Chargers and Rams Season Report Card
Story by Steve Zavala
After months filled with drama and unforgettable moments, the NFL season came to an end with the Patriots hoisting up the Lombardi trophy once again. For both Los Angeles teams, it was a season highlighted by dominant performances and underwhelming executions on the field. As the Chargers and Rams begin to prepare for the off-season, here is a look back at the memorable 2018 football season in LA.
For a team that endured multiple underachieving and disappointing seasons over the past decade, the 2018 Chargers finally lived up to their expectations in their second season in LA.
Even after a nerve-racking 1-2 start, the Chargers finished out the regular season with an impressive 12-4 record.
The team clicked on all cylinders as they ranked in the top 10 in both points per game and defensive points per game allowed. On offense, Philip Rivers led the way in a career year with 32 passing touchdowns and his 10th over 4,000 passing yards season. Over on defense, defensive coordinator Gus Bradley’s aggressive scheme made the Chargers pass with one of the most well-rounded pass defense in all of the NFL.
In the end, Philip Rivers’ hopes of finally making a Super Bowl appearance were once again crushed by New England as the Patriots eliminated the Chargers for the third time since 2006. Unlike in previous seasons, Chargers fans can feel positive about the team this year considering that they won a playoff game and numerous young talents, such as rookie standout Derwin James, will only improve from here on out.
Heading into the off-season, the front office will look to not only re-sign key players like Tyrell Williams and Brandon Mebane, but also add talent during the much-anticipated free agency period. With a projected $20.6 million in cap space, the team will not have an opportunity to make a couple of significant free agent signings. However, the team can possibly add a couple of under-the-radar players that can help them make a strong push into a Super Bowl appearance next season.
With the immense talent on both sides of the ball, the Chargers will undoubtedly be a serious contender in the AFC next season.
For the third straight year, LA sports fans witnessed one of their teams lose in the championship round as the Rams were defeated by the Patriots in Super Bowl 53. While the Rams’ play in the Super Bowl left many feeling perplexed about their overall game plan, it was far from being a good representation of how they played, nor was it emblematic of their season.
Throughout the season, the Rams were amongst the NFL’s elite pick thanks to their high-powered offense. Led by Jared Goff and reigning NFL Offensive Player of the Year Todd Gurley, the Rams offense were nearly unstoppable in the pass and run game. With head coach Sean McVay assisting in orchestrating the offensive game plan, the team finished second in the NFL in points per game with an astounding 32.9.
For longtime Rams fans, the 2018 team was reminiscent of the iconic “Greatest Show on Turf” Rams that dominated defenses throughout the early 2000s. But just like the historic offenses of the 2007 Patriots and 2013 Broncos did in their Super Bowl appearances, the Rams simply capitulated and collapsed in the biggest game of the season.
Rams fans can only hold their head up high after a promising year in Sean McVay’s second season with the team. Looking ahead, Rams General Manager Les Snead will look to build around the team’s young core in hopes of constructing the next dynasty in the NFL. Ultimately, the biggest question mark will come on defense as several key players like Lamarcus Joyner and Ndamukong Suh will become free agents this off-season.
While the Chargers and Rams had a disappointing ending to their seasons, the best is still yet to come. Both teams will head into next season with unfinished business as each will look to bring a Super Bowl title back to LA.