The Los Angeles Chargers have attempted to convert on fourth down eight times through the first five games of the season.
While that isn’t the most attempts on fourth down across the NFL, the Chargers have converted on seven of their eight attempts. In fact, the only failed attempt so far this season was a fake punt attempt against the Las Vegas Raiders that was broken up by return man Hunter Renfrow.
Last week against the Cleveland Browns, the Chargers even attempted a fourth-and-seven from the Browns 22-yard line midway through the third quarter instead of trying a 40-yard field goal. Justin Herbert hit Keenan Allen for 12 yards and a first down. Two plays later, Herbert was in the end zone on a 9-yard scramble that helped spark the Chargers victory.
Chargers General Manager Tom Telesco said Tuesday that the team has a lot of faith in its offense to succeed in such moments.
“I mean, everybody’s talking about these fourth downs we’re going for. It’s been aggressive, but not reckless. But a lot of that is the trust between Brandon, the coaches and the players,” Telesco said on the Pat McAfee Show on Tuesday. “Trusting the offense that we can convert on those, and then trusting the defense if we don’t convert because we’re not gonna convert 80 percent of fourth downs throughout the course of the year. That just isn’t gonna happen.”
The offense has earned that trust so far this season. They rank seventh in the league in total offense, third in passing offense and are tied with the Browns for sixth in points scored.
The Chargers have attempted four fourth-downs on their own half of the field. While the yards-to-gain were either 2- or 1-yard, the Chargers have gone for fourth downs from midfield, their own 45-, 34- and 24-yard lines.
“You continue to grow week-to-week with this team and, like I said, it’s a huge trust factor right now between the staff and the players and it’s leading to wins right now,” Telesco added. “But we got a long way to go.”