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Despite "Heartbreaking" Loss, Chargers Must Prepare for Week 2
Falling on opening night after building a 21-point lead in the third quarter left many players, as they said, “heartbroken”.
So where do the Chargers go from here?
Some might think a loss like this rattles a team to the point it could take weeks to recover. However, listening to Head Coach Mike McCoy and the players speak, it appears clear that the Chargers have the mental fortitude to grow from the experience and use it to propel forward rather than have it force a long-lasting setback. That says a lot about the coaching staff and players.
“It’s not all bad,” Dwight Freeney said matter-of-factly. “Yeah, we lost. But, even in the loss, you’ve got to learn and you’ve to gain some type of positive from it, which we will. We’ll go back and analyze what’s going on, take the good things and try to move on from those and get those even better and the bad things we’ll try to clean that up.”
Overall, there were many positives coming out of Monday night’s 31-28 defeat even if the end result wasn’t what the team was hoping for. McCoy reinforced the positives during his press conference Tuesday from Chargers Park while also admitting the team needs to improve in numerous areas as well.
“There are a lot of good things, we just didn’t finish the game the way we wanted to,” said McCoy. “Offensively, when you’re 50% on third down, 4-for-4 in the red area and convert on the 4th-and-1, (many) times when you come out of the game doing those things and making some plays, you’re thinking you’re going to win them. But unfortunately in the second half after the first drive, we stubbed our toes a little too many times….There’s a lot of good from (the game). But it’s all about winning. That’s all we care about here. We’ve got to play better and we’ve got to finish the game.”
Now, the Chargers are determined to learn from the negatives as they embark on a short week before travelling to Philadelphia to take on the Eagles.
“It’s one of 16 games, it’s a long season and you’ve got to learn from it,” McCoy said. “As an organization, you’ve got to put those games away. We had every opportunity to put that game away and we didn’t do it. So we’ve got to learn from it…We’ve got a short week we’re working on right now.
One of the areas the Chargers will focus on is the running game, which saw its fair share of positives and negatives on Monday night.
“It was up and down,” McCoy admitted. “There are some things it goes down to where it’s a block here or there. It’s about finishing the blocks the right way. There are some really good things you’ll see there. If we just finished or cut off the backside a little better here and there, there was an opportunity for some big plays. So it’s one of those things (where) it’s down to the little things. It’s showing the guys (that by) doing your job a little better and those three and four yard runs become explosive plays when you finish.”
Still, equally important to any adjustments made is the mindset the team is using heading into Week 2. Despite a “heartbreaking” loss, the players are encouraging one another to obtain the mental toughness necessary to win in week two.
“We’ve got to learn from it, not forget about it, but move on in a hurry,” said Philip Rivers. “This is the first game of the year. We have 15 more to go, and got one in Philly that’s going to be here quickly, so we have to move on quick.”