Chargers vs. Saints Takeaways: Easton Stick Struggles in Crucial Match
Backup quarterback Easton Stick had an inconsistent performance, finishing 21 of 41 for 233 yards with two interceptions and a lost fumble.
In a follow-up to his impressive performance against the Rams, No. 2 quarterback Easton Stick had a less consistent showing. He completed 21 of 41 passes for 233 yards, with two interceptions and a lost fumble.
Stick, who is entering his fifth season but his first as the backup, did manage to score two touchdowns and rushed for 63 yards on seven carries.
Coach Brandon Staley explained that Stick played the entire game because the increased snaps were significant for his development at this point.
Staley said, "Easton needed to play in a game like this. He was able to fight through some things and give us a chance to win in the two-minute drill."
With 2:35 remaining and the ball at their own 40-yard line, Stick led the offense to the Saints' 28-yard line, converting a fourth-and-23 along the way. However, his final pass on another fourth down was intercepted.
Stick did manage to put together an impressive two-minute drive at the end of the first half, marching the Chargers 74 yards in six plays and scoring on a six-yard run.
Overall, the offense struggled, converting only three of 15 third downs and two of five fourth downs.
Coach Staley expressed his disappointment, saying, "We didn't protect the passer very well, and our throws lacked accuracy. It was inconsistent throughout the night."
Stick himself described his performance as "up and down, to say the least."
The game started with three consecutive three-and-outs for the Chargers' offense, coinciding with a 5.1 earthquake near Ojai that shook the stadium before kickoff.
Safety JT Woods had a rough start, allowing a 32-yard gain on a screen play. However, he bounced back with several notable plays, including tight coverage on a tight end, a pass breakup, and a tackle to prevent a first down.
Woods acknowledged his need to work on his tackling technique and improve his angles when pursuing the ball.
Third-round pick Daiyan Henley started at linebacker and had an active game, finishing with nine tackles, including a split sack.
Henley showcased his aggressiveness and ability to stop the run, impressing Coach Staley. He also relayed the defensive signals for most of the game.
Rookie wide receiver Quentin Johnston had a strong showing, catching all three of his targets for 37 yards. He redeemed himself after dropping passes in the Chargers' preseason opener.
On the defensive side, Tuli Tuipulotu had a tackle for loss, and fellow rookie Scott Matlock had a tackle for loss but missed a tackle on a running back.
In the battle for the kicking job, Dustin Hopkins made a field goal and an extra point, while Cameron Dicker made his only extra-point attempt.
Tight end Stone Smartt had four receptions for 32 yards, showcasing his potential for increased playing time this season.
Starting guards Zion Johnson and Jamaree Salyer both played for four series before being replaced, indicating their importance to the team.
Wide receiver Jalen Guyton, who is recovering from a knee injury, participated in light workouts before the game.
Reserve linebacker and special teams player Amen Ogbongbemiga did not play due to an undisclosed injury, but Coach Staley hopes he can return to practice soon.