Sure enough, those heavy road chants did not last long after Melvin Gordon rushed for 80 yards and two touchdowns, leading the Los Angeles Chargers to an impressive 26-11 victory over the Green Bay Packers on Sunday at Dignity Health Sports Park.
Los Angeles resembled the team that nearly advanced to the AFC title game a year ago, finding a profound balance between the run and pass game.
“I thought that was a good team win,” Chargers coach Anthony Lynn said. “I thought all three phases played well, prepared well. Coaches did an outstanding job with the game plans.”
“For whatever reason we do better when it’s a little bit `the Chargers don’t have a chance.’ I don’t know why. I don’t think anyone gave us a chance in this one,” said Quarterback Philip Rivers, who was efficient completing 21 of 28 passes for 294 yards, with a 108.3 passer rating. “I wish we did better when everyone thought we were really good like the beginning of the season. All three phases did a heck of a job.”Just days after former Chargers offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt was fired, Shane Steichen was promoted and immediately gave the team a boost, averaging 6.5 yards per play.
Mike Williams had three receptions for 111 yards, recording his first 100-yard receiving day of his career and Michael Badgley kicked four field goals in his first game back from injury.
Gordons 80 yards came on 20 carries, Austin Ekeler added 12 carries for 70 yards and the Chargers (4-5) dominated time of possession (36-24), limiting Green Bay’s (7-2) explosive offense.
“We established the run and committed to it. It was giving them enough opportunities,” Lynn said. “Shane did an outstanding job. I thought he was aggressive when he needed to be. He prepared well all week and the players have confidence in him. Everyone stepped up and did what they had to do.”
“I’m getting in a groove. Before the first half, I felt like I was kind of sluggish,” Gordon said. “I was kind of slow and I was like, I have to pick it up. I knew we had a chance to run the ball. We were chopping five yards here, five yards there and we had a chance to seal the game. As far as run, we could run. So, I was definitely excited about that.”
Leading 12-0 in the third, Gordon found the end zone on a one-yard rush, extending the Chargers lead to 19-0, followed by another one-yard scamper in the fourth, resulting in a 26-11 win for L.A.
Defensively, Los Angeles hounded and rushed Aaron Rodgers all game long, allowing only 18 passing yards in the first half. The Chargers also shut down the Packers run game, holding them to 45, and 138 total yards.“We are just doing what we are coached. Knowing our assignments, covering each other, not worrying about anything else, and just playing our game,” Ingram III said.
Edge rushers Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram III led the charge for Los Angeles in the trenches, combining for three sacks and seven tackles.
“This was a good slice of humble pie for us. We’re kind of rolling, 7-1, and starting to listen to the chatter maybe a little too much,” said Rodgers who finished 23 of 35 for 161 yards and a touchdown.
On the day, Ingram III also passed former Chargers linebacker Shawne Merriman for sixth all time in team history with 44.5 career sacks.
“It’s just a blessing to even be mentioned in the same sentence as him.” added Ingram III on his historic accomplishment.
The Chargers now have a short week and will travel to Oakland for a divisional Thursday night game against the Raiders (4-4). Kickoff is scheduled for 5:20 P.M. at RingCentral Coliseum.