Chargers News: Chargers Fall 24-19 To Bengals In Sloppy Game
Cincinnati Bengals 24, San Diego Chargers 19
Anyone, me included, that thought the San Diego Chargers would carry their second half momentum from their week one win against the Detroit Lions were surely mistaken. The Chargers played a sloppy, mistake-riddled game and somehow still was there at the very end.
It started with the first punt of the game. After the Bolts’ D forced a quick three and out, Keenan Allen muffed the punt that set up the Bengals on the doorstep. A great catch by A.J. Green in the back of the end zone over Brandon Flowers (a sign of things to come) gave the Bengals an early 7-0 lead.
On the Chargers first drive, it was Melvin Gordon doing toting the rock and breaking off some big gains. The first rush of the day went for 26 yards as he finished the day with 88 yards on 16 carries. That drive ended with a Josh Lambo 40-yard field goal, cutting the lead to 7-3.
Chargers’ D came up big again on the next drive as Donald Butler ripped the ball away from Jeremy Hill and swung the momentum greatly in the Chargers’ favor. But alas, this is our Chargers we’re talking about! On third down, Philip Rivers was sacked and fumbled, giving the ball right back to the Bengals. Remember this play and how it was ruled a fumble for later.
Fortunately for the Chargers, that possession led to a missed field goal and gave the ball back to the Bolts. The Chargers drove down 60-yards and set up a 32-yard field goal for Josh Lambo, 7-6 Bengals in the second quarter.
Philip Rivers had a franchise record 20 straight passes completed going into this game. He needed 4 straight completions to tie the NFL record set by Donovan McNabb. He completed his first two in the first drive, but his third down throw to Stevie Johnson was high and fell incomplete ending his streak at 22. Rivers finished the game 21/27 for 241 yards, 2 TD’s, 1 INT and 1 fumble.
The Bengals scored at the end of the second half on a 45-yard bomb from Andy Dalton to Marvin Jones who beat Brandon Flowers in man-to-man coverage. The Chargers trailed at half 14-6.
Chris Hairston had a rough day filling in at right guard for D.J. Fluker. A ton of holding penalties and missed blocks, led to an abysmal day offensively and it wasn’t just Hairston. Chris Watt was getting pushed back almost every play in the middle against a great pass rush.
At the end of the first half, it appeared Andy Dalton had fumbled and the Chargers picked it up and returned in for the TD. The play was reviewed and was ruled that Dalton’s arm was going forward making it an incomplete pass. How was that ANY different from the fumble by Rivers earlier in the game!? They were both fumbles. Dalton was trying to tuck the ball, he was not trying to throw it at all. This could have changed the game, the momentum, the score, the entire game but it wasn’t so. Tough break again for the Chargers.
Yet, the Chargers were still in this game. They received the second half kick and drove down the field capping off the drive with a 10-yard TD pass to Steven Johnson on a WR screen. This TD pass was Philip Rivers‘ 255th of his career, passing the great Dan Fouts on the Chargers’ All-Time TD passing list.
Now, a 14-13 game, the Chargers grabbed momentum again when Jeremy Hill fumbled the pitch, ending Hill’s day after getting benched with the two fumbles. The Bolts couldn’t capitalize after a Josh Lambo missed FG from 47 yards.
Back to the Cincinnati RB’s. The Chargers held Hill to just 39 yards on 10 carries but the front four of the Chargers was consistently getting blown off the line by the Cinci line. Giovani Bernard, the second string running back exploded in the second half, finishing with 123 yards on 20 carries. His 26 yard scamper set up a 9-yard TD pass from Dalton to Tyler Eifert on third down that extended their lead to 24-13.
The Chargers would make it interesting at the end when Rivers found a wide open Malcom Floyd, who got behind the defense, for a 40-yard TD. The two point conversion failed as they tried to run a play-action screen pass to Allen but was defended well by the Cinci D.
The Bolts would get the ball back with about a minute left and no timeouts but Rivers was picked off trying to connect with Floyd again across the middle. Not a smart read by Rivers as there was at least three Bengals in the vicinity. Chargers fall to 1-1.
A couple of things I wish to discuss about this game. One thing on offense was that the Bengals’ corners and linebackers were sitting on every underneath route. Keenan Allen had 15 receptions for 166 yards in week 1 but was held to just two catches for 16 yards. There was nothing happening underneath. Both Keenan Allen and Stevie Johnson are possession receivers who do most of their damage with YAC. But with no receiver to take the top of the defense, their defense just jumped every short route. Malcom Floyd doesn’t strike fear with the deep ball, he’s mostly a jump ball target, especially in the red zone.
I think the Chargers really need a speedster on the outside that could open up the short to intermediate routes for these receivers. The best receivers for the Chargers yesterday was Danny Woodhead because he’s such a mismatch on the linebackers he could make a move and get open, maybe run for 7 or 8 yards after. But that was about it as far moving the ball through the air for the Chargers. That’s just what I was seeing throughout the game.
On defense, the Chargers missed a lot of tackles. Manti Te’o made some great plays and he’s looked good so far but he really needs to finish plays. He’s been in great position but missed tackles are letting the opponents get those extra 3, 4, 5 yards that extend drives, got to wrap up. Also, like I mentioned earlier the front four was getting blown back. Corey Liuget and Darius Philon are by far the best d-lineman, but they can’t do it all. Brandon Flowers just had a bad day, that A.J Green catch was just a great play, he was in good position but he got beat on both the other TD’s. Unless Weddle was supposed to be back on that bomb to Marvin Jones but it looked like he was manned up on the TE underneath.
Just some things I wanted to point out. Lots of mental mistakes, penalties, and things that the Chargers can fix as we move on!
Game ball has to go to the Cincinnati O-line. They were opening up holes for Bernard all day and keeping Dalton upright for most of the game. They did a great job.
San Diego Chargers (1-1) @ Minnesota Vikings (1-1)
Sunday, September 27, 10:00 am PT
Adrian Peterson and Teddy Two-Gloves (Bridgewater) coming off their first victory of the season in a win against the Lions (twinsies!). Adrian Peterson rumbled for 134 yards on the ground and led the team with 58 yards receiving. After the Chargers just gave up 123 yards to Gio Bernard, they better work on wrapping up and filling gaps this week if they want to leave Minnesota with a W.
Nick was born and raised in San Diego where he became a Chargers and Padres fan, attending numerous home games throughout the years with his dad. He then went on to attend college at the University of Arizona. There he earned his degree in marketing and now lives in San Francisco where he dreams of the the sunny beaches of San Diego. Bear Down.