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Bolts Last Drive Did Everything but Get TD

Posted Nov 3, 2013

The Chargers final drive was effective until the end when they couldn't get in the end zone.

Up until the end, the drive was a case study in the two-minute drill.  The offense cautiously took what it could, chunk by chunk. And players made sure they stepped out of bounds, conserving the two precious timeouts they'd surely need if Philip Rivers could complete another improbable comeback.

The Bolts' last-minute scoring drive accomplished everything it needed to -- except it didn't end the game.  Instead, Nick Novak kicked a 19-yard field goal and the game continued into another quarter of play.

While getting points was the goal when they took over deep in their own territory, the end result was disappointing considering they managed to drive the ball down to the Redskins’ one-yard line.

“It was all there for us to win,” said Head Coach Mike McCoy.  “They out-executed us for three plays.  That’s what it comes down to.  The parity in this league is too good.  You have to be at your best every play and in a situation like that, it was all there for the taking.  We didn’t execute well enough to win.”

Backed up on their own eight-yard line, Rivers set the tone of the drive with a 21-yard toss to Eddie Royal.  And on top of that huge first play, Royal smartly stepped out of bounds. It squeezed one more play -- an eight-yard toss to Danny Woodhead -- out of the drive.

Then, Keenan Allen showed up again.  The rookie had a pass pried away from his clutches earlier in the quarter, but rebounded and scored a 16-yard touchdown.  On this drive, he got behind top Redskins' cover man DeAngelo Hall when the coverage shaded to blanket Antonio Gates.  The ball seemed like it took forever to get to Allen -- that's how wide open he was.

Everything seemed to be falling into place.  Allen had another big catch for 20 more yards. Rivers’ legs even got in on the action with a nine-yard scramble before ducking out of bounds at the Redskins' six-yard line with 37 seconds left.

But even with two timeouts in pocket, scoring was anything but ensured.  Nothing proved that more than when Danny Woodhead snagged a six-yard pass, sprawled out toward the end zone, and just missed the front pylon with an outstretched arm and a clutched ball.

The Bolts wouldn't get closer than that to ending the game. 

After a replay overturned Woodhead's score, he was rebuffed at the goal line.  And two incompletions followed -- a fade to Gates covered tightly by Hall and a roll out pass to Allen that fell incomplete in the back of the end zone.

Those three tries were the only chances the Bolts would get for a late win. 

“We were right there,” said Nick Hardwick.  “We were seemingly six inches away from victory.  We just didn’t get it done and they did.  That’s why they won the game.  Every loss is hard to get over.  It feels like you die.  But we have to get over it quickly.  We need to get a good week of work in and get ready to play Denver and play our best game of football to date.”

Overtime followed a Nick Novak field goal, and the offense never took the field to capitalize off the momentum it built on their last drive. 

The two-minute drill was a thing of beauty.  But it ended up with a field goal and felt more like a missed opportunity when the Redskins crossed the goal line themselves and did what the Bolts just missed doing – ending the game.

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