Eric D. Williams, ESPN Staff Writer 409d

Melvin Gordon on slow starts: 'Just got to come out and destroy people'

COSTA MESA, Calif. -- Two statistics point to the Los Angeles Chargers' struggles on offense this season.

The Chargers have been outscored 50-21 in first quarters this season but have outscored teams 64-35 in fourth quarters.

Slow starts offensively have led to the Chargers playing catch-up nearly every game through the first half of the season. Chargers running back Melvin Gordon agreed with quarterback Philip Rivers' assessment that the Bolts need to play with a heightened sense of urgency at the start of games.

"We've just got to come out and destroy people," Gordon said. "I think that's what frustrates us the most. We've got all of the talent in the world. We've got explosive players all across the board, and we just wait too late to bring it out.

"I think if we just come out the gate with it, I really feel like we can put games out of reach and it doesn't have to come down to the last few seconds every time. It doesn't have to be like that with the way our defense is playing."

At 3-5, the Chargers have had a chance to win every game this season. Coach Anthony Lynn decided to give his players this week off during the bye instead of holding a couple days of practice, allowing his team to get away from the facility and let nagging injuries heal. The Chargers will start next week fresh as they prepare for the second half of the season.

"We just talked about it, and we want to come back hungrier than ever, a little fresher, and go into the third quarter [of the] season and we know it is moving time for us," Lynn said.

The Chargers are No. 25 in the NFL in rushing yards per game, averaging 88.9 yards. They are the worst in the NFL in field goal percentage (54.5), dead last in time of possession (27:18) and No. 24 in third-down percentage (36.1).

The Chargers have to figure out a way to improve those numbers as Lynn and the coaching staff self-scout during the bye week.

"We get a week off," Rivers said. "We've battled our way back. Honestly, I always believe we're going to win every game, and sitting at 0-4 I said, if we can somehow get to 3-5 at the bye we'll be in the hunt. And we did that.

"We should have been 4-4, but we [aren't]. There is little room for error, but we have an eight-game season with everything out there still."

Here were the Week 8 snap counts for the Chargers against the New England Patriots:

OFFENSE (56 snaps)

Quarterback -- Philip Rivers 56.

Running back -- Melvin Gordon 33, Austin Ekeler 17, Derek Watt 5, Branden Oliver 5.

Wide receiver -- Keenan Allen 52, Tyrell Williams 46, Travis Benjamin 35, Mike Williams 22.

Tight end -- Hunter Henry 35, Antonio Gates 25, Sean McGrath 5.

Offensive line -- Russell Okung 56, Spencer Pulley 56, Kenny Wiggins 56, Michael Schofield 56, Dan Feeney 56.

Offensive analysis -- Gordon finished with 139 yards from scrimmage against the Patriots, reaching 3,000 for his career. He passed Ricky Young (2,952) and Rod Bernstein (2,895) to become the 14th player in team history to reach 3,000 career yards from scrimmage. ... Rivers finished with 17 completions on Sunday and is now five completions away from passing Warren Moon, who sits No. 8 all time in the NFL with 3,988 completions.

DEFENSE (86 snaps)

Defensive line -- Melvin Ingram 78, Joey Bosa 72, Brandon Mebane 47, Corey Liuget 46, Damion Square 34, Darius Philon 27, Tenny Palepoi 23, Chris McCain 16.

Linebacker -- Hayes Pullard 66, Kyle Emanuel 28, Korey Toomer 25, Jatavis Brown 22.

Secondary -- Jahleel Addae 86, Trevor Williams 85, Tre Boston 85, Casey Hayward 85, Adrian Phillips 59, Desmond King 58, Rayshawn Jenkins 4.

Defensive analysis -- With 8.5 sacks each, Bosa and Ingram are tied for No. 4 in the NFL. ... The Chargers held the Patriots to 97 rushing yards. However, New England running backs totaled 163 receiving yards. ... Brown averaged 62 defensive snaps per contest in the first four games but has averaged just 22 snaps the past four games. Brown had been dealing with a high-ankle sprain the past few weeks, but with Denzel Perryman set to make his season debut against the Jacksonville Jaguars in two weeks, the Akron product's role on the defense could be changing.

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