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Week 16 Game Recap: Los Angeles Chargers 14, New York Jets 7


What you need to know

Los Angeles Chargers

The Chargers played down to their competition this week against the Jets, narrowly emerging with the victory. Melvin Gordon was held in check outside of a handful of plays in the third quarter as the cornerstone of his production. Antonio Gates enjoyed by far his season-best game with Hunter Henry inactive. Mike Williams’ disappointing rookie season continued as he dropped all three of his targets, including one in the end zone, and also sustained an injury on the play.

New York Jets

Bryce Petty struggled for the second straight week. His footwork was messy and he missed several open receivers. The play calling was extremely limited, which emphasizes the coach staff's lack of trust. Due to Petty's struggles, a 145-yard rushing day for Bilal Powell was wasted. Powell looked spry and quick-and his big day included a 57-yard touchdown scamper, a 45-yard off right tackle, and a shift 20-yard gainer on a cutback run.

Los Angeles Chargers

QB Philip Rivers, 73 offensive snaps, Pass: 22 - 40 - 290 - 1 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 1 - 0 - 0
Rivers rebounded from a rough Week 15 game against Kansas City to get the win over the Jets. However, Rivers was not without his struggles on the road in New York. Rivers should have logged an interception as he floated a deep pass toward a well-covered Travis Benjamin off his back foot. Rivers also fumbled a snap and started the game with two straight off-target throws, leading to an early punt. Rivers made the few plays he needed in the low-scoring affair, with a stick throw to seldom-used tight end Sean McGrath down to the goal line and hitting Keenan Allen on multiple deep in-breaking routes in critical situations. Rivers finishes his season against a Raiders defense next week who shut down the Eagles in Week 16.

RB Melvin Gordon, 53 offensive snaps, Rush: 19 - 81 - 1, Rec: 3 - 47 - 0 (3 targets)
It was a rough start against the Jets for Melvin Gordon as he was consistently stuffed on rushing attempts in the first quarter. Gordon’s highlight sequence came in the third quarter with four touches accumulating for roughly 80 yards of his 128 on the day. Gordon came wide open for nearly 40 yards on a well-blocked screen pass and 20 yards to the perimeter on a run play with the defense pinned in by blockers. Gordon showed a strong cut on third-and-one to convert and ran through a defender on another occasion for a chunk gain. Gordon added a goal line touchdown on his lone scoring opportunity of the game. Gordon suffered an ankle injury late in the game with his status for Week 17 in the air as he begins the week of preparation in a walking boot.

RB Branden Oliver, 20 offensive snaps, Rush: 8 - 9 - 0 (1 targets)
Oliver, like starter Melvin Gordon, struggled to produce with most of his rushing attempts against the Jets. Oliver did flash on one of his carries, making a strong move in the backfield to turn a loss into a three-yard gain. Oliver may see and expanded opportunity in Week 17 with Melvin Gordon’s status uncertain after an ankle injury late in Week 16.

WR Tyrell Williams, 57 offensive snaps, Rec: 5 - 50 - 0 (6 targets)
Williams saw a hearty six targets against the Jets with his route of choice being a crossing route. Williams uses his speed well across the field more than throttling down on more precision-based routes. Williams’ lone deep opportunity was caught but he was just out of bounds before getting his feet in on the play. Williams was wide open on two of his crossing routes and was stuffed immediately after the catch on two other occasions.

WR Keenan Allen, 66 offensive snaps, Rec: 5 - 63 - 0 (10 targets)
Allen led the team with 10 targets against the Jets. While Allen did not break a long gain or see any optimal touchdown opportunities, Allen functioned as the steady chain-mover with his receptions. Allen broke a tackle on a short hitch for after-the-catch yardage and iced the game in the closing minutes with a longer reception between defenders. Allen did add a drop on third down to his performance and was stuffed on a swing route.

WR Travis Benjamin, 31 offensive snaps, Rush: 1 - -4 - 0 (5 targets)
Benjamin did not make the box score in the passing game, but logged a drop and was a target down the field on a likely interception by Philip Rivers into heavy coverage. Benjamin was stuffed on a reverse as a runner and returned a punt for a touchdown, which was called back by penalty. This was Benjamin’s third time being shutout as a receiver this season.

WR Mike Williams, 26 offensive snaps (3 targets)
Williams struggled again to carve an impactful role, this time against the Jets. Williams dropped a short in-breaking route, another in the end zone, and finally a third drop before exiting with an injury. Williams has yet to post a strong game or move up the depth chart in what has been a lost rookie season.

TE Antonio Gates, 56 offensive snaps, Rec: 6 - 81 - 1 (8 targets)
With Hunter Henry inactive, Gates had a golden opportunity to post his best game of the season. Gates took full advantage against the Jets, finishing second on the team in targets and nearly tripling his next best receiving output of 2017. Gates had three chunk gains, one of a wide open throwback play design and another down the seam. Gates showed better movement than much of his 2017 tape in this game. Gates also added a classic touchdown where he boxed out a defender in single coverage on a goal line slant – too easy of a play for the future hall of famer. With Henry out again in Week 17, Gates has another strong opportunity to produce against Oakland.


New York Jets

QB Bryce Petty, 65 offensive snaps, Pass: 15 - 28 - 119 - 0 TD / 1 INT, Rush: 3 - 33 - 0
Today's performance proved that Petty isn't the long-term answer at quarterback. A combination of poor mechanics and bad throws spelled doom for a Jet offense that was highly productive on the ground (197 yards). Petty's footwork was poor, leading to overthrown balls and misguided passes. Petty had multiple chances to hit wide open receivers, but he airmailed easy throws. Granted, Petty was operating behind a makeshift offensive line, but he didn't step up in the pocket and throw the ball with confidence. Petty did take two big hits to his right arm and right hand, but remained in the game and played through pain. Petty was intercepted on a Hail Mary pass attempt right before halftime and didn't account for any touchdown passes. The rushing attack compiled nearly 200 yards, but Petty's poor play doomed his team, especially on third downs.

RB Bilal Powell, 27 offensive snaps, Rush: 19 - 145 - 1 (1 targets)
Bilal Powell turned in one of his best performances to date. Powell ran with power and confidence as he took Los Angeles' rushing defense to task. In the second quarter, Powell ripped off a 45-yard off right tackle. A toss sweep was called-and an inside cut black opened, allowing Powell to cut back and run free for a long gain. In the third quarter, Powell ripped off a 57-yard touchdown run. A toss sweep to the left was called, Powell got to the corner, and sprinted into the end zone. Credit Kelvin Beachum and the center, Jonathan Harrison who made a great downfield block. In the fourth quarter, Powell picked up 20 yards on an impressive cutback run-a toss sweep right was called, but Powell cut back to an open field for a big gainer.

RB Matt Forte, 27 offensive snaps, Rush: 8 - 19 - 0, Rec: 1 - 7 - 0 (1 targets)
It was a forgettable final home game for Matt Forte. Forte fumbled early in the second quarter, killing a promising drive. Otherwise, he was largely bottled up as a runner and ceded lead back duties to Bilal Powell.

WR Robby Anderson, 61 offensive snaps, Rec: 5 - 51 - 0 (7 targets)
Anderson ran his normal route tree, which features short-to-intermediate crossing routes and was the defined first read on the majority of his routes. Anderson had a long catch-and-run of 16 yards on play action. Anderson sat down in Los Angeles' zone coverage and made a tough grab before taking a big hit.

WR Jermaine Kearse, 57 offensive snaps, Rec: 5 - 42 - 0 (8 targets)
Anderson ran his normal route tree, which features short-to-intermediate crossing routes and was the defined first read on the majority of his routes. Anderson had a long catch-and-run of 16 yards on play action. Anderson sat down in Los Angeles' zone coverage and made a tough grab before taking a big hit.

TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins, 43 offensive snaps, Rec: 4 - 21 - 0 (8 targets)
The big tight end had a long gain of 11 yards on a drag route.