What We Saw: Week 8

The QB List staff catches you up on everything you missed during Week 8 of the 2020 NFL season.

Chargers @ Broncos

 

This game was wild, and the finish we got was not the finish anyone expected after the snoozefest of a first half we had to endure. Justin Herbert led the Chargers to 14 points in the final 1:33 of the 1st half, and went into halftime with a 14-3 lead. They were up 24-3 midway through the third quarter, and the Denver offense looked like a dried-up well. Nothing was going their way, and Drew Lock was nearly picked off on a bad pass but the defender dropped the ball. On the ensuing third down play Lock converted on a nice pass to DaeSean Hamilton, then Phillip Lindsay ran 55 yards for a TD two plays later. Little did we know at the time, but this was the turning point in the game. Denver would go on to come back and win this game at the very last second, 31-30, breaking the hearts of Chargers’ fans everywhere. For the 4th time this season, the Los Angeles Chargers blew a 16+ point lead. How did we get here? Let’s dive in.

 

 

Los Angeles Chargers

 

Quarterback

 

Justin Herbert: 29/43, 278 yards, 3 TDs, 2 INT, 2 sacks | 3 carries, 21 yards

 

Justin Herbert‘s first pass was an interception on a deep ball thrown into double coverage – not a great start for the rookie, but it only improved from there. While he didn’t look very comfortable throwing from the pocket for most of the first half, he did throw for two TDs late in the first half. The first touchdown was on a 3rd and goal for the Chargers where Herbert had some time in the pocket and threw a beautiful pass to Keenan Allen.

 

 

After a three-and-out by the Broncos, Herbert was sacked on 1st down but was bailed out by an illegal contact penalty which gave the drive new life. He then drove the team down the field once again for another score, this time to the fullback Gabe Nabers for his first career touchdown reception.

At one point in this game, he completed 13 straight passes before a few key incompletions ended a drive in the 3rd quarter. After an interception gave the Chargers great field position in Broncos’ territory, Herbert threw an interception of his own on a jump ball to Mike Williams in the end zone. The defender made a good defensive play by getting his arm between Williams’ hands, and then came down with the ball on a one-handed catch.

Despite the loss and two interceptions, Herbert was good for most of this game. He certainly gave the team a chance to win, but the defense let him down.

 

  

Running Backs

 

Justin Jackson: 17 carries, 89 yards | 5 targets, 3 receptions, 53 yards

Joshua Kelley: 7 carries, 32 yards | 1 target, 1 reception, -7 yards

Troymaine Pope: 10 carries, 67 yards | 7 targets, 5 receptions, 28 yards

Gabe Nabers: 0 carries, 0 yards | 1 target, 1 reception, 2 yards, TD

 

There are three clear storylines from this backfield on Sunday, and each back has one of his own. I’ll start with Justin Jackson who had the most touches on the day and was clearly the most dynamic back. He had a nice reception on a key third-down early in the 2nd quarter that helped extend a drive, then had a long run near the end of the first half that led to a score a few plays later. He had two consecutive long plays late in the 4th quarter, a long reception followed by a long run, and he definitely looked the part of a starting RB against a tough Denver defense. It was a good day for Jackson overall.

Next up we’ve got Joshua Kelley, who had a nice 22 yard run in the 1st quarter but disappeared otherwise. Besides that play, Kelley had six carries for 10 yards and a single reception for -7 yards. Not great, Bob!

That brings us to Troymaine Pope. Who? Yeah, exactly. Pope is in his third season out of Jacksonville State and he looked fantastic in this one. He was getting plenty of passing down work, as well as work on first and second downs. He had a nice spin move and stiff arm on a catch late in the 2nd half on one of the Chargers’ scoring drives, and he was splitting the carries with Jackson pretty evenly for most of the game. He ended up leaving the game after taking a hit to the helmet by Kareem Jackson – it wasn’t obvious helmet-to-helmet contact, but contact was made to the head and Pope left the game for good. It was an unfortunate ending to a fantastic showing by the young RB, and he should be a popular waiver wire target in many leagues.

 

Wide Receivers/Tight Ends

 

Keenan Allen: 11 targets, 9 receptions, 67 yards, 1 TD | 0/1, 0 yards passing

Mike Williams: 8 targets, 5 receptions, 99 yards, 1 TD | 1 carries, 1 yard

Hunter Henry: 4 targets, 4 receptions, 33 yards

Jaylen Guyton: 4 targets, 1 reception, 3 yards

 

Keenan Allen had a typical Keenan Allen game on Sunday – double-digit targets, high catch rate, a touchdown and decent yardage. He even attempted a pass on an end-around in the 2nd half, but he threw the ball a bit too soon and Justin Jackson, while open, didn’t have time to make an adjustment before the ball fell incomplete.

Mike Williams was the story in this one. He had eight targets, catching five of them for 99 yards and a touchdown. One more yard would have gone a long way for those who started him this week, and he almost got that extra yard late in the 2nd half. He caught a ball down the sideline, tiptoed inbounds and tried to stretch the ball out over the goalline, but he ended up one yard short.

 

 

Fullback Gabe Nabers would end up catching his first career touchdown on the next play, but Williams would get his score later on. On the first drive of the 2nd half, he made a nice one-handed grab for a 21-yard TD to cap off his fantastic fantasy performance.

 

 

 

Denver Broncos

 

Quarterback

 

Drew Lock: 26/41, 248 yards, 3 TDs, 1 INT, 2 sacks | 2 carries, -1 yards

 

Drew Lock looked terrible in the first half of this one. He looked uncomfortable in the pocket, made multiple throws without setting his feet, and couldn’t get anything going on offense. He had a chance to drive down the field with two minutes left in the first half, but he made two poor throws on first and second down, then had a pass batted away by Chargers’ cornerback Casey Hayward on third down to end the drive. Lock didn’t inspire much confidence in the rest of the offense throughout the first half, and they simply lacked a spark until the third quarter.

After Lindsay’s touchdown to make it a 14 point game, Lock did throw a bad interception where he pump-faked to get his receiver open, but he stared the receiver down the entire time and the safety came over to make a great play on the ball. It’s instances like these where Lock needs to improve and learn to look the safety off. It was a bad mistake that gave the Chargers great field goal position, and it should have been the dagger had Herbert not thrown a pick of his own just a few plays later.

Lock went on to throw a 43-yard pass to Jerry Jeudy on 3rd and 16 which ended up being another turning point in this game on a scoring drive.

 

 

That play led to a 9-yard touchdown throw to Albert Okwuegbunam, who made a phenomenal leaping grab to secure the ball and get the Broncos within one score.

 

 

That score ended up being the first of three straight touchdown-scoring drives by the Broncos en route to their victory. Joey Bosa ended up leaving this game with a concussion and did not return. I think that really allowed Lock to have some time in the pocket, get comfortable, and make some throws in the 4th quarter of this game. On the final drive of the game, down six, Lock was dinking and dunking to Melvin Gordon, then got close enough to attempt a pass to the end zone with seven seconds left. A pass interference penalty was called, giving Denver the ball at the one-yard line with one second left. Enter K.J. Hamler time:

 

 

It was a heck of an ending to a heck of a game, and Lock ended up with a good stat line for your fantasy team after a dismal start to the game. After watching this one, it’s clear that Lock still has some work to do if he’s going to take the next step this year, but this game could help give him some confidence heading into next week.

 

 

Running Backs

 

Melvin Gordon: 8 carries, 26 yards | 7 targets, 6 receptions, 21 yards

Phillip Lindsay: 6 carries, 83 yards, 1 TD | 3 targets, 1 reception, 3 yards

 

When it comes to the running backs, it’s clear to me that Phillip Lindsay is the most talented of the two in this backfield. Lindsay looked quick and agile in his seven touches on the day, and his 55-yard touchdown midway through the 3rd quarter helped give the offense the spark that it needed to begin their comeback.

 

 

It was the longest run by a Bronco this season, and he had another run of 10+ yards that was called back by a penalty.

Melvin Gordon, however, was the back on the field for most of the final drive, which tells me that they’re still stubbornly leaning on him for lead-back duties. He converted a key 3rd and 1 late in the game to extend a drive, then got most of the work on the last drive including a few targets that he didn’t really do anything with. I will give him credit, however, for that 3rd down conversion as he bobbled the ball, secured it, then extended the ball over the line to gain as he was being brought down to the ground. It was good to see the fight out of him on that play, but I do think Lindsay would have also made the same play if it were him on the field instead. Overall, this backfield is a toss-up at this point, but after today I would rather roster Lindsay moving forward if I had the choice.

 

Wide Receivers/Tight Ends

 

Jerry Jeudy: 10 targets, 4 receptions, 73 yards

Noah Fant: 9 targets, 7 receptions, 47 yards

DaeSean Hamilton: 5 targets, 4 receptions, 82 yards, 1 TD

Albert Okwuegbunam: 1 target, 1 reception, 9 yards

K.J. Hamler: 3 targets, 3 receptions, 13 yards, 1 TD

 

It’s disappointing to see Jerry Jeudy with only four catches on ten targets, but at least he didn’t put up a goose egg. He had an early red zone target that Lock simply underthrew him on, and he didn’t end up seeing another chance for a score on the day. The 43-yard catch in the 3rd quarter was the bulk of his work in this one, but the ten targets is still a good sign moving forward.

When I went back to the stats and saw that Noah Fant had seven catches on nine targets I was honestly surprised. I don’t remember any real standout plays for him, which could be on me for not paying enough attention but I just think he had a mostly forgettable game on the day. Either way, you’ve gotta be happy with 11.7 PPR points from Fant after missing some time with an ankle injury.

Tim Patrick was out of this game, so DaeSean Hamilton took over his role and finished with a nice line, including a long touchdown that got Denver within three points.

 

 

Moving forward, Jeudy and Fant are the two weapons I want to roster in this offense. The Chargers’ defense isn’t bad, but it’s also not great, and Denver was lucky on a few key plays which helped them earn their third win of the season.

 

— Ben Brown (@FelixTheDog23 on Twitter, iamatechnician on Reddit)

One response to “What We Saw: Week 8”

  1. Really good website, thank you very much for showing us

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