Upon Further Review: Chargers Week 9

November, 4, 2013
11/04/13
8:00
AM ET
LANDOVER, Md. -- An examination of four hot issues from the San Diego Chargers' 30-24 overtime loss to the Washington Redskins.

Can Chargers get to 10 wins? Safety Eric Weddle believes it will take 10 wins to get into the playoffs this season. With the Chargers at 4-4, that means San Diego would have to finish 6-2. The Chargers have not made the playoffs since 2009. If the playoffs were to begin today, San Diego would be on the outside looking in. The Chargers still have five of their last eight games against AFC West opponents, beginning on Sunday against Denver. “Basically we’ve got to get to 10 wins,” said Weddle, who led San Diego with 14 tackles on Sunday. “However that shakes out, that’s the way I think about it. To make things happen and get to where we want to get, we have to get to 10 wins.”

[+] EnlargeKeenan Allen
AP Photo/Alex BrandonKeenan Allen hauled in eight passes for 128 yards and a touchdown in Sunday's loss.
The streak is over: Defensive coordinator John Pagano’s unit held teams out of the end zone for 12 straight quarters. Then the floodgates opened, and San Diego gave up four touchdowns against Washington, all scores on the ground. The Chargers were concerned with Washington’s ability to create big plays, and for good reason. The Redskins finished with eight plays of 20 or more yards against San Diego’s defense. Defensively, the Chargers struggled against the Redskins, and even benched their top cornerback (Derek Cox) in the second half. And it doesn’t get any easier, with Denver’s high-powered offense led by Peyton Manning coming to town on Sunday.

Up-and-down day for Allen: Let’s start with the good: Keenan Allen finished with eight receptions for a team-high 128 yards, including a 16-yard catch for a touchdown. Now the bad: Allen also showed he’s still a rookie, dropping an easy catch for a first down that would have continued a critical drive late in the game, and allowing childhood friend David Amerson to undercut him on an in route for an interception.

“He gave us a chance to be in the game,” quarterback Philip Rivers said. “I know those are two mistakes he would like to have back. It was by no means a perfect ball on the one that was intercepted. He can help on that there, and I’m not going to point the finger at him. He’s giving us a chance and doing a heck of a job. He had a good game.”

Offense sputters: Heading into Sunday’s contest, the Chargers had been one of the best teams in the NFL on third down. But San Diego had trouble in that area against Washington, finishing 3-of-9 (33 percent). And the Chargers’ struggles inside the red zone continued, as they failed to score a touchdown with three chances from a yard out to win the game, settling for a field goal to force overtime. Mike McCoy and offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt need to develop a more reliable goal-line package so San Diego can put teams away late. And it should include the team’s best running back, Ryan Mathews. According to ESPN Stats & Information, the Chargers have scored on 2 of 11 snaps from the 1-yard line this season (18 percent), less than half of the league average in those situations entering Week 9 (49 percent).

Eric D. Williams

ESPN San Diego Chargers reporter

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