For starters, the Chargers of late have been a lot better finishers.
4 consecutive video games have introduced double-digit deficits after the opening quarter.
But the crew has gone 3-1 over that stretch by rebounding from two-score variations towards Cleveland, Denver and Atlanta.
“It’s hard to come back in the NFL,” security Derwin James Jr. stated. “If we’re coming back from down two possessions, we gotta be doing something right.”
True, however the Chargers are also doing one thing fallacious in repeatedly placing themselves in positions to need to rally within the first place.
They’ve been outscored 51-3 of their previous 4 first quarters, a pattern that greater than possible would doom them Sunday night time towards a San Francisco crew that’s anticipated to current a pointy improve in opposition.
The 49ers lead the NFL in whole protection and have an offense that features Christian McCaffrey, Deebo Samuel and George Kittle. In addition they are rested and more healthy after having final week off.
Sitting at a modest 4-4, San Francisco has turn into a well-liked Tremendous Bowl decide after buying and selling for McCaffrey final month after which throttling the reigning NFL champion Rams on Oct. 30.
The Chargers’ locker room is dotted with former Rams, together with defensive linemen Sebastian Joseph-Day and Morgan Fox and linebacker Troy Reeder, every of whom beforehand knew the 49ers as NFC West rivals.
Joseph-Day stated he and Fox not too long ago shared with teammates “how fast and how physical it’s going to be. Troy was saying, ‘You can’t be caught with your cleats not in the ground. They’ll punch you in the mouth.’ ”
San Francisco figures to come back out swinging towards the Chargers, who’ve to find a technique to keep away from one other sluggish begin.
Solely twice this season have they entered the second quarter with a lead: 3-0 versus Kansas Metropolis in Week 2 and 7-0 at Houston in Week 4.
That sport towards the Texans — on Oct. 2 — was the final time the Chargers had been forward at any level of a gap quarter.
In looking for a kick-start, coach Brandon Staley defined that he altered practices this week. He structured the classes in order that the Chargers bought into crew intervals sooner.
“I want to make sure that our players know that we’re going to make that a point of emphasis,” Staley stated. “Hopefully, we can start faster. … I think our guys know that, ‘Hey, we made it tough on ourselves and why did that happen?’
“It comes down to the execution early on in the game and being aggressive, being aggressive and bringing that mindset. … We’re going to be practicing on it. We’re going to be working on it. Hopefully, it will translate.”
The sluggish begins have been complete, the Chargers lagging on each side of the road of scrimmage.
Right here’s what their eight first-quarter possessions have yielded over the past 4 video games: one discipline aim, three punts, two failed fourth downs and two turnovers.
Right here’s what their opponent’s 11 first-quarter possessions have yielded: six touchdowns, three discipline targets, one punt and one interception.
Offensive coordinator Joe Lombardi stated there’s no “magic formula” to fixing the Chargers’ early struggles. Linebacker Drue Tranquill famous that there isn’t a standard thread, saying that it has been one thing completely different every week.
Lombardi instructed the issue might merely defy rationalization.
“One of my favorite books is ‘Fooled by Randomness,’ ” he stated. Soccer is “17 games. It’s different than baseball where there are 400 at-bats or however many. Sometimes, the coin comes up heads four times in a row.”
The pregame toss Sunday will show attention-grabbing, a faster begin for the Chargers depending on both Justin Herbert shifting the ball or the protection stopping Jimmy Garoppolo from doing the identical.
Staley stated issues haven’t reached a degree the place he’d think about receiving the opening kickoff versus deferring — the extra conventional resolution — if the Chargers had been to win the toss.
Whether or not on offense or protection first, Staley’s crew can be on nationwide show, the Chargers set to play a second consecutive Sunday night time sport.
“I don’t think the lights or the cameras add anything,” Joseph-Day stated. “Playing this game, you [always] want to put your best product out on the field. It just happens to be in prime time. It’s cool and it’s a blessing. People are going to be able to watch our team, watch who the Chargers are.”
And, of explicit significance, watch how the Chargers begin.