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A Bad Day of Chargers Football
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The Chargers returned from the bye a focused team, excited for the final seven games starting with Week 11’s match against the Chiefs.
They never saw Sunday’s performance coming.
Following the 33-3 loss to their division rival, Head Coach Mike McCoy put the team’s performance in blunt terms.
“Obviously, that was a bad day of Chargers football out there in all three phases. (We) didn’t make any plays overall, but very poor….(It’s) very disappointing. We had an outstanding week of preparation. Watching the way we played there, you’d never think that. I think the mindset of the players coming off the bye was outstanding. They worked extremely hard and we had a good plan going in. It was obviously very poor in all phases today is all I can say about it to be honest with you. Very disappointing.”
Denzel Perryman put it even more bluntly.
“It was embarrassing.”
Nothing went right for the Bolts on Sunday in any phase of the game.
Entering the day with the fourth ranked offense and number one passing attack, Philip Rivers and company had their worst outing of the season. They failed to score a touchdown, and were undone by penalties, drops and miscues. Number 17 can’t remember many times over his career his offense failed to find the end zone.
“It doesn’t happen very often. I don’t know how many of those we’ve had in my career here. Not a lot. So the defense could have held them to six today and we would have still lost.”
The offenses’ futility was best exemplified by the third quarter performance. They began the half with a holding penalty and sack that led to a three-and-out. Their next drive featured another sack as Tamba Hali brought Rivers down for a 13 yard loss, while the next series was the most disastrous as Justin Houston smoked out a screen pass as he intercepted the ball for a pick-six. On the final drive of the quarter, Dontrelle Inman dropped an easy first down conversion on third down to force the third punt of the quarter.
“The third quarter started off as disastrous as it could,” Rivers said. “The penalty, sack and then an interception on a screen. It’s my fault, but I don’t know if there’s anything I could have done.”
Meanwhile, the defense continued to give up big plays at the most inopportune times. San Diego surrendered seven plays of at least 20 yards, including a 47 yard catch and run by Charcandrick West and a 52 yard run by Spencer Ware.
However, the biggest play they gave up may have been a 10 yard gain.
On 3rd-and-6 on the KC 18 with 1:26 remaining in the first half, Alex Smith shook off what looked like a surefire sack and scrambled 10 yards to move the chains. Instead of the Bolts getting the ball down 9-3 with over a minute to go in the first half and getting the ball to start the third quarter, the Chiefs ended up kicking a field goal to go up 12-3.
“If we had the third down stop, as you saw, I was down there and going to call timeout for the fourth down play,” McCoy said. “Unfortunately we let Alex get out. We had a stop. That’s another one of those plays that’s a huge difference in the game. That’s one of those plays early in the game if you make it, we get that stop, we get that sack right there (and) look at Philip’s track record on the two minute drills this year at end of halves and what we’ve done. And then we get the ball to start the second half. So we didn’t capitalize there. We didn’t get off the field.”
Corey Liuget echoed the importance of that play.
“You can’t (give up big plays). You can’t do it all. If you could have held them a little longer and get off the field (just before halftime), we’d give our offense another chance because we were only (one) score. After that, it just got out of hand. We just have to come back to work, ready to work.”.”
Special teams struggled as well. While Josh Lambo continued his fine rookie season with a 52-yard field goal in the first half, Javontee Herndon muffed a punt that the Chiefs recovered when it looked like the Bolts would finally get good field position.
“That was completely unacceptable and extremely frustrating,” he said. “I am not the guy who drops punts and I put a lot of pressure on myself to do well. So that is completely unacceptable and I need to step it up.”
With a 2-8 record and six games remaining, the Bolts are a team searching for answers as the return to Chargers Park looking to right the ship.
“If we could put a finger on it, we would have by now,” said King Dunlap. “We’ve got to keep grinding, get back to work and get better. At this point, it’s the only thing you got left. Keep working and getting better.”
“It is not the foundation of what we stand for as a football team (or) as an organization,” added Antonio Gates. “We just got to keep plugging away. Keep trying to find ways to win a football game. I think that’s been the task every single week, and that will continue to be the task.”