Here are five things to know about the Los Angeles Chargers (3-6, last in AFC West) ahead of their Week 11 meeting with the Bills:
1. Last game: As demoralizing as the Bills’ 47-10 loss to the Saints was, at least it wasn’t as heartbreaking as the way the Chargers lost Sunday. They were beating Doug Marrone’s 5-3 Jaguars with two minutes to go, 17-14, when Jags QB Blake Bortles threw an interception that should have just about wrapped up the game. Instead, the Chargers fumbled on the first play and gave the Jags the ball on the 36. Four plays later, Bortles threw another interception … but that still wasn’t the end. The Jags forced a punt and got the ball back, and then got into field-goal range thanks to a roughing the passer penalty and Jags kicker Josh Lambo hit a 34-yarder with seven seconds left to force overtime. In OT, Chargers QB Philip Rivers threw a pick and Lambo hit a 30-yarder to beat his former team. Ouch.
2. It’s the Anthony Lynn Bowl: Lynn, the former Bills offensive coordinator and running backs coach, is in his rookie season as a head coach in Los Angeles. Lynn came to Buffalo in 2015 with Rex Ryan and was promoted to offensive coordinator last September after Greg Roman was fired. Lynn interviewed for head-coaching vacancies with the Bills, Rams and 49ers last season before the Chargers gave him the keys to the franchise.
3. Back to L.A. … with an interesting stadium setup: It’s OK, you can admit it – you’ve referred to them as the San Diego Chargers a few times this season. The Chargers were founded in Los Angeles in 1960 but moved to San Diego the following year and stayed there for more than 50 years until returning to L.A. this season after owner Dean Spanos couldn’t reach a favorable stadium deal with the city. The stadium complex they’ll eventually share with the L.A. Rams isn’t built yet, so the Chargers are playing at the 27,000-seat StubHub Center this season – home of Major League Soccer’s LA Galaxy – and are reportedly having trouble even filling that stadium.
4. Is there a shakeup in their backfield? Melvin Gordon is the Chargers’ top running back, and he has put up some nice fantasy numbers this season, but undrafted rookie Austin Ekeler has been cutting into his workload lately and outgained him Sunday, 42-27, while also being the Chargers’ leading receiver with 77 yards and two touchdowns. He did have a late fumble that turned the tide back to Gordon, but whoever gets hot next week could be in for a big day against the suddenly vulnerable Bills defense.
5. Watch out for Bosa: The Chargers drafted defensive end Joey Bosa third overall in 2016 and he was an immediate star, logging 10.5 sacks in 12 games last season and 9.5 already this season. Entering Sunday, only Denver’s Von Miller, Arizona’s Chandler Jones and Atlanta’s Vic Beasely had more sacks since the start of last season. Bosa, only 22, also set an NFL record for most sacks through his first 20 games (19) earlier this month. The Bills’ shaky offensive line must come up with a plan to contain him.