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Week 8 Game Recap: Los Angeles Chargers 17, Chicago Bears 16


What you need to know

Los Angeles Chargers

Philip Rivers' numbers look a bit underwhelming, but he wasn't helped much by his receivers. They dropped at least two would-be touchdowns, fell down on several other passes, and failed to fight for a ball that ended up as an interception. He did well just to get to the stats he put up.

The much-ballyhooed return of Melvin Gordon has resulted in the opposite of what the Chargers expected, as their running game has gone in the tank since Melvin Gordon returned to the lineup. Gordon continues to see much more work in the run game than Austin Ekeler (8 rushes to 3), as Ekeler has essentially been doing work as a receiver.

Keenan Allen was very off, stumbling three different times just running routes, and also dropped what would have been a long touchdown. He has now failed to score a touchdown or exceed more than 65 yards in five consecutive games.

Chicago Bears

After struggling last week, the Bears turned to a run centric approach featuring David Montgomery against the Chargers. Montgomery turned in his best game as a pro including his first 100-yard game and added a touchdown while running with physicality on the interior. Mitchell Trubisky continued to struggle, taking bad sacks and turning the ball over twice while stalling the offense out in the red zone. Allen Robinson was hindered by the heavy rushing volume but was consistently the most dangerous element of the offense.

Los Angeles Chargers

QB Philip Rivers, 45 offensive snaps, Pass: 19 - 29 - 201 - 1 TD / 1 INT
Rivers played much better than the stats indicate. Almost all of his production came late in the game as his receivers really did him no favors early on. The lack of help started on the very first possession, when he threw a pass to a wide open Keenan Allen that would have gone for a first down if Allen hadn't fallen down on the play. The pass was nearly intercepted due to Allen falling, but it fell incomplete. Allen again got open for what could have been a 20+ yard pass play, but again he inexplicably fell coming out of his break. Later in the half, Rivers faced intense pressure up the middle for really the first time all game. Throwing off his back foot, the pass didn't have much on it. It was not a good pass and was definitely underthrown, but Mike Williams failed to come back to the football. The defender made a big break instead, stepping in front of Williams for the pick. Soon after that one, Hunter Henry outright dropped a pass along the sideline. Early in the second half, Rivers began moving the team downfield on a decent drive. He put a deep ball right in the hands of Williams, who allowed it to slip through for an incompletion. It was a perfectly thrown pass that went for nothing. Williams wasn't the only one who cost the team a touchdown with an end zone drop, either, as Keenan Allen let a floater drop out of his hands after the defender had badly mis-timed his jump. Rivers continued putting the football in places where his receivers could work with it, but they were continuously letting him down. Finally in the fourth quarter, the Chargers started moving the ball with a bit more ease. He found Henry with a bullet pass that put the ball on the 2-yard line and nearly found Austin Ekeler on an inside slant, but the bullet pass was deflected away at the last minute. The Chargers settled for a field goal on that drive, but ended up scoring later when Rivers found Ekeler in the flat off a play action fake. The pass itself was nothing special, but Ekeler beat his defender at the 5-yard line and darted to the end zone for the outstanding individual effort and score to give the Chargers the late lead (which they did not relinquish).

RB Melvin Gordon, 25 offensive snaps, Rush: 8 - 31 - 1, Rec: 2 - 3 - 0 (3 targets)
Outside of one spectacular run, Gordon had another highly nondescript game. He out-touched Austin Ekeler 10-5, but couldn't really get much going either on the ground or through the air for most of the game. The one big run was a 19-yard touchdown where he showed excellent vision and balance by bouncing an inside handoff back to the left, taking off towards the end zone, and then dragging defenders in over the last five yards (with a helpful push from his offensive linemen). That being said, his other nine touches went for a total of just 15 yards from scrimmage. There was simply no consistency to the Charger run game, a disturbing trend that has continued since Gordon's return from a holdout several weeks ago.

RB Austin Ekeler, 24 offensive snaps, Rush: 3 - 3 - 0, Rec: 2 - 19 - 1 (3 targets)
Ekeler couldn't have been quieter in the early going, with just one touch prior to halftime. This is a player who was dominating the offensive playbook in the early portion of the season. Ekeler's first handoff didn't come until 6:15 remained in the third quarter, as the team was almost abandoning the run for large chunks of the game due to a complete lack of success. He was wide open on a 2-yard inside slant, but some great awareness by Khalil Mack resulted in the pass being deflected away at the last moment to prevent what would have been an easy score. Later in that possession, Ekeler got an inside handoff from the 2-yard line, but was completely swallowed up by the Chicago defense on a very slowly-developing play. Finally late in the fourth quarter with the Chargers driving for the lead, Rivers found Ekeler in the flat off a play action fake. Ekeler caught the pass and was met by a linebacker at the 5-yard line, but Ekeler managed to slip the tackler and dart up the field for the score. He was hit hard at the end of the run, but all that did was help propel him even more into the end zone. That score gave the Chargers the lead, which they would not relinquish.

WR Keenan Allen, 31 offensive snaps, Rec: 7 - 53 - 0 (10 targets)
Allen had a very busy afternoon, although not a very successful one. He was questionable to play coming in with a hamstring issue, and most observers felt he wasn't going to play. Once it was announced that he was playing, reports came with the caveat that he may be on a "limited snap count". Instead, Allen played the entire game and didn't really look any worse for wear in terms of any injury issues. About the only thing that looked out of the ordinary was the fact that he inexplicably fell down three times during the course of the game. The announcers speculated that he may have had the wrong shoes on, or that it could have been weakness in the hamstring. Whatever the reason, he fell down on his first target which nearly resulted in a Chicago interception. He then stumbled for the second time in three targets going over the middle on a play that could have gone for over twenty yards. Early in the second quarter, he converted the first Chargers first down of the game, moving well across the field with ease. Late in the game, he took an inside screen with blockers in front of him for a meager three yards. The reason why that play is noteworthy, is because he again stumbled just as he tried turning up the field (the play probably could have gone for 8-10 yards or more). Finally, he was targeted on a deep ball in the end zone that would have given the Chargers the lead. His defender mis-timed his jump and Allen had the ball sitting in his hands if he just secured the pass, but he allowed it to bounce off his forearms for a terrible drop. After the game, Allen apologized to fantasy owners on Twitter, letting them know that he "owes them".

WR Mike Williams, 43 offensive snaps, Rec: 3 - 69 - 0 (6 targets)
Despite seeing roughly half the number of targets and receptions as Keenan Allen, Williams out-gained him through the air thanks to a 43-yard first half bomb. He went deep down the sideline and made a tremendous effort to sky high for the deep ball, out-leaping both defenders who were converging on the football. Williams sort of owed that kind of effort to Rivers after making a weak effort to come back to the ball on a Rivers interception. The pass was woefully underthrown, but Williams waited for the ball while the defender made a big break on the pass, and picked it off. Williams could have had a much bigger day, as he allowed a deep ball to go through his hands in the end zone. He had beaten his defender and Philip Rivers put the ball exactly where it needed to be, but Williams couldn't corral the pass. Williams came up hobbling after the play and briefly left the game. He came back in two plays later, but his relevance to the game ended with yet another dropped pass.

TE Hunter Henry, 39 offensive snaps, Rec: 4 - 47 - 0 (6 targets)
Like much of the Chargers passing game, Henry had a quiet first half but picked things up in the second half. He had a good opportunity to convert a third down pass along the sideline early on. It wouldn't have been a huge gain, but the ball was right there and he just outright dropped it. Henry's first reception didn't come until he made a short grab over the middle with 8:04 remaining in the third quarter. He grabbed another reception on the next play, but it was negated by an offensive pass interference penalty called against Henry. He more than made up for that penalty by hauling in yet another reception, this time a 20-yard gain to convert the first down after the penalty. With the Chargers driving, Henry snagged a bullet pass at the 2-yard line with a defender all over him, so there was really no chance to lean back in for the score. Finally, Henry caught a third down pass late in the fourth quarter with the Chargers trying to run out the clock. A first down would have all but ended the game and Henry made a tremendous effort to get there, twisting and spinning for the first down marker, but he came up just a foot short. Henry was very upset with himself after the play, although he made as strong an effort as he could have, perhaps because he didn't extend the football at the end of the play towards the first down marker. There was no harm, however, as the Chargers punted the ball away but the Bears missed the potential game-winning field goal as time expired.

TE Virgil Green, 13 offensive snaps, Rec: 1 - 10 - 0 (1 targets)
Green showed nice hands to snag a short dumpoff just before it hit the turf. But Hunter Henry again had a busy day from the tight end spot, which is always going to cap Green's upside.


Chicago Bears

QB Mitchell Trubisky, 82 offensive snaps, Pass: 23 - 35 - 253 - 0 TD / 1 INT, Rush: 4 - 10 - 0
Mitchell Trubisky started against the Chargers after a dismal performance last week. Trubisky was again a limiting element to the offense as he struggled with decision making and accuracy. The Bears tried to play close to the vest with a run centric and short passing game approach after Trubisky struggled last week but the design did not help. He was particularly weak in the red zone, including a trip where he had a snuffed out shovel pass to Cordarelle Patterson, a near interception, a batted ball, and a broken up pass, which forced the Bears to settle for a field goal despite a penalty during the sequence that placed the Bears on the one yard line for first and goal. Trubisky had another bad sequence three-play sequence in the second half where he threw an interception late to the perimeter, then missed Taylor Gabriel deep on a possible long touchdown, before losing a fumble in the pocket. Trubisky also took a couple of bad sacks, including one that knocked the Bears out of field goal range on third down. Trubisky had some success during the game, including passes across the middle to Tarik Cohen, Trey Burton, and Anthony Miller, but he continues to be too inconsistent to create consistent success for the Bears offense. Trubisky will look to rebound next week against the Eagles.

RB David Montgomery, 60 offensive snaps, Rush: 27 - 135 - 1, Rec: 4 - 12 - 0 (5 targets)
David Montgomery had the best game of his professional career against the Chargers in a loss on Sunday. Montgomery was a focal point of the offense from the start after the Bears only ran the ball seven times last week. Coach Matt Nagy took responsibility for the lack of running game during the week and leaned heavily on Montgomery against the Chargers so the usage is a good sign for Montgomery’s potential future role in the offense. Montgomery was physical running between the tackles and ran with power when he was attacking downhill. Montgomery was noticeable more focused on running downhill against the Chargers after spending too much time running side to side in early weeks. He did break off a huge gain in a two-minute drill at the end of the first half but was run down from behind on what would have been a touchdown if Montgomery was faster. Montgomery did get work at the goal line and was able to score a touchdown off the right side. Montgomery was involved in the passing game with four receptions, but his targets were primarily short receptions that were well defended. Montgomery will travel to the Eagles next Sunday.

RB Tarik Cohen, 17 offensive snaps, Rush: 4 - 9 - 0, Rec: 3 - 37 - 0 (3 targets)
After leading the Bears in carries last week, Tarik Cohen took a backseat to David Montgomery against the Chargers after Coach Matt Nagy promised a stronger rushing attack during the week. Cohen was involved on the first drive of the game in the running game but only had four carries to David Montgomery’s 27. Cohen was only targeted three times in the passing game and managed a long gain down the seam from the slot, but otherwise was held in check during the game. Cohen will look to increase his volume next week against the Eagles that gave up a long receiving touchdown from the Buffalo backfield this week.

WR Allen Robinson, 73 offensive snaps, Rec: 5 - 62 - 0 (7 targets)
Allen Robinson had a lower volume game after a dominant performance last week. Coach Matt Nagy expressed disappointment with last week’s pass-heavy approach and Robinson’s target volume was one of the places where the rushing attempts came from. Robinson’s passing volume came largely in the short range of the field and he was strong at the catch point, particularly on his lone deep reception. Robinson also drew two defensive pass interference penalties, including one in the end zone. Robinson was also targeted another time near the goal line, but Mitchell Trubisky threw the ball behind him. Robinson will have a favorable matchup next week against the Eagles.

WR Anthony Miller, 42 offensive snaps, Rec: 3 - 67 - 0 (3 targets)
Anthony Miller led the Bears in receiving on Sunday against the Chargers. Miller was only targeted three times, but caught all three passes, including a deep dig and deep over reception. Miller has been quiet this season with Mitchell Trubisky struggling, but his performance on Sunday showed his ability to make contributions if Trubisky’s play improves this season. He will look to carve out a role next week at Philadelphia.

TE Trey Burton, 49 offensive snaps, Rec: 1 - 16 - 0 (4 targets)
Trey Burton had a quiet week against the Chargers, with his first and only reception coming in the fourth quarter across the middle. He also drew a target in the red zone that was overthrown. Burton is limited this season by Mitchell Trubisky’s play and is an unpredictable fantasy player at this point in his career.