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Chargers in shock after Slater, Bosa suffers serious injuries


Shaken and hurt are two descriptions no team likes to have three weeks into the season. Still, that’s the position the Los Angeles Chargers find themselves in after their worst loss in Brandon Staley’s two-year tenure.

Sunday’s 38-10 rout of Jacksonville was not only the Chargers’ second straight loss, but the injured list grew as the game progressed.

Not only does quarterback Justin Herbert’s rib injury remain a concern, but offensive tackle Rashawn Slater will likely miss the rest of the season with a torn left bicep. And linebacker Joey Bosa has what coach Brandon Staley called a “significant groin injury” that will keep him out for some time.

The injuries come at the worst possible time for Los Angeles, which was already missing center Corey Linsley with a knee issue, wide receiver Keenan Allen (hamstring) and cornerback JC Jackson (ankle). Allen is expected to return to training this week, while the statuses of Linsley and Jackson remain undetermined.

“For injuries to happen to top players like us, it’s not uncommon,” Staley said. “And what you have to do is just weather this storm and stick together. I think that’s where we are right now.

Slater’s injury is the most significant and could cause reshuffling on the offensive line. Storm Norton played left tackle after Slater’s second-half exit but struggled most of last season starting at right tackle before Trey Pipkins won the job in training camp. Rookie goaltender Jamaree Salyer — who played tackle at the University of Georgia — could be another option.

Herbert played the whole game when he was out of range in the fourth quarter. Staley received a lot of criticism after the match for staying Herbert and said it was a joint decision.

A day later, Staley said that if the same situation arose, he would do a better job of communicating to Herbert that coming out would serve everyone better.

“At that time, I don’t regret the way we went through this together. But I think the lesson in moving forward is just to make sure he knows he’s done enough already,” Staley said. “Playing in this ball game alone shows how much Justin cares about them. And they know the type of fight he has.

WHAT WORKS

Punter JK Scott continues to show why he was the Chargers’ most underrated offseason signing. Scott’s average hanging time of 5.00 seconds is second in the league and allowed opposing returners to just 28 yards, which is fourth-fewest in the AFC.

WHAT NEEDS HELP

The running game has been abysmal, averaging just 2.64 yards per carry, 20 of their 64 attempts this season with no gain or negative yards, and only one run for 10 or more yards. The Jaguars made the Chargers a one-dimensional offense by holding them to zero rushing yards in the first quarter and 14 in the first half despite it being a nine-point game.

STORE

With Allen sidelined for the second straight game, Joshua Palmer stepped up with six receptions for 99 yards. Palmer’s best catch came on the final play of the third quarter, when he beat Jaguars CB Andre Cisco on a cross road and ran 45 yards down the left sideline before being pushed out of bounds for the Jaguars.

SOLD OUT

The pass rush was non-existent against the Jaguars. Besides generating no sacks, Trevor Lawrence only felt pressure on five of 39 dropouts and was pressed three times. Khalil Mack had no pressure after hitting nine, including 3 1/2 sacks, in the first two games.

INJURED

WR Jalen Guyton, who had a 54-yard reception on a third-quarter drive that set up a field goal, is also down for the season with a torn ACL. The injury occurred late in the fourth quarter.

KEY NUMBER

7 — The number of times since 2013 the Chargers have started 1-2. The only saving grace for Bolts fans right now is that the last two trips to the playoffs in 2013 and 2018 came after losing two of their first three games.

NEXT STEPS

The Chargers hit the road the next two weeks, starting Sunday against Houston. The Texans won three of the last four, including 41-29 in Week 16 last season that was part of a streak in which the Chargers lost three of their last four to miss the playoffs.

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