For the most part, last night’s game was meaningless in the grand scheme of the Chargers’ 2022 season. However, should the injury to Mike Williams keep him from being 100 percent going into the wild card round against the Jaguars, then we’ll unfortunately be stuck looking back at this game with disdain, regardless of how Brandon Staley ended up explaining his decisions by he to the media.
As it stands, Kenneth Murray and Joey Bosa both look to be okay and were kept out of the second half out of an abundance of caution.
Overall the offense did their thing and looked surgical through the first few drives of the game. Things changed swiftly after Austin Ekeler’s fumble and then got even worse after DeAndre Carter coughed it up, as well.
Defensively, the starters played too long and their inability to keep a number of deep passes in front of them ended up costing them the game despite an otherwise porous showing from Russell Wilson through the air.
Regardless, we’re on to Jacksonville.
Curious to see who ended up on the right or wrong side of yesterday’s game? Let’s go ahead and take a look at this week’s winners and losers from the loss to the Broncos.
W. R. Keenan Allen
In the final game of the regular season, Allen put together one of the best games of his shortened season despite only catching passes from Herbert for three of the game’s four quarters. Allen posted eight receptions for 102 yards and two touchdowns against the Broncos, notching his first two-touchdown game since week three of the 2019 season.
Allen recorded the team’s highest game grade on either side of the ball with an 83.9, which also happened to be his highest-graded game of the entire 2022 season.
QB Justin Herbert
Herbert stayed in the game a bit longer than everyone would have wanted him to, but while he remained on the field, he was as surgical as he’s been all season against a good Broncos pass defense.
He finished the game with 25 completions on 37 attempts for 273 yards and two touchdowns (both to Allen). By the end of the night, Herbert set another NFL record by scoring his 101st and 102nd touchdowns of his career which bested Dan Marino’s mark for the most total touchdowns through a player’s first three NFL seasons. His 25th touchdown pass of the season also made him just the second quarterback in NFL history (Peyton Manning) to throw for at least 25 scores in each of his first three seasons.
Herbert finished with the offense’s second-highest grade at 77.9 and looked as good as ever against a Denver defense that always plays him tough.
CB Ja’Sir Taylor
Bryce Callahan was the only starter placed on the inactives list Sunday night which meant Taylor was set to start another game as the team’s primary slot defender. Compared to his prior outings in place of Callahan, Taylor did not enjoy as good of a performance against a Broncos offense that broke loose over the top of the secondary far too many times on Sunday night. In all, Russell Wilson completed three different passes of over 50+ yards, which is a huge blemish against a Chargers defense who had been the best against the pass during their four-game win streak.
Taylor finished with an overall game grade of 53.7 after allowing three receptions on four targets for 75 yards, including one of Wilson’s 50-yard completion.
LB Troy Reeder
Reeder played a season-high 22 snaps after Kenneth Murray was knocked out of the game with what was later reported as a stinger. In those limited snaps, Reeder unfortunately looked fairly out of place as he was picked on several times by Wilson and Co.
By the end of the game, Reeder allowed all three passes his way to be completed for 54 yards on top of recording one of the team’s six missed tackles.
While it’s not expected that Reeder will play all that much in the postseason, this shined a pretty bright light on the team’s lack of athleticism at the linebacker position behind Murray and Drue Tranquill. Watching Reeder try and Chase down ball carriers was quite the contract compared to the aforementioned duo.
Reeder finished with a the lowest overall game grade on the Chargers with an abysmal 28.6. His tackling grade (26.4) and coverage grade (29.6) were also the lowest on the team.