out Alshon Jeffery. The 6′ 4″ WR missed four games with a hamstring injury, but in just his last two games has caught 18 passes for 263 yards and a pair of touch downs. He’s going to be a nightmare of a matchup for whoever is guarding him, I’ll assume Jason Verrett. I don’t think Verrett will be intimidated in the least bit and be physical at the line to throw off the timing.
Another tough matchup will be covering TE Martellus Bennett. He leads the team with catches (37) and yards (324). He also just needs one yard to join Mike Ditka, Emery Moorehead, and Desmond Clark as the only Bears tight ends to have 2,00 yards receiving.
The Bears defense is led by a young but talented group in the secondary. Second year corner Kyle Fuller exploded onto the scene last season when he had 4 Int’s and 61 tackles, he a play maker in that secondary. The Bears also added Safety Adrian Amos in the draft. The 5th round pick from Penn
State is the #18 ranked safety according to Pro Football Focus.
Up front they have Pernell McPhee, who has 5 sacks and 33 tackles from his DE position. The Chargers Oline will have to make sure they keep him away from Rivers on Monday.
What We’re Watching:
Both of these defenses give up 28 points a game, so I’m expecting a good ol’ fashioned shoot out in the Q for MNF. I’m looking forward to seeing some of the young guys step up with all the injuries the Bolts have had this season. Ryan Carrethers is a force in the middle at NT and I look for him to build off a successful game last week. I hope he can get his first NFL sack and record 7 tackles again.
On offense, it’s the Herndon on the outside and returning kicks. All he has to do is fall forward and he will be more successful than Jacoby Jones. I’m hoping he can make some plays and really make an impact in his first real action.
Can never go with Jay Cutler so I’m saying Chargers 33 – Bears 26.