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Dropped Pass Haunts Meachem, Chargers
With the weather the way it was, neither team had many opportunities for a big play. Unfortunately for the Chargers, they saw their biggest ones slip through the hands of Robert Meachem.
Midway through the third quarter, Philip Rivers hit Meachem perfectly in stride for a surefire 51-yard touchdown. However, the ball bounced off the receiver and fell harmlessly to the ground. The Chargers were forced to punt and couldn’t find the end zone the rest of the way as they were defeated by the Browns, 7-6.
It was an important play; one that undoubtedly shifted the course of the entire game.
And nobody feels worse about it than Meachem himself.
“I took my eyes off it,” he said, shaking his head in the locker room after the game. “I thought about scoring first before I caught the ball. It’s a big play in the game. Big time players make big time plays, and that’s a play you have to make in a game like this. It could have changed the momentum of the game, you never know.”
No matter which way the conversation shifted, Meachem kept coming back to the play, reiterating how awful he felt and how it ended up dooming the Bolts.
“It hurts bad, because it’s you,” he said. “I mean, I can’t speak for anybody else but myself. And I feel like if I make that play, its game over. Our defense is playing solid at that point. If we make that play, it’s game over. Those are plays you’ve got to make. You can’t make any excuses. You can’t blame this person or that person. You’ve got to make that play.”
Meachem’s teammates supported him in the locker room, refusing to blame just one play for the loss. In fact, many of them went as far as to say it didn’t change the momentum or how they even felt about the flow of the game.
“As soon as that play was done, we shook it off and kept looking forward,” said Nick Hardwick. “It didn’t work for us, oh well, we keep moving forward. There are plenty of chances left in the game, so you don’t harp on it. We’re not going to blame this on one play. It was a bunch of them.”
Still, as head coach Norv Turner pointed out, it certainly proved costly for the Chargers in the long run.
“This is a team, and we go out there and trust each other and play together,” he said. “But he had an opportunity to make a play, and in a game like that, it’s not a game that’s high scoring. So when you get the opportunity to make a big play, you’ve got to do it.”
Whether or not the Chargers would go on to win the game if Meachem hauled in the long touchdown pass is a legit question. It’s also one that has haunted Meachem since the final whistle, and will continue to do so as it motivates him for Thursday’s game vs. Kansas City.
“It hurts,” he said. “There’s no way around that. But we have to get ready to play Thursday night. We can’t be down on ourselves. We just have to use this for more motivation for our next game.” Read