By Dave Thomas
Don’t look now, but the Los Angeles Chargers are one of the hottest teams in the NFL.
Winning their fourth straight on Sunday afternoon, the Chargers rolled past the visiting Washington Redskins 30-13. In the process, they remained in a first place tie with the Kansas City Chiefs in the AFC West at 7-6. And by the way, the two old AFL rivals will meet this coming Saturday evening at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City with first place in the division on the line.
Before traveling to the nation’s heartland later this week, the Chargers had to take care of a Washington team that limped into Southern California with a record of 5-7.
In a game that was not all that close, Los Angeles pretty well dominated from the outset. Leading 23-6 at intermission, the Bolts were never seriously threatened on the afternoon.
With Washington having trouble moving the ball and putting up points in recent games, the Chargers did not have to score a ton of points to come out of this one with the victory. With a comfortable lead after 30 minutes of play, Los Angeles pretty much kept relying on its defense over the next two quarters to secure the win.
For the day, quarterback Philip Rivers was 18-of-31 for 319 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Even having been in the league now for well over a decade, Rivers shows no signs of letting up. With that veteran experience at the quarterback position, the Chargers are quite capable of taking the AFC West when all is said and done.
Through the air, Tyrell Williams led the way with four catches for 132 yards and a touchdown. Teammate Keenan Allen continued his torrid pace of late, grabbing six balls for 111 yards. On the ground, Melvin Gordon (78 yards rushing on 22 carries) scored once.
While the Chargers have been scoring their fair share of points the last four games (131 total), the defense has been quite stellar. On this day, Desmond King led the charge with 10 total tackles (one sack). Denzel Perryman chipped in with nine total tackles, while Kyle Emanuel added an interception.
The defense will have to be up to the task once again next week versus the Chiefs. Kansas City, which won the first meeting back in September by a 24-10 score, will be a good test for a Los Angeles squad which is gaining confidence by the week.
Special Teams: B+
Travis Coons had a good day filling in for injured placekicker Nick Novak (injured reserve). Coons hit on all three extra point attempts, adding field goals of 33, 21 and 36 yards. Meanwhile, punter Drew Kaser had five punts on the afternoon for an average of 53.2 yards.
Rookie head coach Anthony Lynn can only continue to smile with the play of his team over the last several weeks. With an 0-4 start to the season, many had left Lynn and the Chargers for dead. In rallying his troops, Lynn has shown a number of times now that hiring him after last season was indeed a wise move. Now, can Lynn coach this team into the playoffs and end a drought for the Chargers dating back to 2013?
Up Next: Los Angeles will have its stiffest test yet when it travels to Kansas City for a Saturday prime time showdown with the Chiefs. After losing four straight, the Chiefs righted the ship this past Sunday in a 26-15 win over the rival Oakland Raiders. With the Kansas City-Los Angeles series dating back to the 1960s, the Chiefs lead 59-55-1. Kansas City has won the last seven straight. Buckle up your seat belts for what should be a wild ride come this Saturday.