The Los Angeles Chargers opened as 14 point favorites over the Cincinnati Bengals and looked anything but that during the game itself on Sunday.
Everyone in the NFL is starting to take notice of the Los Angeles Chargers as a legitimate Super Bowl contender. Coming off of a huge win over the Pittsburgh Steelers, the Chargers came home on Sunday to face off against the Cincinnati Bengals.
The Bengals looked to flip that fortune as the team came out and gave the Chargers their all. At the end of the day, the Chargers moved to 10-3 on the season, giving them the second-best record in the AFC.
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However, the win itself was not all positives for the Chargers, who really did not look good, at all, in the contest. In fact, I would go as far as to say that the Chargers were outplayed in this game and squeaked out a win in a trap game on talent alone.
It did not seem like the Chargers were going to have any issues either as the team jumped out to an early 14-3 lead. Philip Rivers was doing what he has done all season and the offense was firing on all cylinders.
Then the second quarter happened, where the Chargers looked lost on offense. A last second 59-yard field goal from Mike Badgley saved the quarter from being a complete loss as the Chargers entered halftime with a 17-12 victory.
The offensive woes did not stop there either as the team could not find the end zone at all in the second half and instead had to settle for three field goals. This forced the defense to step up and make plays when it mattered, and to their credit, they did.
But still, the Bengals were going for two to tie the game. The Chargers should have never been in that situation to begin with.
The Chargers had just 138 yards after the team’s first two drives of the game. Overall, the Chargers finished the game with 288 yards, seven fewer than the Bengals finished with.
The teams were identical on third downs but the Bengals also had the advantage in time of possession. The biggest difference maker for the Bengals was the field position battle and the punting unit.
The Chargers had three drives start within seven yards of their own end zone and had a fourth drive that started at the 17-yard line. To get out of these holes, the Chargers were trying to rely on dump out passes to utilize the athleticism of the receiving corps to get space.
That was not the case as the Bengals’ linebackers played fast and were able to squander plays before they could get into the second level. Philip Rivers was only sacked twice, he didn’t throw a single interception and the Chargers as a whole had no turnovers.
The team was simply outplayed. The Bengals did a great job of keeping the ball out of Philip Rivers hands to prevent the offense from getting momentum.
At the end of the day, though, the Los Angeles Chargers still got a win in the record book while the Bengals recorded yet another loss. Now on to Kansas City.