For the reputation they have, your Los Angeles Chargers’ defense has actually been surprisingly decent this season.

Dan Wolkenstein of The LAFB Network has the full skinny:

These numbers look pretty good, especially the sack and third-down conversion percentage, both of which are in the top 5.

The catastrophic stat, however, that may mean more than it gives off, relates to penalties, and how many the Chargers commit per game, and how many of them are both untimely and significant.

Given this, it’s clear that the Bolts not only commit a number of penalties across the game, but happen to do so at an alarmingly high rate when it comes to creating first downs for their opponents.

Just this past Monday night against Dallas, on the Cowboys’ final drive where they eventually kicked a game-winning field-goal, the Chargers got a stop on 3rd & 19 that was eventually converted to a first down due to multiple holding penalties in the secondary.

No level of defense will ever make up for the sheer quantity of penalties the Chargers commit, especially in the capacity in which they do so, especially with the slim margins of the games in which they play.

With 5 one-score games in 5 contests, even a single penalty not being committed could swing an outcome. Unfortunately, however, the Chargers find themselves in a league of the most undisciplined defense in the league, many of which include much younger, poorly-coached defenses.

The Chargers are loaded with veterans including the likes of Joey Bosa, Khalil Mack, and Eric Kendricks, that should all have more than enough leadership and veteran experience to keep the defense under control.

Oct 4, 2021; Inglewood, California, USA; Los Angeles Chargers defensive end Joey Bosa (97) waits at the line with cornerback Michael Davis (43) and safety Alohi Gilman (32) during the first half against the Las Vegas Raiders at SoFi Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports

Head coach Brandon Staley, who is regarded for his defensive expertise, should also be more than capable of making sure that the Bolts play within the rules, but somehow, they remain one of the most penalized teams in the league, and situationally, the most penalized.

The Bolts travel to Arrowhead this weekend to take on the Chiefs, which is a must-win game given their current 2-3 record. Falling to 2-4 would likely diminish their playoff hopes greatly, and penalties would probably be the biggest reason for a loss (and thus, a playoff miss). Let’s see if things can change.

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