- The Washington Times - Thursday, December 7, 2017

ASHBURN — Even with a three-game winning streak, Los Angeles Chargers wide receiver Keenan Allen said he knows what his teammates are facing every time they play at their home stadium, the 27,000-seat StubHub Center.

“It’s an away game, man,” Allen said. “It’s still an away game.”

Allen isn’t wrong. Since making the move from San Diego, the Chargers have seen fans from opposing teams fill the stands. 

Unlike the Los Angeles Rams, the city has no loyalty, or connection, to the Chargers. That bodes well for the Redskins, who face-off against the Chargers on Sunday.

In San Diego, fans just wouldn’t show. In Los Angeles, opposing fans have taken over the crowd. 

“It’s kind of going to be wild,” Redskins cornerback Josh Norman said. “Hopefully, [our fans] come out and show up. I know the Redskins are strong in LA, for sure, I know that. We had a little good crowd out there when we played in the Coliseum.

“I’m looking forward to playing in that soccer stadium.”

Norman’s not kidding when he says soccer stadium. The StubHub Center actually hosts the LA Galaxy, the city’s MLS team.

The Chargers, however, have overcome the home-field disadvantage — going 6-2 after starting the season 0-4. They are tied for first place in the AFC West, and the Redskins have plenty to deal with on both sides of the ball.

Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers is still one of the league’s top passers even at age 36. And, he has found a lethal connection with Allen. Allen is on a three-game streak of catching at least 10 passes for 100 yards with a touchdown. That’s never been done in NFL history.

But Los Angeles’ turnaround starts with pass rushers Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram, who have terrorized offenses by supplying 20 of the Chargers’ 35 sacks.

It will be important for both Redskins left tackle Trent Williams (knee) and right tackle Morgan Moses (ankles) to play. Williams hasn’t practiced this week, though indicated he plans on playing. Moses, meanwhile, was a limited participant in Thursday’s practice.

Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins knows he’ll need them.

“They drafted them in the first round and they expect them to be what they have been,”  Cousins said of Bosa and Ingram. “They have been very good against the pass this year. … I’ve got to believe that a lot of the credit does go to the pass rush and then works back from there. So we are going to have our hands full as we do every week.”

Cousins said he’s familiar with the StubHub Center, having visited the stadium during spring break in college.

In theory, StubHub should provide a more “intimate” setting than your average 70,000-seat stadium. Redskins linebacker Zach Vigil played college football at Utah State, so he knows that crowds can still get loud even with less people in them.

Still, that hasn’t necessarily been the case for the Chargers. Redskins defensive lineman Anthony Lanier said the stadium situation “gives us an edge” because there won’t be as much noise for the Redskins offense.

Cousins, though, said he’s sure the crowd will be amped if the Redskins don’t play up to their standard.

“If we are playing at a very high level, you can quiet 100,000 people if you’re playing at a high level,” Cousins said. “We just need to go out and put a good product on the field and I think that will take care of it.”


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