BOSTON (CBS) — The Chargers are one of the best teams in the NFL, but their special teams play has been no bed of roses this season. So before their biggest game of the year, an AFC divisional round matchup with the Patriots in Foxboro, Los Angeles is making a change in their kicking game.
According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, the Chargers are bringing in kicker Nick Rose to handle kickoff duties in Sunday’s game. The 24-year-old journeyman will take over for rookie Michael Badgley, who hasn’t had much success when booting the ball on kickoffs this season.
Badgley was nails on his field goals in L.A.’s wild card weekend win in Baltimore, connecting on all five of his attempts, but he’s been severely lacking in the kickoff department all season. He kicked off six times in Baltimore and all six of those kicks failed to reach the end zone, making it to the 5-yard line, the 3-yard line, the 2-yard line, the 12-yard line, the 4-yard line and the 7-yard line.
For the season, just 16.7 percent of Bagdley’s kickoffs led to a touchback, the worst percentage in the NFL. The Chargers are hoping Rose, who had eight touchbacks in two games with the Chargers last season, can change that on Sunday.
Given that New England employs a dangerous kick returner in Cordarrelle Patterson, it was clear the Chargers need to be better on kickoffs if they want a shot at beating the Patriots in Foxboro. The Patriots had the second-most return yards in the NFL during the regular season.
Tune in to Sunday’s Patriots-Chargers divisional round clash on WBZ-TV — the flagship station of the New England Patriots! Coverage begins Friday night with Patriots All Access at 7 p.m., and kicks off on Sunday with a special hour-long edition of Patriots GameDay at 11 a.m.! We’ll break it all down and hear from Bill Belichick and Tom Brady LIVE on Patriots 5th Quarter on WBZ-TV after the game!