Can the Chargers get back on right track vs. 49ers?

Los Angeles Chargers, San Francisco 49ers


Last week’s loss to the Rams wasn’t necessarily surprising, but the Chargers are set up well for a rebound in Week 4.

The Los Angeles Chargers have gone loss-win-loss to start the season, with the losses coming to a couple teams that are 3-0 (Kansas City Chiefs, Los Angeles Rams) and a win over the Buffalo Bills in between. But Week 4 brings an opportunity to get back on track, and avoid another patented slow start.

The San Francisco 49ers entered the season with a lot of hype. Withstanding the loss of running back Jerick McKinnon to a torn ACL before the season started was one thing. But along with a loss to the Chiefs last Sunday, to drop them to 1-2 on the season, quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo suffered a torn ACL of his own late in the game and his season is of course over.

The 49ers worked out multiple quarterbacks this week, but did not sign anyone. C.J. Beathard is going to step in for Garoppolo for the rest of the season anyway, barring a trade, and 2017 undrafted free agent Nick Mullens has been promoted from the practice squad to be the backup.

Beathard played in seven games as a rookie last year, with five starts. Overall he threw for 1,430 yards with four touchdowns and six interceptions while completing 54.9 percent of his passes. Narrowing in on the five starts, Beathard averaged 237 yards per game with three touchdowns, five interceptions and a 55.3 percent completion rate.

Even without defensive end Joey Bosa (foot) for a while longer and defensive tackle Corey Liuget (suspension) for one more week, the Chargers’ defense should have no trouble containing a 49ers’ offense led by Beathard. In four of his five starts last season, San Francisco scored 10 or fewer points when he was on the field (Garoppolo replaced Beathard late in the fifth start, and took over as the starter the next week).

Defensively, the 49ers will also be without cornerback Richard Sherman (calf) for the next few weeks. So the league’s 27th-ranked pass defense is going to be further challenged against a prolific Chargers passing game. Chargers wide receiver Keenan Allen popped up on the injury report midweek with a knee issue, but by all accounts he’s expected to play on Sunday.

The Chargers put themselves behind the eight-ball by starting 0-4 and 1-4 in the last two seasons. Sunday’s game starts what looks like a softer part of the schedule for them though, with the Oakland Raiders, Cleveland Browns and Tennessee Titans on the slate from Week 5-Week 7 before a Week 8 bye.

Next: Best FanDuel NFL value plays for Week 4

Losses to the Chiefs and Rams are something a lot of teams will have this year, but with those games behind them a nice run of wins could be coming for the Chargers. But it all starts with taking care of business as expected at home on Sunday, against a reeling and depleted 49ers’ squad.

 



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