The Los Angeles Chargers Week 1 Recap starts on a happy note as the Bolts opened the 2022 season with a victory over their division rivals, the Las Vegas Raiders. Many Chargers players, most notably Quarterback Justin Herbert, have admitted that they’ve been looking forward to this game all offseason. This is likely because the Raiders’ Week 18 victory in 2021 over the Chargers kept the team from making the postseason, so it’s safe to assume that the team was looking to redeem themselves.
After having what could be considered one of the most impactful offseasons of any NFL franchise, the Chargers have one of the league’s most talented rosters from top to bottom heading into the 2022 season. After Week 1, the team has lived up to that standard.
The Chargers Bright Offense
The Chargers offense, led by Herbert, seemed to move the ball down the field easily. Things slowed when they lost wide receiver Keenan Allen to a hamstring injury in the second quarter. After losing Allen, the team still produced when needed, though there was a notable drop-off regarding how explosive the offense was. The Chargers’ offensive line lived up to the offseason hype they received after drafting first-round offensive guard Zion Johnson out of Boston College. The team allowed 0 sacks in their season debut. As far as run blocking was concerned, the O-Line was not as successful, considering the team only rushed for 76 yards.
And Their Shining Defense
On the other side of the ball, the Chargers’ defense played a pivotal role in the team’s victory. It seemed as though several Chargers’ defensive linemen were in the Raiders’ backfield wreaking havoc on Raiders QB Derek Carr’s drop-backs. The defensive unit teed off to the tune of five sacks and nine QB hits, with newly acquired Khalil Mack leading the way contributing three sacks and four QB hits.
It appeared very early that Khalil Mack was ready to silence any doubt surrounding his talent and ability at this stage of his career. It’s safe to say that he can still be one, if not the most, disruptive pass rusher in the NFL.
The Chargers’ secondary took advantage of all the pressure created by the team’s defensive front with three interceptions and six pass deflections. Most notable about the secondary’s performance was that they did this all without All-Pro cornerback J.C. Jackson, who missed this game due to an ankle injury. Although the team missed his presence, considering the Raiders’ new acquisition, Davante Adams put up ten catches for 141 receiving yards and a touchdown.
Adams was primarily covered by second-year CB Asante Samuel Jr., who ended up with an interception from Derek Carr to Davante Adams off of a deep shot. While Adams could get open through the game, the rest of the Raiders pass-catchers combined for a total of 154 receiving yards. Adams has been regarded as one of the best receivers in the NFL over the past few years, so it’s safe to say the Chargers should be pleased with the secondary’s overall performance. Still, they are undoubtedly looking forward to the return of Jackson.
The Chargers Early Tests Continue
The Chargers provided their fanbase with plenty of optimism going into the 2022 campaign. Even more so, considering the team’s last taste of regular season action in 2021 was spoiled by the Las Vegas Raiders. Although it was only the first game of the season, in many ways, this game had a measure of revenge, and the Chargers delivered on all three phases of the ball.
With Justin Herbert seemingly improving and the defense loaded with playmakers at every level, the sky is the limit for the team. They will look to build off this victory’s momentum as they travel to Arrowhead Stadium to face off against the Kansas City Chiefs on Thursday, September 15th, a game that could truly set a precedent for what to expect from this team moving forward.