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Bolts Suffer Rash of Injuries in Loss
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The San Diego Chargers never use injuries as an excuse, and the number of players who left hurt wasn’t why they fell 23-20 in overtime to the Oakland Raiders.
Still, things got so bad in the injury department that wide receiver Dontrelle Inman had to come in at safety with the game on the line in overtime.
“It just shows how beat up we were,” Philip Rivers said.
Overall, seven Chargers left the game due to injury.
Jason Verrett (hamstring), Eric Weddle (groin) and Darrell Stuckey (knee) were hurt in the first half, while Javontee Herndon (chest), Chris Hairston (abdomen), Orlando Franklin (concussion) and Trevor Robinson (concussion) also left and did not return.
After Patrick Robinson was sidelined early in overtime, the Bolts called upon Inman to play safety.
“The last time I played defense was high school in a game,” he explained. “This is one where you’re just going on the fly. When guys go down, someone needs to step up. They said, ‘We need somebody.’ And I said, ‘I’m ready to go. Just let me know what you need me to do.’”
While Inman admitted he’d dreamed of playing defense at some point considering he starred as safety/cornerback in high school, it was his experience playing wide receiver he drew upon when out there.
“You kind of know the concepts as a receiver,” he said. “You’re doing the concepts. It’s kind of like (how) Richard Sherman is so good at playing cornerback because he played receiver for so long. So you kind of know what’s going on.”
Nonetheless, after the game, nearly every Charger said needing a player to line up on the other side of the ball in a close game in overtime was something they never could have imagined.
“That was something you don’t see every day in the NFL,” Danny Woodhead said. “But he was available and he made himself available. That’s tough obviously when you have to put a receiver back there.”
Meanwhile, Rivers had to deal with a spate of injuries along the offensive line. By game’s end, the only lineman to play every snap at the same position was D.J. Fluker as the line constantly shuffled with J.D. Walton, Kenny Wiggins and Tyreek Burwell seeing action.
“It was tough but guys did a great job,” Rivers said. “I was on the ground once and that was on the safety, (so) the guys did a heck of a job. Guys stepped up and played well. On the defensive side of the ball I know there were kind of crazy things going on, but they played well.”
While it was another tough loss in which the Chargers fell on the final play of the game, Head Coach Mike McCoy was proud of the toughness and grit his team displayed despite the rash of injuries.
“Give the players and coaches a ton of credit for what they did today,” he said. “A number of guys went down throughout the game whether (in) the secondary or offensive line, but that’s the way it’s gone all year long unfortunately for us. But give those players a ton of credit. For Dontrelle to go back there and play safety when he needed to, and Patrick to jump in there at the end when he needed to get back in there, and the linemen making the adjustments they had to make. So, I’m very proud of the way the guys and coaches adjusted in very difficult situations. We had an opportunity to win it, we just didn’t finish.”