Washington (10-4) vs Chargers (12-2) – GOTW Week 16 Preview
Week 16 brings us a contest between 2 of the very best teams from both the NFC and AFC. This should give us a great look at what to expect from these teams come playoff time when the spotlights are on and the opponent across from you is worthy of the moment. This could also be a potential preview of the Super Bowl, who knows?
Chargers & Washington games common opponents
week 2: LAC 48 – 35 DAL
week 5: LAC 52 – 38 NYG
week 10: LAC 41 – 24 PHI
Week 14: WAS 37 – 24 DAL
Week 11: WAS 29 – 28 NYG
Week 7: WAS 41 – 31 PHI
Tale of the Tape: Washington Football Team
6-2 record vs .500+ opponents
+7 average point differential vs .500+ opponents
17th in total offensive yards
5th in passing yards
30th in Rushing Yards yards
9th in average points scored (34)
3rd Fewest yards allowed
9th in passing defense
4th in rushing defense
6th in fewest points allowed (26)
KMFO’s Players to Watch for the Football Team
QB Dwayne Haskins. When going against a defense that is miles ahead of the rest of the league I’m getting interceptions, your QB has to be sharp. This defense will make you pay for mistakes, so Haskins needs to play smart but also continue to make the big plays he has been known for this season.
FS Troy Apke. With the Chargers main weapon in their passing attack having 98 speed, it’s going to be up to Apke to prevent some big plays this game. He is the fastest player on the Washington Defense and has 8 interceptions on the season so expect him to be flying around the field trying to make plays and slow down Rico Gafford.
KMFO’s Keys to Victory for Washington
Make some big plays on offense. Long drives against the Chargers will turn into interceptions eventually more often than not. Their defense is too loaded with ballhawks to expect to string together a 12 play drive and end with points every time. Washington will need to have some big strikes on offense.
Create turnovers. The Chargers will take the ball away, they always do. So Washington needs to make sure they create some turnovers of their own or they have no chance.
Stop Ekeler. This is Ekeler’s comeback game, he will be the main focus of the Chargers offense once again, so Washington can’t let him get going. He must be the focus whenever he is in the backfield.
KMFO’s Interview with Washington Head Coach, Tbandit
Question: At 11-3, you may be too far out of reach to get the #1 seed for the playoffs but you have also done enough to clinch yourself a playoff spot. Going into these last couple of weeks of the season, are you still going balls to the wall to win each of these games and build momentum into your Super Bowl run? Or are you planning on resting some starters these last couple of weeks to ensure that everyone is healthy come playoff time?
Answer: We aren’t resting anybody in Washington and we plan on winning out so we can secure the #2 seed. I know it seems risky but need as many reps as possible especially with this young recieving core.
Question: The Charger Defense is unquestionably the #1 defense in the league. They rank #1 in fewest passing yards allowed, fewest rushing yards allowed, fewest points allowed, and have forced an NFL record number of turnovers. What are some of the highlights of your offensive gameplan for this week? What do you tell your offense and your Quarterback leading up to a game against a defense that has shown no mercy to even the best offenses it has faced this season?
Answer: We can’t really give away out gameplan but we’ll definetely be up for the task. Honestly.. I told my guys just go out and ball like they always do because we feel like when we don’t beat ourselves we can’t nbe stopped. We respect the Chargers and their dominant defense but we dont fear them and will be testing out that ‘top” passing defense early.
Tale of the Tape: Los Angeles Chargers
3-3 record vs .500+ opponents
+7.8 average point differential vs .500+ opponents
18th in total offensive yards
23rd in Passing yards
9th in rushing yards
1st in average points scored (41)
1st in Fewest Yards allowed
1st in passing defense
1st in rushing defense
T-1st in average fewest points allowed (20)
KMFO’s Players to Watch for Chargers:
RB Austin Ekeler. This is Ekeler’s first game back healthy after being injured in week 13 on his first carry. Before then, he was on pace to lead the league in rushing so we are expecting him to back a comeback game to make up for what he missed. The Chargers will need production from him as the Washington Defense isn’t easy to pass against.
WR Rico Gafford. With 98 speed, this man has really developed into an elite threat at receiver. He is getting hot right now with 4 100+ yard games in a row and at least 1 touchdown in each of those games.
FS Montae Nicholson. The Chargers are facing a gunslinger at QB in Dwayne Haskins. He will make his plays but he has had an interception problem so look for Nicholson to take full advantage of that.
KMFO’s Keys to Victory for the Chargers
Do what they do. The Chargers Defense is all about creating turnovers and shutting down opponents. This will win the Chargers every big game they’re in. They have accepted the challenge multiple times this season of facing top offenses and making them look average, so they’ll look to do it again. Despite a very tough schedule, the Chargers Defense is still ranked #1 in every category.
Trust Ekeler. He may find it tough to produce on the ground every play against this elite front line of the Washington Defense, but they just have to keep feeding him the rock and he will show why he is leading the league in rushing yards per game. Ekeler was an MVP candidate before missing some action, so he has some ground to make up now!
Get the ball to Gafford. Guys with 98 speed make plays. Let Gafford touch the football in space and he will do something special. It might not be perfect every time, but that kind of speed demands the opponent to be perfect when tackling him. I think the Chargers should make sure that Gafford gets plenty of touches because eventually he will make a big play and that can break the game wide open.
Interview with Chargers head coach, Hypemike
Question: You’re in a 3-way tie for the #1 seed in the AFC. 12-2 with only two games left and a tiebreaker lead on the Patriots but you would lose in a tiebreaker to the Ravens. How close are you paying attention to the last couple of games these other teams are playing, or are you just focusing on what you can control and making sure you win-out? Is that #1 seed and a first round bye in the playoffs worth the risk of losing a key starter in these last 2 games when you have already clinched a playoff spot?
Answer: I haven’t been paying attention to the other teams but I am aware of the race to the 1 seed. I’ll be playing my starters to secure that seed because I think it’s important in a conference this competitive. I’m controlling what I can and never really am one to worry about everything else going on in the league.
Question: After losing Ekeler to an injury on his first carry in week 13 while he was on pace to lead the league in rushing, how happy are you to finally be getting him back in the lineup? Can we expect to see the same Ekeler that was taking the league by storm before his injury, or are you planning on working him back in slowly to get him ready for your Super Bowl run?
Answer: I am ecstatic Ekeler is coming back. He and my second best pass rusher (Nwosu) went down. Nwosu will be back for playoffs. If it wasn’t for a few disconnects Ekeler would’ve led the league in rushing and TDs for an HB. He had nearly 6+ TDs before disconnects. Everything for my Chargers team went as planned except with Herbert, but in year 2 I planned on making Ekeler an X Factor. It has come to fruition thankfully, even though his superstar abilities don’t help me at all. I can’t say on what to expect because I’m one to play on the fly, I don’t gameplan or anything so I’ll see where the game takes me. I’m developing my other young core on this team and have been doing so recently. However, best believe Ekeler will be on the field though and should get a few carries.
Post Game review:
• Final Score: Chargers 33 – 27 Washington
This game had it all. A wonderful performance by Washington for 3 1/2 quarters of football made them appear as if they were primed for an upset with a commanding 2 score lead in the last few minutes of the game. Then the Chargers showed why they’re an elite team. Herbert lead a great comeback to score a TD late in the game and then used practically no time left to bring his team in range for a long FG with 2 seconds left on the clock to send it into overtime. The magic didn’t stop there. After receiving the opening kickoff, Herbert lead a flawless drive for the Chargers to march them all the way down the field and capped off the drive with a laser beam to the back of the endzone for the game winning Touchdown. Washington played one heck of a game though, and lead on the scoreboard for most of the game. In the end, Washington just couldn’t overcome Haskins 3 interceptions. When the Football Team needed their quarterback to step up, he instead insisted on keeping the Chargers in the game despite a heroic effort by the Washington Defense all game long.
Players of the Game:
• QB Justin Herbert, LAC: 39-50 for 351 yards, 1 TD and 1 INT
• TE Hunter Henry, LAC: 14 Receptions for 148 yards
• SS Derwin James, LAC: 5 tackles and a clutch INT
• RB Bryce Love, WAS: 15 carries for 103 yards and a TD
• WR Terry McLaurin, WAS: 7 receptions for 139 yards and a TD
• FS Troy Apke, WAS: 5 tackles and an INT
The way Washington played this game against one of the best if not the best team in the AFC should give their locker room and their fans hope for what the playoffs have in store for them. This is a dangerous team that can beat anyone, and a Super Bowl can very well be in their future this season.