Chicago

Chargers Face Bears, Seeking To End Slump

The Los Angeles Chargers' injury-depleted offensive line will have a key addition for Sunday's game at Chicago in two-time Pro Bowl left tackle Russell Okung, who had been sidelined because of a pulmonary embolism caused by blood clots.

"He won't be able to play a whole game," coach Anthony Lynn said. "Trent Scott will play probably the bulk of the reps like he's been playing. Russell will work his way back in. We don't know how much he'll play, but he is definitely going to play some this week."

Okung practiced for the first time during the 2019 season on Oct. 17, but Lynn felt he did not practice enough to be able to play last Sunday.

He was activated from the non-football illness list Saturday.

"Any time you get a Pro Bowl player back that plays at a high level, especially at the left tackle position ... it's a big lift for you," Lynn said.

Okung tweeted on July 25 that "after experiencing unusual chest pain at practice June 1, I went to urgent care out of an abundance of caution. According to the doctors who treated me, the decision to do so likely saved my life."

Another change to the offensive line will be center Scott Quessenberry making the first start of his two-season NFL career.

Dan Feeney, who started the past two games at center in place of Mike Pouncey, will move back to left guard, replacing Forrest Lamp, who started the past two games, then broke a fibula in last Sunday's 23-20 loss to the Tennessee Titans and will be sidelined for the remainder of the season, Lynn said.

Quessenberry was an avid Charger fan growing up in Carlsbad, regularly wearing the No. 61 jersey then worn by Chargers center Nick Hardwick when he attended games at the then-Qualcomm Stadium. Quessenberry now wears that number.

"I can talk to him more about our past seasons here than I can anybody else in the locker room," quarterback Philip Rivers said.

Rivers could have another career milestone Sunday.

If he throws a touchdown pass, it will be the 400th of his career in the regular season and postseason.

Only five players have accomplished that feat.

The Chargers (2-5) have lost five of their past six games since winning their opener, their worst stretch of at least five games since they lost the final five games of the 2016 season, resulting in the firing of head coach Mike McCoy after four seasons.

They also lost six of their final seven games in 2016.

They are off to their worst start through at least seven games since 2015 when they began the season 2-8 and were 4-12 overall.

Lack of scoring has been a common factor in the five losses.

The Chargers did not score more than 20 points in any of the five losses.

The Chargers are tied for 23rd in the 32-team league in scoring, averaging 20 points per game, boosted by scoring 30 points in both their victories.

The Chargers rank 27th in the league in rushing yards per game, averaging 74.3, one spot ahead of the Bears, who are averaging 70.0.

The Chargers have rushed for 39 yards or less for three consecutive games, a span coinciding with Melvin Gordon's return to play after not reporting to the team as he sought a contract extension.

Gordon has rushed for 42 yards or less for seven consecutive games dating back to last season, including the playoffs.

The streak began after Gordon suffered a knee injury Nov. 25 that sidelined him the next three games.

The Chargers offense could be without a key weapon -- receiver Keenan Allen, who is tied for seventh in the league with 564 receiving yards. Allen is questionable after "he tweaked his hamstring," in practice, Lynn said.

"He'll be a game-time decision," Lynn said. "I just need to see that he can go out, play and not hurt himself in the pregame. If he can do that, he's going to play."

A player listed as questionable means it is uncertain whether he will play.

The Chargers will be without defensive tackle Justin Jones (shoulder) and nose tackle Brandon Mebane (knee), both starters, for the second consecutive game. Rookie Jerry Tillery, the Chargers' first round choice out of Notre Dame, will again start in place of Jones. Damion Square will start in place of Mebane, also for the second consecutive game.

"Tillery is getting better every single week," Lynn said.

The Chargers signed six-year veteran Sylvester Williams Wednesday to add depth to the defensive line. Williams was a first-round draft choice by the Denver Broncos in 2013 out of North Carolina, the 28th overall selection, starting for them from 2014-16, including in their victory in Super Bowl 50.

Chargers defensive end Melvin Ingram may miss his fourth consecutive game because of a hamstring injury.

The two-time Pro Bowl selection is listed as questionable.

"He is a veteran," Lynn said. "I trust his opinion if he can go. We'll see. I told him sometimes you have to protect these guys from themselves. Melvin is a guy that is a captain on this team, wants to be out there. He misses it. I told him that I'd work him out in pregame and see how he looks."

The Bears (3-3) have lost two consecutive games.

"They're two teams that are hungry, aggravated and want to win a game," Rivers said.

Defensive coordinator Gus Bradley called Chicago "a challenging team to prepare for, because (you have to) expect the unusual."

The Chargers are 0-4 at Chicago's Soldier Field, including a 31-20 loss in 2011 in Rivers' only appearance there. Rivers has quarterbacked the Chargers to victories in 25 stadiums.

"It's old-school NFL at its finest," Rivers said. "It will be a heck of an environment."

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