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Panthers at Chargers offensive preview: Panthers need to slow down Chargers pass rush

The Los Angeles Chargers have some dudes that can get after the quarterback. Do the Panthers have some dudes that can stop them?

NFL: San Diego Chargers at Carolina Panthers
This game is gonna feel weird
Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

Largely due to a couple Teddy Bridgewater turnovers, the Panthers started the game against the Buccaneers down 21-0 at halftime, which is never a good sign. Add in the fact that Christian McCaffrey will be out for “multiple weeks,” and we’ve got ourselves a recipe for disaster against a solid Los Angeles Chargers defense.

Panthers offense

After a pretty solid showing by Teddy Bridgewater against the Raiders, he came down to earth this past weekend. His two turnovers were instrumental in digging the team a rather large whole to climb out of. While he did lead the team to a pretty successful second half, he’ll have to be better for the Panthers offense to be good, especially in light of the fact that CMC won’t be around to carry the rest of the offense.

CMC’s replacement, Mike Davis, had a really solid game. While no one in the league can replicate what McCaffrey brings to the table, Davis did end up with eight catches for 74 yards. He only had one rush in the game, so he’ll need to put in work in that aspect on Sunday for the offense to be effective. DJ Moore and Robby Anderson also played very well against the Bucs. Now the Panthers just have to get Curtis Samuel going in order to really keep opposing defenses honest.

The Bucs game was also the first this year where the offensive line struggled a bit protecting the signal caller and opening lanes for the runningbacks. The unit allowed five sacks against a very good Buccaneers pass rush, and this week does not get any easier.

Chargers defense

The Bucs have a very talented defensive line, but few in the league are as talented as the group the Chargers trot out there every week. The biggest challenge is Bosa the Elder (Joey), who is as close to unblockable as you can get. They also boast Linval Joseph in the middle and Melvin Ingram III as another edge rusher. While they’ve only notched four sacks so far this year, this is a group that could dominate any given game.

If the Chargers have a weakness on defense, it would probably be their linebackers. While they are effective, they don’t fill up the stat sheet. The teams leading tackler is linebacker Kenneth Murray, but none of them have any sacks or forced fumbles, and Denzel Perryman has the unit’s only interception so far.

The secondary has also played well so far this season: they held Patrick Mahomes to 23 points in overtime! Casey Hayward gets challenged a lot, as evidenced by his 14 solo tackles to start the year. That makes sense when Chris Harris Jr is the corner opposite him. Desmond King also splits a good amount of time between corner and safety, depending on the situation.


If Teddy can keep the ball safe and Mike Davis can perform well, then the Panthers have a chance to not get eaten alive by the Chargers defense. The potential for an absolute bloodbath is there, especially if the team falls behind on the scoreboard again this week. If Bosa and Company get to be laser-focused on rushing the passer, it’ll be a painful week for Teddy. The best bet for the Panthers would be running the ball or using short passes to the boundaries to help keep those pass rushers off balance. Overall, I give the advantage to the Chargers defense on this one.