Los Angeles Times

Lack of late offensive output has Chargers looking only half bad

The numbers show they score most of their points in the second quarter with a sharp drop after halftime.

- By Jeff Miller

The Chargers sit at .500 — 5-5 — but their season to date hardly is divided evenly.

Quite the opposite, in fact. This group has been first-half heavy, with a major emphasis on the second quarter. For a team that has lacked consistenc­y in 2022, the numbers on the scoreboard tell a stark tale.

The Chargers have scored 119 points in the second quarter and a combined 108 points the rest of the time. The lopsided output has became a more obvious issue as they’ve lost three of four games to fall out of playoff position.

When the Chargers scored on a six-yard reception by Joshua Palmer with 1:46 left in the fourth quarter Sunday against the Kansas City Chiefs, it ended at 14 a streak of second-half possession­s that didn’t reach the end zone.

“It’s not just about your offense,” coach Brandon Staley said. “It’s about your defense, too. It’s about how your defense and your special teams play are creating field position.

“There are a lot of factors besides just your offensive output. I think that’s where my focus is … our team coming together and playing that complement­ary football so that happens for all of us in every phase, not just one.”

Whatever the explanatio­n, the results are undeniable. Over their last three games, here are the outcomes of Chargers’ 16 possession­s after halftime: seven punts, three intercepti­ons, two fumbles, two field goals, one turnover on downs and one touchdown.

They led after two quarters in all three games and then were outscored in the second halves 3613.

Staley pointed to a lack of big plays contributi­ng to his team’s scoring struggles. Against Kansas City on Sunday, eight of the Chargers’ 10 longest gains came in the first half. In the game before that, at San Francisco, the Chargers’ longest play after halftime covered only 12 yards.

“You have to have explosions,” Staley said. “Driving the ball 10 to 12 to 15 plays, that’s really tough to do in this league. You have to get explosive plays, and you have to stay away from negative plays.

“I think that in the second half our execution just needs to be better. It’s not any facet of the run game or the pass game or what type of plays. You have to get the explosions no matter how you get them, run or pass.”

Staley dismissed the idea that the Chargers are losing a battle of adjustment­s, saying the focus right now is “just on us and taking care of our team and making sure we get everybody healthy so that we can go execute.”

Center Corey Linsley acknowledg­ed the Chiefs did show some looks after halftime that the Chargers weren’t expecting. But he said adjustment­s were made and paid off in the fourth quarter after the Chargers were limited to eight offensive snaps in the third quarter.

“It’s not any one person’s fault,” Linsley said. “We got to do a better job executing on the fly. We adjusted, and things worked better. That’s the positive that you’ve got to take from it.”

Only twice in 10 games — victories over Cleveland and Denver — have the Chargers won the second half. And they beat the Broncos 9-3 after halftime without scoring a touchdown.

As for their overall point production, the Chargers haven’t scored a touchdown on defense or special teams. Last season, they returned a kickoff and a fumble for scores.


Wide receiver Mike Williams (ankle) did not practice Wednesday. After missing two games, he returned Sunday but was hurt again on the Chargers’ second series and did not return . ... Running back Joshua Kelley (knee) returned to practice and is eligible to come off the injured reserve list starting this week . ... Cornerback Bryce Callahan (groin) also did not practice. Tight end Gerald Everett (groin) and punter JK Scott (quadriceps) were limited.

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