This season for the 2023 Los Angeles Chargers has been mostly disappointing and confusing to watch at times. Are the Chargers any good? How do they stack across the rest of the league?
Assessing the Chargers Current Ranks in the NFL
Before the start of Week 13, the Chargers currently hold the 12th overall selection. At 5-7, this would put them at a less than subpar winning percentage of .417. The Chargers are currently 2-4 at home, giving plenty of season ticket holders disappointment. On the road, they are 3-3 showing no movement in any direction on the winning and losing spectrum. Lastly, in the AFC West, the Chargers are currently 1-1 and rank third in the division, just above the Raiders.
The Chargers have been quite inconsistent on offense, and that would mainly fall on their run game, pass protection on crucial downs, and drops. However, on paper, the Chargers current rankings paint a better picture. Ranking in the middle of the league at 16 in total offensive yards is underwhelming considering you have Justin Herbert and Keenan Allen on pace for great seasons.
Herbert and the Chargers rank 11th in offensive pass yards per game with 240.9, doing so while not focusing in on the short passing game, what brings them lower to league average across all offensive yards?
That would be their rushing offense, which ranks 25th in the league. Though that is not exactly last in the NFL, it pretty much has been since week two. The Chargers had a great game on the ground in week one and that is still carrying this team’s rushing ranks. Some may argue it is just not enough attempts for the Chargers rushers. That would be wrong, as their yards per attempt across the league as a team would rank them 23rd.
The Chargers offense ranks middle of the pack and has been quite sluggish at times during this season. With high expectations before the season, this comes as quite a disappointment.
The Chargers defense has been far from great, and plenty will recognize that. So, how bad have they really been? Is it overblown by the media to save Justin Herbert from looking bad? The truth is, the Brandon Staley-led defense has been atrocious this season.
The Chargers team defense ranks fifth-worst in the league in yards given up but only 14th in points allowed. The Bolts are also second-to-last in air yards given up, rank last in yards after catch given up, third in yards per attempt given up, and rank tied-for-second for last in interceptions collected, failing to create turnovers for this offense that cannot do anything off of them anyway.
On a positive note, the Chargers run defense has taken a big step up from the previous seasons, being the league average at 16th in the NFL in rushing yards allowed. The caveat to the positivity of the rush defense is that the Chargers are so bad against the pass, that teams are inclined to pass rather than rush the ball.
As of week 12, the Chargers rank LAST in the league in yards after catch given up. Inexcusable. pic.twitter.com/OSEiSUaPz2
— Nate Gosney (@NateGosney) December 7, 2023
Where the Chargers have been the best year is extremely surprising. That is on special teams. The Chargers have the best punt-returning unit in the league, ranking first in yards, tied-for-first in touchdowns with one, and second in the league in yards per return. On the kick-returning side of things, it has been a different story. The Chargers have only returned the ball seven times, which would place them second to fewest in the league, whilst ranking seventh 26th in yards per return.
The special teams units covering opposing returns the Bolts rank seventh-best in yards given up, and tenth-best in yards per return. As for kick returns, the Chargers are sixth-best in yards given up and T-3rd-best in yards per return given up.
A great improvement from the Chargers of the past, mainly thanks to special teams coach, Ryan Ficken.
Main Image:Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports