The Los Angeles Chargers have now won four consecutive games with the 30-12 victory over the Washington Redskins at StubHub Center on Sunday, Dec. 12. The Los Angeles football team demonstrated dominance in all three phases and now sit above .500 for the first time in nearly two years (Sept. 2015).
“I think it’s been night and day when you look at the first quarter of the season even the second quarter, we were being dominated,” said Chargers head coach Anthony Lynn.
On the Chargers opening drive, Travis Coons made a 33-yard field goal. The following drive Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers orchestrated a 92-yard drive that ended in a touchdown pass to tight end Hunter Henry.
Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins was picked off on Washington’s next possession as Chargers cornerback Trevor Williams deflected the pass that fell right into the arms of linebacker Kyle Emanuel. The Chargers converted that interception into their third score of the day extending the Chargers lead to 13-0.
Cousins cut the lead 13-6 when he found tight end Vernon Davis for a 23-yard touchdown pass. A poised Rivers responded with one play, a 75-yard touchdown pass down the field to wide receiver Tyrell Williams. The Chargers lead was pumped back up 20-6.
“When you have Keenan on your team they are obviously going to focus on him,” said Williams. “If I can come in there and make plays when they come that are open…it can take away some of the focus on him.”
Williams had his best game since week four as he tallied four catches for 132 yards.
“That was big for us, exploding through the offense like that takes some pressure off me and Hunter,” said Keenan Allen. Allen caught six passes for 111 yards, his fourth straight game with over 100 yards receiving.
The Chargers were in position to score even more points before halftime. Rookie running back Austin Ekeler had his sights on the endzone and failed to get down before time expired.
“It was nothing about his intent that was wrong, it was just understanding the situation a little better,” said Rivers who praised the rookie running back on his performance all season.
The Chargers still ended the first half with 354 yards. Rivers made sure to spread the ball around whether it was passing to his talented receivers or getting the game rolling on the ground.
“The unselfishness of our skilled players is unreal,” said Rivers. “There’s a balance of wanting the ball but also ‘where’s my role on the team.’”
In the third quarter, Rivers executed a flea flicker pass to Allen for 59 yards. It provided the perfect setup for Gordon to run the ball in from the one-yard line. Gordon’s touchdown boosted the Chargers lead to the widest margin of the game, 30-6.
On the defensive side of the ball, rookie Desmond King made a few splash plays late in the game including a sack on Cousins.
“He has a knack for getting around blocks and getting to the quarterback,” Lynn said of King.
The 5-foot-10, 201-pound defensive back moved into a second-place tie on his team’s list of single-season sacks by a defensive back.
“He’s crafty, too,” added Rivers. “To play the slot, you have to have a balance of a little bit of savviness, toughness and craftiness.”
Sunday’s contest against the Redskins made it three straight games where Rivers has notched 300-yards passing. Rivers finished the game with 18 or 31 for 319 yards and two touchdowns. He became the third quarterback in NFL history to pass for 3,500 yards in at least 10 straight seasons in company with Peyton Manning and Drew Brees.
With 11 minutes remaining in the game, Rivers was replaced by backup quarterback Kellen Clemens. Redskins Bashaud Breeland was able to pick off Clemens for a 96-yard touchdown. The Redskins were still no match for the indomitable Chargers in the 30-13 loss.
The Los Angeles football team who moves to 7-6 will travel to Kansas City to compete against the (7-6) Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium. With the Chiefs win over the Raiders this weekend, that puts the Chargers and Chiefs in a two-way tie for first in the AFC West.
“It’s atmosphere on Saturday night will be about as good as you can get,” said Rivers. “These are the games you grow up dreaming about playing in and here we are two teams that are sitting there at 7-6.”