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Other Week 3 Game Recaps

Week 3 Game Recap: Los Angeles Chargers 23, Los Angeles Rams 35

What you need to know

Los Angeles Chargers

WR Keenan Allen had a very quiet afternoon, and on his last route of the game, he came up hobbling following an incompletion. There was no immediate update on his condition, but he did walk off under his own power.

Melvin Gordon continues to run extremely well behind this new offensive line. Perhaps no player on the team has benefitted more from the changes they've made up front, as he's got running lanes where there were none before.

Philip Rivers continues to compile big fantasy stats, even while his team isn't enjoying much success. He again had to spread the ball around in this game, but somehow he manages to almost always get the job done for his fantasy owners.

Los Angeles Rams

The Rams continue to outclass the rest of the NFL, and their aggressiveness in playcalling despite holding a lead will continue to result in productive offensive days for the majority of their core players. Goff played one of his better games so far as a pro, making some really aggressive and difficult throws and showing an ability to extend the play vs pressure.

Los Angeles Chargers

QB Philip Rivers, 52 offensive snaps, Pass: 18 - 30 - 226 - 2 TD / 0 INT
Even on a day when he was constantly under pressure and was never in sync with his top option Keenan Allen, Rivers still compiled fantasy-relevant numbers. He connected with his old pal Antonio Gates multiple times, but saved his best for second-year man Mike Williams. The two first hooked up on a deep bomb down the seam for a 42-yard touchdown midway through the first quarter. It was an absolutely perfectly-thrown ball, and Williams made a phenomenal effort to lay out and haul it in with full extension. Some of the other highlights included a long hookup with Antonio Gates for 27 yards (most of which Gates picked up after the catch) and another perfect pass to Allen for 25 yards to convert a 3rd and 17 pass play along the sideline. Rivers had to drop it right between defenders to convert. There was a lot more defensive pressure in the second half as the Rams led throughout and started to bring a lot more heat at Rivers. He did a decent job of avoiding sacks and finding receivers at the last moment, but he never looked fully comfortable in the pocket. Rivers did add a second touchdown pass to Williams, this time on a huge fourth down pass play midway through the third quarter. Williams had the defender all but wrapping him up at the 2-yard line, but he extended at the goal line and lunged his body across for the score. Unfortunately for Rivers and the Chargers, late in the fourth quarter they faced another fourth down with the game on the line and did not convert. He completed a short pass to Austin Ekeler that was short of the marker, and Ekeler fumbled the ball away as he was trying to extend towards the first down marker, which all but ended the game.

RB Melvin Gordon, 40 offensive snaps, Rush: 15 - 80 - 1, Rec: 2 - 4 - 0 (4 targets)
Considering the Chargers trailed throughout this game, it's pretty impressive that Gordon's numbers are as good as they are. He constantly ran strong, going over and through defenders throughout the game. He had an incredibly impressive run early on, hitting the left side and leaping over a would-be tackler's head. To make it even more impressive, Gordon maintained his balance upon landing and kept running straight ahead without missing a beat, to pick up another ten yards or so. On his touchdown run, he headed up the left side behind some very good blocking by his teammates. As he got to the 4-yard line, a defender met him and appeared to have an angle to take him down, but Gordon simply brushed it off and slipped by en route to the score. Gordon's second half was much quieter as the Chargers took to the air to try and mount a comeback, but he did manage to pick up his longest run of the game, a 23-yard scamper, late in the contest. Austin Ekeler was on the field for much of the fourth quarter and was the recipient of several passing targets during that time.

RB Austin Ekeler, 18 offensive snaps, Rush: 4 - 47 - 0, Rec: 3 - 24 - 0 (3 targets)
As quiet as Ekeler was in the first half, he did some damage after halftime. He picked up 32 of his 47 rushing yards on one run, slithering his way in and out of would-be tacklers up the middle. He found a small hole, then bounced across the grain after a broken tackle before covering up the ball at the end of the run en route to a career-long rush. He added a nice reception that also doubled as a way to bail out Philip Rivers, who was under pressure from the defense. Ekeler was leaking out behind Rivers and into the flat, so Rivers dumped it off to him. Ekeler's defender thought he had him squared up, but again his surprising speed got him the edge where he then tip-toed the sideline for a 15-yard pickup. Unfortunately, Ekeler's day didn't end as well as it began. He was targeted on a fourth down pass attempt with the game on the line, but Rivers threw it short of the marker. So Ekeler had to make an effort to extend the ball past the line to convert. But he was met by multiple defenders, and the ball was punched out where it was recovered by the Rams for a turnover. Mike Williams came very close to recovering the ball on the ground (and it might have been a first down if he had), but the Rams defender barely beat him to it.

WR Mike Williams, 35 offensive snaps, Rec: 4 - 81 - 2 (7 targets)
Williams started off his afternoon about as good as can be, with a spectacular leaping/diving touchdown catch from 42 yards out. He had defenders right on him, but he managed to maintain a laser focus on the ball all the way through the catch and to the ground. Replays showed he actually hit the ground pretty hard and it took him awhile to get to his feet, but he remained in the game and seemed no worse for wear. He proved that by adding a second touchdown grab in the second half. Facing a fourth down, Philip Rivers put a pass right on Williams' hands. With the defender hanging all over him, he kind of flopped his body forward and lunged over the goal line for the score. It was another tremendous individual effort, and this performance will certainly go a long way towards him being the second option in the passing game after Keenan Allen (who limped off the field late in the game).

WR Keenan Allen, 40 offensive snaps, Rec: 3 - 44 - 0 (7 targets)
Allen's day began and ended very inauspiciously, and it wasn't all that great in the middle either. His first target of the game resulted in a rare drop on a crossing route over the middle. Allen started turning upfield before he had fully secured the ball. The Chargers tried getting creative a little while after, using Allen on a WR option pass. But the Rams defenders had it so well-covered, that Allen was forced to tuck the ball away and lose yardage on the play so he didn't risk an interception. Fortunately for the Chargers, he shook loose from his defender on the very next play and picked up 25 yards to convert a 3rd and 17 situation. He made a leaping catch between two defenders, expertly using his body to shield off the back defender from the ball and haul it in while taking a hit. In the second half, he ran a quick comeback route for a nice first down gain, but he tried fighting just a bit too hard for extra yardage and the ball was ripped away as he was lunging for the first down (it was recovered by the Rams). And then finally late in the game, Allen was targeted on a deep ball in the end zone. The defender barely got a hand on it to knock the ball away at the last moment, but more importantly, Allen came up limping after the play and headed for the sideline. There was no immediate update on his condition after the game.

WR Tyrell Williams, 38 offensive snaps, Rush: 1 - 14 - 0, Rec: 2 - 22 - 0 (3 targets)
On a day when Travis Benjamin was inactive and the Chargers trailed throughout, one would have expected Williams to have more involvement in the passing gameplan. As it stood, second-year man Mike Williams was the big recipient of the extra looks, as he went for two scores and a team high four receptions for 81 yards. For his part, Tyrell Williams didn't record his first catch until early in the fourth quarter on a crossing route. He added a reverse for 14 yards and another short catch, but he wasn't a focal point of the passing game - neither over the middle nor on deep routes.

TE Antonio Gates, 22 offensive snaps, Rec: 3 - 45 - 0 (5 targets)
The big tight end had his best game of the season, and was the clear go-to guy at the tight end spot ahead of Virgil Green. He got open near the sideline on a long first half reception that went for 27 yards. He withstood a big hit from the defender and shook it off as if it was a minor nuisance, before rumbling downfield after the catch to turn a decent gain into a big pickup. He showed excellent hands in the second half by snagging a low throw from Rivers over the middle, shielding the defender with his body and then working up the field for a 14-yard gain. And again he showed nice hands on a third down pass play from Rivers where he was hit in stride. He was targeted in the end zone, but the pass was thrown too high over his head to make a play on it. Gates won't return to his glory days anytime soon, but he showed in this game that he can still be a factor at times.

TE Virgil Green, 33 offensive snaps, Rec: 1 - 6 - 0 (1 targets)
Green had just one short catch in the game early in the third quarter. Not only was his role almost non-existent, but Antonio Gates was involved to the tune of three catches for 45 yards including an end zone look. Green is not a reliable target in this offense.

Los Angeles Rams

QB Jared Goff, 77 offensive snaps, Pass: 29 - 36 - 354 - 3 TD / 1 INT, Rush: 3 - 14 - 0
Goff had his best game of the season against the Chargers. He was really challenged to make some difficult, tight-window throws and aced the test. He also showed off his growing feel as an improviser in this game, extending a number of dropbacks for big plays. He still needs work in the redzone. He followed up a mature decision to improvise and then throw the ball away with a terrible interception due to poor accuracy on the next play. He tried throwing an Out route to Gerald Everett in the endzone. The ball was thrown slightly behind, and Derwin James easily undercut and picked off the throw. His first throw of the 2 minute drill (deep out to Robert Woods) is as good of a throw you'll see by an NFL QB. It was a Deep Out vs Cover 2 where he laid it up and over the sinking Flat CB and the safety over the top. It was a toe tap catch by Woods - a zero room for error type of throw and catch. His next most impressive play also came during the two minute drill - a gun barrell throw under pressure to Cooks to get the team into field goal range to close out the first half (the FG attempt missed). The second half is where Goff really showed his improvement extending the play - most notably on his touchdown throw to Cooper Kupp. If he can keep this improvement vs pressure up, it will rise him into the upper tier of quarterbacks.

RB Todd Gurley, 64 offensive snaps, Rush: 23 - 105 - 1, Rec: 5 - 51 - 0 (6 targets)
Gurley opened up the game gashing the Chargers on the first drive. However, he fumbled during a tackle attempt on him on a screen pass (Chargers recovered). He easily scored a TD in one attempt after a Brandin Cooks reception brought the ball to the 1 yard line. Left some meat on the bone with a huge gain on a screen pass in the third quarter called back on a ticky-tack holding call. He did get more redzone work in the third quarter, but the drive was capped off by a short Robert Woods touchdown catch. He got a huge chunk of his attempts down the stretch of the game after the Rams opened up the second half with 14 points, pulling away from the Chargers.

WR Robert Woods, 74 offensive snaps, Rush: 3 - 13 - 0, Rec: 10 - 104 - 2 (11 targets)
Robert Woods has been flying under the radar for the Rams offense, despite being a few near misses away from being their most productive receiver on the season. Goff opened the game up looking for Woods early with two targets on the first drive, the first being a beautifully thrown intermediate Dig route. He consistently gets positive yardage on Jet Sweeps. He won't likely break many for big plays but did pick up 15 yards on one that was called back for a holding penalty. He continued being targeted heavily in the first quarter, scoring a TD on a quick hitch with about a minute left in the 1st qtr. He did have some negative plays - during the two minute drill he was called for OPI (blocking downfield) on a target to Gerald Everett and he was called for a ticky-tack hold that brought back a big Todd Gurley screen pass. Both of his touchdowns came on quick passes inside the five yard line.

WR Brandin Cooks, 74 offensive snaps, Rec: 7 - 90 - 0 (8 targets)
Cooks was a table setter for other some of the other Rams' touchdowns today. His first catch was a very impressive target in the redzone. He fought through press coverage at the LOS, got inside position, and ran a bang 8 making a difficult contested catch in the process (almost scored, down at the 1 for a short Gurley touchdown on the next play). He really opened it up and showed off his speed on a screen pass from the 28 yard line that he took all the way to the 3 which led to a short Robert Woods touchdown catch. He couldn't bring in a semi-contested 9 route that would have brought the ball to about the 3 yard line again, but did draw a penalty for illegal contact early in the route. The ball was dropped right into his arms, but the DB poked it out as the two were going to the ground. He drew yet another penalty on a downfield target in the third quarter - this time a defensive hold. For three games in a row, Cooks has extracted a ton of value for the Rams offense of penalties.

WR Cooper Kupp, 75 offensive snaps, Rush: 1 - -3 - 0, Rec: 4 - 71 - 1 (6 targets)
Kupp continues to work as a chain mover and underneath target in the Rams passing game. He had his biggest play of the season so far on the third play of Los Angeles' opening drive of the second half. He ran an Out route on 3rd and 8, and broke off upfield when he was Jared Goff started to scramble. Goff evaded pressure and hit Kupp downfield, He broke his man's tackle attempt and ran to the endzone for a 53 yard catch-and-run touchdown.