Los Angeles Chargers: Three ways to improve for week 2

CARSON, CA - SEPTEMBER 09: Running back Melvin Gordon #28 of the Los Angeles Chargers carries the ball in the fourth quarter against the Kansas City Chiefs at StubHub Center on September 9, 2018 in Carson, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
CARSON, CA - SEPTEMBER 09: Running back Melvin Gordon #28 of the Los Angeles Chargers carries the ball in the fourth quarter against the Kansas City Chiefs at StubHub Center on September 9, 2018 in Carson, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images) /

The Los Angeles Chargers dropped the team’s ninth consecutive game to the Kansas City Chiefs and will start the season 0-1 as a result.

The Los Angeles Chargers did not start the 2018-2019 season the way many had hoped and dropped the opening contest, 38-28, to the Kansas City Chiefs.

Heading into the season, the Chargers were many people’s sleeper pick for a Super Bowl contender and the favorite to walk away as the AFC West Champions. While week 1 is not conclusive of how the entire season will pan out, losing to the Chiefs for the ninth-straight time wasn’t pleasing.

What made matters worse is that the Los Angeles Chargers essentially shot themselves in the foot and played about as bad as they could have played.

Whether it was dropped passes, the muffed punt return that set up a Kansas City touchdown or the missed field goal to put the game within one possession with a minute left, the Chargers made several big mistakes.

A few made tackles on Tyreek Hill and some cleaner play and this would have been a cakewalk for the Chargers. Instead, even with the worst possible outing, the Chiefs could only come away with a 10-point victory.

So there were some positives to come out of this loss but at the same time, those positives can be frustrating.

Regardless, the Los Angeles Chargers are still one of the most talented teams in the NFL and can rebound from this loss. Here are three ways in which the Chargers can improve for week 2 against the Buffalo Bills.

1. More Melvin Gordon

Melvin Gordon looked really, really good in the first game of the NFL season and is the first season, according to him, that he is fully healthy.

Gordon rushed the ball 15 times for 65 yards to go along with nine receptions and 102 yards. 167 yards from scrimmage is nothing to scoff at, however, the Chargers should look to use him more on the ground game to succeed in Buffalo.

Let Gordon off his leash and let him terrorize an otherwise shoddy Buffalo defense. I understand that the Chargers had to start pressing the gas against Kansas City but against Buffalo, we should see a completely different offensive scheme that includes much more Melvin Gordon.

2. Everything special teams

The Los Angeles Chargers looked pretty bad in almost every single area of special teams in week 1. While this is a factor of rust with it being the first game of the season, the Chargers have to turn it around quickly to avoid a similar outlook as last season.

Last season, it felt like every single special teams play I would look away from the screen as a Charger fan. The Chargers simply have to be better in that department to succeed.

Punter Drew Kaser was arguably the only positive from the special teams unit in week 1, skying two punts for a total of 120 yards. One of those points turned into six points because of missed tackles on Tyreek Hill.

Aside from that, Caleb Sturgis missed a field goal that would have least made a win possible, J.J. Jones muffed a punt that led to a touchdown and the kick return unit could not really go anywhere when they did opt to take it out of the end zone.

It needs to be better. Period.

3. Trusting the defense

The defense did begin to get better as the game went along but second-year quarterback Patrick Mahomes still had his way with the LA secondary and linebacker core.

The defensive plan was a bit confusing to me, especially early in the game. Early in the contest the Chargers played a ton of soft coverage that allowed the underneath passes for Mahomes and company.

This might work in long yardage situations when you have the athletic advantage but it is not going to work against a blazing receiving corps that includes Hill and Sammy Watkins.

The defense never really seemed to get into that groove and did not seem like the defense of old from last season. It is mostly the same guys with some good additions, so there really should not be a huge difference. Granted, Joey Bosa was out, but the team still had Melvin Ingram to pressure the quarterback.

Next. Bold predictions for Philip Rivers. dark

The defensive playcalling needs to bank on what the Chargers are good at and needs to trust the talent on the defensive side of the ball. If that happens, the Los Angeles Chargers defense should have a field day against whatever young quarterback the Bills throw out there.