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Five questions with Bolts From The Blue

We asked our friends on the west coast about the Chargers.

This Sunday, the Buffalo Bills will have their home opener against the Los Angeles Chargers. Last season—if you remember—this match-up did not work in the Bills’ favor, but this is a new season with both teams coming off Week One losses. We talked to Jamie Sewell from Bolts From The Blue to get an update on the Chargers ahead of this Week Two competition where, statistically speaking, the loser will not have a good chance at making the postseason.

What was the biggest takeaway from the week one game against the Chiefs?

Good question. For the biggest takeaway, I’d have to say that it was Philip Rivers proving that he’s got more than a little left in the tank. Rivers had the best game I’ve seen him have in a long time. He made one questionable decision when trying to chase the game that led to an interception, but was nearly flawless aside from that—and if his receivers didn’t let him down with crucial drops, he could have easily thrown for 500 yards and five touchdowns, and that’s not an exaggeration.

Rivers was throwing dimes all day while getting hit, and looked as comfortable as ever in the pocket. He’s primed for a big year as he looks to make one last run at getting a ring.

How do you think the defense will prepare knowing now that they are facing Josh Allen instead of Nathan Peterman?

I was personally hoping it’d be Peterman starting, because for all Allen’s flaws, there’s absolutely no question that he can hurt you with his arm. That might lead to the Chargers playing a little bit more cautiously on defense, but I wouldn’t anticipate wholesale changes. Gus Bradley plays a lot of Cover-3, and usually trusts his four guys upfront to create pressure without relying on blitzes too heavily. Without Joey Bosa, the Chargers really struggled to get to Patrick Mahomes last week though, so I could see Gus throwing some more blitzes at Allen, especially as he’s a rookie making his first NFL start. Although, I think that’d have been the case whether it was Allen or Peterman going up against the Bolts this week.

What is the updated status on Joey Bosa?

He’s looking certain to miss this week, unfortunately. The latest report is that it’s a ‘bone bruise’ and that he’s still week to week, but it sounds like the Chargers are anticipating being without him for at least a couple of games. The Chargers have a terrible record with injuries, both with their frequency and how well they actually diagnose them, so Bosa has gone from ‘being ready to play today if he has to’ about a month ago, to looking like missing the first month of the season. I think we’re just going to have to wait and see, but it’s good news for Josh Allen this week.

When you beat an opponent so badly like the Chargers did to the Bills last season, how do you think the team is mentally preparing themselves to not look down on the Bills heading into this week.

If the Chargers needed humbling, last week should have done it. Despite the Chargers being a lot of people’s favorites to win the division, the Kansas City Chiefs showed them who still runs the AFC West with a dominant display. The Chargers got nowhere near the Chiefs who seemed to score at will, and the Chargers were simply outclassed, both in terms of players and coaching. That makes it nine wins in a row for Kansas City over the Chargers, and if there’s any player in the Chargers’ locker room that was anticipating an easy game this week, the embarrassment of being schooled in their season opener should have changed their minds.

Who is a player you would like to see bounce back in Week two after a rough game in week 1?

Honestly, there are a few. WRs Tyrell Williams and Travis Benjamin both had multiple drops on huge plays, some of which were easy touchdowns that just slipped through their hands. They let the team down in a big way. LG Dan Feeney struggled in the first start of his sophomore campaign after being a third-round pick a year ago, and an injury to starting RT Joe Barksdale thrust Sam Tevi into the fold, who’s up and down performances haven’t inspired a lot of confidence in the 2017 sixth-rounder’s ability to see meaningful action. The biggest disappointment for me, however, was the lackluster pass rush without Joey Bosa. Melvin Ingram is an excellent player but had very little success without Bosa on the other side, while Isaac Rochell and Chris Landrum—both of whom had shown promise as pass rushers in training camp and preseason—offered nothing to scare Mahomes. Second-round draft pick Uchenna Nwosu’s best trait is rushing the passer, and he strangely played just two snaps last week, but Head Coach Anthony Lynn has indicated that Nwosu figures to see more action this week. Either way, somebody needs to step up in Bosa’s absence.