San Diego Chargers Offense Will Determine Success in 2013

By Kenny Gardner
San Diego Chargers
Christopher Hanewinckel-USA Today Sports

The San Diego Chargers were horrible on offense during the 2012 NFL season.  The Lightning Bolts ranked 22nd in receiving yards, 30th in yards per reception, 31st in yards per rushing attempt and tied for last in rushing touchdowns.

San Diego’s defense was the weak link in 2011 because it ranked 20th in fewest yards per rushing attempt allowed while it ranked 28th in yards per pass attempt allowed.  San Diego ranked fifth and 12th in these categories during the 2012 season and there were only eight teams that allowed fewer yards per play.

Vincent Jackson led San Diego in receiving yards in 2008, 2009 and 2011 while he led the team in TD receptions in 2009 and 2011.  San Diego’s front office decided to let him go in free agency and he signed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.  Jackson ranked fifth in the NFL with a career high 1,384 receiving yards to go along with eight TD receptions which ranked 15th in the league.

Jackson averaged 86.5 receiving yards per game compared to Danario Alexander who led San Diego with 65.8 yards per game. Jackson’s season and San Diego’s lack of consistency in the receiving game proved that the front office made a mistake by letting him go.

When San Diego did not have a losing record from 2004-11, their average ranking in yards per play on offense was seventh compared to 2012 when they ranked 30th in yards per play.

While yards per play may be viewed as a weird statistic to look at by some, it is the best way to measure a team’s offense.  San Diego ranked fifth in points per game and 18th in yards per play in 2007, which shows that the defense and special teams set up the offense with great field position to start their drives.

San Diego needs Ryan Mathews to return to form in order for its rushing attack to improve.  Mathews averaged a career low 3.8 yards per attempt to go along with a career low one rushing TD.  Mathews’ season high in rushing yards was 95 against the Cleveland Browns while he had four games in 2011 in which he had at least 100 rushing yards.

The rushing attack is San Diego’s biggest concern on offense because they were tied with the Oakland Raiders for last with four rushing touchdowns during the 2012 season.  San Diego needs better play from its offense in 2013, if it is going to make it to the playoffs for the first time since the 2009 season.

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