Chargers hot start enough to hold off Rams in the first LA matchup

LOS ANGELES, CA - AUGUST 26: Travis Benjamin (Photo by Josh Lefkowitz/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - AUGUST 26: Travis Benjamin (Photo by Josh Lefkowitz/Getty Images) /

The Los Angeles Chargers and Los Angeles Rams squared off in the first matchup of the “Fight for LA.” A hot start from the new faces of LA held off a Rams comeback.

Although there was a much bigger fight happening on Saturday, August 26, the Los Angeles Chargers and Los Angeles Rams squared off in the first “Fight for LA” matchup. Although it was just preseason, this matchup gave fans a first look at how the two LA teams measure up. When the dust settled, it was a fast start that allowed the Chargers to hold on to a 21-19 victory.

Philip Rivers and the first team offense started with the ball at their own 25-yard line. A six play drive was capped off by a 45-yard touchdown pass to Travis Benjamin. The link up was the second touchdown for both men in the preseason and was Rivers’ longest pass. Josh Lambo nailed the extra point attempt to put the Chargers up 7-0.

Seven plays later young phenom Joey Bosa was able to get to Rams quarterback Jared Goff for a strip sack. Melvin Ingram recovered the ball and took it 76 yards to the house.

Then, mistakes further cost the Rams as Jason Verrett picked off Jared Goff the following drive at the Chargers 46 yard line. In what would be the last drive of the Chargers first team, Rivers drove down the field with Melvin Gordon punching home a two-yard touchdown run.

In under ten minutes the Los Angeles Chargers scored 21 unanswered points against their cross town foes. However, the focus on this game for the Rams was health. Sean McVay started almost the entire second unit on defense, while the Chargers primarily started their first unit. After the Chargers first unit was out they would go on to play 50 minutes of scoreless football.

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The reserve for the Rams was able to outclass the Chargers, holding the hot team to zero points the entire rest of the game. Still, that was not enough to overcome the slow start.

The Rams kicked three field goals before the half to make it a 21-9 game. After a touchdown in the third quarter and a field goal early in the fourth, they trailed by just two points; 21-19.

After forcing a four and out in the Chargers next drive, the Rams drove the ball down to their own 15-yard line. This set up what seemed like a gimme 33-yard field goal that back up kicker Travis Coons shanked right. Two punts later and the Chargers were able to hold onto the two point victory.

The Rams’ back ups flourished while the Chargers’ second unit continued their track record of mediocrity. The Chargers’ back ups had just 153 yards, only 34 more yards than the first unit had in two drives.

Next: How important was this first time meeting?

Still, the new faces of LA were able to pull out a victory in the first chapter in the “Fight for LA.” At the end of the day, all that matters is the first unit performance. The Rams opted to avoid injury and the Chargers first unit thrived.