Tale Of The Tape: San Diego Chargers At Washington Redskins
- QuarterbackThe Chargers have been one of the more anonymous teams in the NFL this year, and that’s just the way head coach Mike McCoy likes it. His Chargers have a winning record but the undefeated Chiefs and explosive Broncos get the headlines. Meanwhile, Philip Rivers is putting nearly every pass on the money as he is completing 73.9 percent of his throws.The marriage of Robert Griffin III and Mike Shanahan may not end well. RGIII is an explosive talent, but he is often in harm’s way. He was forced out of the Week Eight loss to the Broncos with an injury to his left (non-surgical) knee. RGIII is expected to remain in the lineup this week, but he takes too many shots and is quite vulnerable.
- OffenseThe Chargers get just enough from their running game to ease the burden on Rivers. Ryan Mathews is not a great talent, but he has run for 446 yards and he is averaging 4.1 yards per carry. Danny Woodhead is a good change of pace back and can also catch the ball. Keenan Allen is an emerging star at wide receiver while Antonio Gates excels at catching the ball on third down.The Redskins certainly have the running game to punish any defense. In addition to RGIII’s scrambling ability, Alfred Morris is a solid power runner and Roy Helu Jr. can be a fine change-of-pace back. Pierre Garcon is a dependable receiver who can make the occasional big play while tight end Jordan Reed is emerging as a solid option.
- DefenseThe Chargers have some vulnerability (23rd) on defense and the Redskins may be able to take advantage. Free safety Eric Weddle is the team’s leading tackler with 47 tackles and he also has six passes defensed. Defensive end Cory Liuget and outside linebacker Jarret Johnson lead the team with 3.0 sacks each, but the Chargers need to put more pressure on opposing quarterbacks.The Redskins were playing a competitive game against the Broncos in Week Eight and it appeared they might register a huge upset when they took a 21-7 lead in the third quarter. However, they surrendered 31 points in the fourth quarter and the Redskins were embarrassed. Simply put, the Redskins defense is too slow and the Chargers’ offense should be able to punish them.
- Special TeamsThe Chargers have some vulnerability on their coverage teams, but they have not allowed any TD returns. Placekicker Nick Novak has made 14-of-16 FG attempts while punter Mike Scifres will drop his kicks inside the opponents’ 20 with great frequency.The Redskins have been awful in their punt and kickoff coverage. They have already given up two punt returns for scores and their lack of speed often puts them in trouble. Kai Forbath is an ordinary placekicker, while Sav Rocca will shank his punts on occasion.
The Redskins are going to have to show they can shake off the impact of getting run over by the Broncos in the fourth quarter. If RGIII is healthy enough to play, they should be able to move the ball effectively against the Chargers' defense. -Steve Silverman, CBS Local Sports contributor