By Cindy Davis // XO_CindyDavis
New Orleans 36 – LA Chargers 7
The Chargers fell to the Saints in a disappointing 36-7 loss on Saturday, in the third week of the preseason. After scrimmaging and practicing together in the final week of training camp, the Saints dominated the Chargers for three quarters.
While this game was less than exciting for Chargers fans to watch, there were still some positive takeaways from this game.
Strong safety Derwin James immediately made his presence known by intercepting quarterback Drew Brees on 3rd and 5 in the Saints opening drive. Brees attempted to throw a deep ball to wide receiver Ted Ginn to pick up a first down. He ended up throwing into double coverage and found James instead. This play showed what James is capable of since the Chargers opted not to resign their former playmaking free safety, Tre Boston.
Despite this impressive play, James did also have a missed tackle early in the second quarter on Saint’s weapon, running back Alvin Kamara. Kamara thankfully got tripped up falling short of the end zone that down. This missed tackle gave the Saints great field position and Kamara scored a touchdown on the next drive. Overall, James did a good job of showing why he was the Chargers first-round draft pick at #17.
The second positive takeaway from this game was the run game. In the first quarter, the Saints and Chargers had their starters on the field. With RB Melvin Gordon out this game for personal reasons, the Chargers focused heavily on the run game this quarter and utilized RB Austin Ekeler. Ekeler was very impressive in the first quarter before being taken out and examined for an injury after battling a hamstring injury the previous week. The undrafted free agent never returned after that, but rushed six times for 50 yards and had three receptions for 13 yards.
The only score came from RB Detrez Newsome in one of his first carries. Newsome is still fighting for a roster spot. The offensive line also looked good blocking for the run game in the first quarter.
Detrez Newsome with the 5-yard TD to make it 7-0, Bolts. pic.twitter.com/pUbPzDyhsf
— Los Angeles Chargers (@Chargers) August 26, 2018
Unfortunately, after that, it was all Saints and downhill for the Chargers. While there were several key defensive and offensive players sidelined due to injuries this game, this showed that the team doesn’t have much depth at the second or third string. This could be extremely scary for the season if any starters are to get injured.
Additionally, we only got to see kicker Caleb Sturgis kick the extra point after the touchdown. He didn’t get toattempt any field goals. With the kicker competition still ongoing, it looks like the decision will probably come down to who looked the best in practice.
There is less than a week left until the 53 man rosters are named and only one more Sunday standing in the way of the regular season. The 1-2 Chargers will travel to face the 1-2 49ers to conclude their preseason on Thursday 8/30. This will give the second and third string players one more chance to show why they deserve to make the cut.
Talk Chargers with Cindy on Twitter // @XO_CindyDavis