(CBS Los Angeles) — The Los Angeles Chargers find themselves at 2-2 a quarter of the way through the season. Two tough losses to the Detroit Lions and Houston Texans are book-ended by uplifting wins against the Indianapolis Colts and Miami Dolphins. Things could be worse, but they could also be better.
According to Rich Gannon, NFL On CBS analyst and former NFL quarterback, “the Chargers could easily be 4-0 right now. Rivers has made a couple of poor decisions late in games. You go back to the Detroit game, where he tried to fit one in to Keenan Allen in double coverage…” The defense couldn’t contain Deshaun Watson and the dynamic Texans offense for two halves in Week 3, wasting Keenan Allen’s 13-catch, 183-yard, two-touchdown performance.
Injuries have been a major issue for the Chargers all season. But this week brings a bit of good news instead, as running back Melvin Gordon returns to the lineup after his holdout. Austin Ekeler and Justin Jackson have done a capable job to date. “But Melvin Gordon is a guy that they can lean on a little bit,” says Gannon.
Will his presence provide a boost? Certainly to some degree. But as Gannon has observed over the years, “when push comes to shove, they’re going to take the ball out of Melvin Gordon’s hands, and they’re going to put it in Philip Rivers’ hands. That’s just the way it is. That’s the way it’s worked there forever. I don’t know if that’s going to change with him back in the lineup.”
The Broncos, plagued by turnovers, penalties, missed assignments and mental errors, are the right opponent to help Gordon ease back into the lineup. And as the Chargers heal — if they heal — they should turn a corner. “This is a really good football team,” says Gannon.
And that’s on defense as well. “They have two guys that can rush the passer in Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram,” Gannon points out. “They have been banged up a little bit in the secondary. But this is a good defense, coached by Gus Bradley, that I think, when they get healthy, can do some damage.”
The Chargers play the Broncos at home Sunday @ 1:05 PT on CBS.