Chargers takeaways: Defense is working sizzling; so is floor recreation

The Chargers beat the Rams 31-10 Sunday at SoFi Stadium to enhance to 10-6 and — coupled with Baltimore’s loss towards Pittsburgh — transfer into the No. 5 playoff seed within the AFC.

They’ll clinch the convention’s high wild-card place with a victory of their regular-season finale at Denver.

Some observations from their fourth consecutive win:

Defense continues to shine: The Chargers suffered a major collapse in surrendering a 42-yard run to Cam Akers 10 minutes into the sport.

Within the second quarter, they let Van Jefferson get free for a 39-yard reception and allowed Malcolm Brown to roar by the center for a 23-yard landing.

Past that, they stored the Rams largely in test, Baker Mayfield totaling solely 132 yards passing. Over their final eight quarters, the Chargers have given up just one landing and 215 web passing yards.

“I was very pleased with our second-half performance,” coach Brandon Staley stated. “I thought we rushed the passer really well. I thought we covered extremely well … I felt like we were connected. We competed.”

The Chargers restricted the Rams to 4 of 11 on third down and sacked Mayfield 3 times. Within the final 5 video games, the Chargers have allowed solely 13 of 53 third downs to be transformed.

The Rams reached the purple zone solely as soon as — on their second possession — however needed to accept a area purpose because of a third-down move breakup by Michael Davis.

KVN enjoying like MVP: One of many Chargers’ sacks was by veteran Kyle Van Noy, who now has sacks in 4 consecutive video games, a profession excessive.

“Just being healthy and being on the field,” Van Noy stated. “It takes a little while when you come from a different spot, just getting comfortable in the role and all that.”

In his ninth yr, Van Noy signed with the Chargers as a free agent in Could after spending time with New England, Miami and Detroit. He gained two Tremendous Bowls with the Patriots.

His third-quarter sack Sunday additionally resulted in a Mayfield fumble that Van Noy recovered. It was the one turnover of the sport.

“I think that he’s comfortable,” Staley stated. “He played in the same system for a long time. There are just little things [to adjust to]. Football is football to him, but I think that he is getting comfortable.”

The Chargers’ different two sacks — by Morgan Fox and Sebastian Joseph-Day — additionally got here from gamers who have been added within the offseason.

Chargers tight finish Gerald Everett (7) catches a landing move in entrance of Rams cornerback Troy Hill within the third quarter.

(Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Instances)

A 3rd-quarter TD … lastly: For the primary time since Week 5, the Chargers scored a third-quarter landing. Ending that drought was simply one of many notable moments for an offense that rediscovered some rhythm Sunday.

“It was a big lift for them, like, ‘We scored this thing, and that’s kind of off our back now,’ ” Staley stated. “That’s what I think led to a complete performance, that third quarter leading to an even better fourth quarter.”

After receiving the opening kickoff of the second half, the Chargers went 75 yards in 11 performs.

Justin Herbert transformed a 3rd and one with a quarterback sneak. The landing got here on third and three from the six-yard line, Herbert hitting Gerald Everett.

“All four quarters, I thought that we moved the ball pretty well,” Herbert stated. “We did a lot of good things up front. We made some plays down the field. Overall, I thought that it was a great performance.”

Chargers tight end Donald Parham Jr. (89) catches a touchdown pass despite coverage by  Rams safety Taylor Rapp.

Chargers tight finish Donald Parham Jr. (89) catches a landing move regardless of protection by Rams security Taylor Rapp.

(Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Instances)

Huge rating for giant tight finish: After a season stuffed with well being points and missed time, tight finish Donald Parham Jr. lastly made it again to the tip zone, scoring on a three-yard move from Herbert early within the fourth quarter.

“The first one, I knew it was going to be sweet,” Parham stated. “Being out all season … it was a long time coming, for sure.”

In simply his fifth recreation and having performed restricted snaps when accessible, Parham additionally scored in the identical finish zone the place, in December 2021, he suffered a daunting concussion towards Kansas Metropolis.

After his catch Sunday, he stored the ball. Parham stated he could be sending it residence to his household in Florida. It was his first landing since Nov. 7, 2021.

“This one was a little more special,” Parham stated, “a little more personal.”

For the document: Austin Ekeler has 103 receptions for the season. Just one NFL working again — Christian McCaffrey — has had extra in a single season. McCaffrey had 116 catches for the 2019 Carolina Panthers and 107 for the ’18 Panthers. … Herbert reached 100 profession touchdowns — 92 passing, eight dashing — along with his two scoring tosses. He matched Dan Marino for probably the most mixed touchdowns for a participant in his first three NFL seasons.

In his personal phrases: “It’s cool. I don’t know how the hell he does it. It’s really neat. Like seeing it.” — Heart Corey Linsley on Mike Williams’ one-handed catch