News & Analysis

NFL Week 7 PFF ReFocused: Los Angeles Chargers 39, Jacksonville Jaguars 29

Oct 25, 2020; Inglewood, California, USA; Los Angeles Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert (10) throws against the Jacksonville Jaguars during the first half at SoFi Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Both teams entered the week with only one win under their belts, but the Los Angeles Chargers and Jacksonville Jaguars clashed in one of the most explosive and exciting games of Week 7. 

The Chargers reigned victorious, 39-29, despite the Jaguars showing life after a horrendous first quarter.

Editor's note: All of PFF's grades and advanced stats from this game will be finalized and made available to ELITE subscribers within 24 hours of the final whistle.

STORY OF THE GAME

Two things proved insurmountable for Jacksonville: the Chargers’ defensive line and rising star QB Justin Herbert. Gardner Minshew was pressured on a whopping 45% of his dropbacks compared to Herbert’s 9%. Three Chargers players had five or more QB pressures — Joey Bosa (7), Melvin Ingram III (6) and Jerry Tillery (5) — while the Jaguars had none. 

Herbert was electric once again, throwing for 347 yards and three touchdowns on 8.1 yards per attempt. All three of his passing touchdowns came on throws 20-plus yards downfield — that tied Russell Wilson for the most in a game this season. He also utilized his legs, carrying the rock six times for 66 yards and another score. 

Oct 25, 2020; Inglewood, California, USA; Los Angeles Chargers wide receiver Keenan Allen (13) runs the ball against the Jacksonville Jaguars during the second half at SoFi Stadium. Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Keenan Allen was a large reason for Herbert’s success, as the rookie QB looked the veteran’s way early and often. Allen did not score a touchdown today, but he made his impact felt. Allen reeled in 10 of his 13 targets for 125 yards, forcing three missed tackles and gaining seven first downs in the process. 

The pressure affected Minshew all game — and even when there was none, he struggled. One 17 pass attempts free of pressure, Minshew completed just nine for 97 yards and one touchdown. The only real bright spot on the Jaguars offense was undrafted rookie running back James Robinson. He ran the ball 22 times for 119 yards and a plunge into the end zone. He also added four receptions for 18 yards and another touchdown. 

ROOKIE WATCH

Outside of Herbert, Los Angeles had two other rookies see a significant amount of playing time. Fourth-round running back Joshua Kelley split time with Justin Jackson in the backfield, earning 12 attempts but only gaining 29 yards. He was a bit more effective in the passing game, hauling in five receptions for 24 yards but was unable to pass the pylon. First-round linebacker Kenneth Murray was on the field for 63 snaps and did not disappoint. He was strong against the run and allowed just two receptions for eight yards into his coverage. 

On the other side of the field, the Jaguars had rookies all over the place. Offensively, Laviska Shenault Jr. and Ben Bartch each earned 30 or more snaps. Bartch struggled, allowing two pressures on 19 reps in pass protection, with one being a near sack. He fared better in the running game, but even there he was far from excellent. Shenault made the most of his targets, pulling in all three for 44 yards, forcing three missed tackles and picking up two first downs.

Defensively, five rookies got the nod for over 20 snaps: C.J. Henderson (79), Davon Hamilton (55), Chris Claybrooks (42), Doug Costin (35) and K’Lavon Chaisson (27). Both of Jacksonville's first rounders had a rough day, with Henderson allowing five first downs on five receptions and Chaisson only generating only two QB pressures, both of which were cleanups. Hamilton, however, proved himself as a run-stuffer, generating three defensive stops and two tackles for loss or no gain on his three total  tackles against the run. He also generated three pressures of his own, hitting Herbert once and hurrying him on two more occasions. 

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