Chargers Offensive Line Passes First Test, Shutting Down Raiders Pass Rush in Season Opener

The Chargers offensive line turned in a solid Week 1 performance in the team’s 24-19 win over the Raiders.

The Chargers offensive line held up strong in the 2022 season opener, keeping the pocket clean for quarterback Justin Herbert for the greater part of four quarters.

First-round pick Zion Johnson made his NFL debut at right guard and Trey Pipkins, who won the starting right tackle job in training camp, handled the duties off the edge. With two new starters joining the group up front, the Chargers entered Week 1 with a bit of uncertainty in how they would fare against the Raiders’ stout pass rush.

Ultimately, the Chargers won the battle in the trenches, keeping Maxx Crosby and Chandler Jones in check by not allowing a sack in Week 1.

“The reason why Maxx and Chandler have a lot of chatter is because they’ve earned it. They’re two of the top players in the league. Certainly, at the front of our minds,” coach Brandon Staley said following the Chargers’ 24-19 win. “They both played really good games for them. They’re just really tough play to against. It takes all 11 to be able to take on those two guys. I thought that our offense really competed.

“I thought that our O-line, Zion in his first start, just going out there against a group like that and being able to perform. Those five guys playing together, our protection plan, that was outstanding. Justin using his legs and the receivers and backs doing a good job of getting open. It was a tough game. It was just one of those tough NFL football games today. A well-played game by both teams.”

Herbert had ample time in the pocket to distribute the ball accordingly, completing 26 of 34 passes for 279 yards and three touchdowns. The Raiders did, however, come away with three quarterback hits on Herbert, but the Chargers’ signal-caller said postgame that he was pleased with the offensive line’s performance.

“No sacks, we moved the ball well, we ran the ball well. We needed to be more consistent in the second half,” Herbert said of the offense. “But I thought the offensive line played really well today.”

The Chargers offense was a top five unit last season. And now, with an offensive line whose early impressions indicate it could take a step forward this year, the offense as a whole could post better numbers in 2022 with better pass protection.

The Chargers will turn the page on a short week and prepare for the Chiefs as they head to Kansas City for Thursday Night Football.

Similar to the Raiders’ defensive line, the Chiefs also posses two notable pass rushers with Frank Clark coming off the edge and Chris Jones from the interior. The Chargers offensive line will look to deliver similar results to how they fared in Week 1 in hope of getting off to a 2-0 start with wins over a pair of AFC West opponents.

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Nick Cothrel is the publisher of Charger Report. Follow Nick on Twitter @NickCothrel for more Chargers coverage.

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