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Five Lessons from the Raiders Game
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Here are five lessons we learned from Sunday’s disappointing 27-17 loss to the Oakland Raiders.
1. Slow Start Proved Costly –As noted last night, the slow start and 17-0 hole the team put itself in was too great for the team to come back from. No team can afford to spot the opposition a three-score lead, and that is especially true on the road. Antonio Gates said it best in the aftermath of the game:
“You’ve got to tip your cap to them; they just outplayed us tonight really. It’s hard enough to win on the road, but when you give a team a 17 point lead, you’re fighting an uphill battle the rest of the way. It’s a tough thing to overcome in this league.”
2. Too Many Mistakes – As we also pointed out last night, the Chargers simply made too many mistakes to win the football game. Winning on the road is difficult enough, but committing five turnovers, giving up big plays on defense and committing special team blunders are a recipe for disaster. As such, Head Coach Mike McCoy lamented the team’s mistakes and lack of execution immediately following the game:
“No excuses; we got beat tonight. We came out and got beat in all three phases. It’s tough to go on the road and turn the ball over the way we did. We gave up too many big plays. It all starts with just executing the system that’s in place. (There was) a lack of execution. We’ve got a lot of work ahead of us so we’ll just keep working.”
3. Young Receivers Step Up –We will shortly have an article on the performance of two young, dynamic wide receivers in Keenan Allen and Vincent Brown who each had their best game of the young season. The duo combined for 232 yards on 14 catches. Allen recorded six grabs for 115 yard and his first professional touchdown while Brown had a team-high 117 yards on eight receptions, including a 51-yard strike up the left sideline late in the third quarter. Like many of his teammates and coaches, Philip Rivers was encouraged by the performance of the two youngsters and what they bring to the table:
“Those two guys, it was great to see them play the way they played because we’re going to need them to step up big like that the rest of the year. Those two guys are going to be on the field just about every snap. So I thought both of them we were really good.”
4. Next Guy Up…Again – Once again, the Chargers relied on many reserves entering the game, and for the most part they performed admirably. During the game, the team lost a couple of weapons, most notably Ryan Mathews, Jarret Johnson and Mike Harris. With the loss of the latter, undrafted rookie Nick Becton who was promoted from the practice squad prior to Week 4 stepped in, becoming the third left tackle the team has used. Even so, the team didn’t miss too much of a beat as Rivers mentioned:
“You saw the ball going up and down the field. It wasn’t like we were stuck in mud there (with the changes) and couldn’t get a first down.”
5. Better Preparation for Week 6– It’s been a see-saw each and every week of the season so far as the Bolts fell only to bounce back with a win the following week. While the team has been prepared each week, what many have said they learned so far from this back and forth is that the games they have been victorious have been when they were the best prepared. That being said, they will spend the next day or two watching the tape to learn from their mistakes in order to be prepared for the Indianapolis Colts. Take what Gates said for example:
“You definitely have to go back and watch the film to get ready for the next week. We have to fix the mistakes and move on. We kind of know in essence what this loss was about. Slow start. Too many turnovers. You can’t win a football game like that. Not in this league. But it’s on to the next game now and we’ll use this to get better. We have to."