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Five Lessons from the Redskins Game

Posted Nov 4, 2013

Here are your weekly five lessons from the past week's game.

Here are five lessons we learned from Sunday’s 30-24 loss to the Washington Redskins.

1. Red Zone Struggles Continue– The first two times the Chargers offense got in the red zone, Philip Rivers was able to pass into the end zone for a pair of touchdowns.  But when it mattered most, the team wasn’t able to get the last yard they needed, settling for a field goal in the final seconds of regulation.  Offensive Coordinator Ken Whisenhunt said in the days leading up to the game that the team needed to improve when it came to red zone efficiency.  And although they converted on two of three chances, Philip Rivers lamented their failure to execute in the red zone late in the game:

“I just think as players, in any football game that’s ever been played it’s too easy to always say what you should have called or should have ran.  It’s too easy to say, ‘Oh we could have run this, we could have run that, after the fact.  As players, it’s our job to execute.  We had a chance to get it in at the half yard line and we didn’t do it.  It’s that simple.”

 

2. Third Down Defense Needs to Improve – A staple of the Chargers recent success had been third down defense.  The team ranked in the top third of the league in this key statistic.  On Sunday, the Bolts defense could not get off the field on third down as the Redskins converted 12 of 17 attempts for a 71-percent clip.  Corey Liuget says this is unacceptable:

“We have to execute the calls better on third down.  RGIII was making some good throws, but we have to do a better job.  . We have to get off the field.  We have to stop them and get some rest...And if we don’t stop them, we have to get our minds prepared and ready to stop them on the next one.”

 

3. Receivers Showed Resilience Keenan Allen, Eddie Royal and Vincent Brown each had catches in the fourth quarter, showing resilience after the receivers group as a whole made a number of mistakes earlier in the game.  This is mostly true for Keenan Allen, who had a big third down drop as well as an interception on a target aimed for him earlier in the half.  He came up with a number of clutch plays in the fourth quarter to give his team a chance to win.  There was the 16 yard touchdown on a nicely run route, and then on the Bolts final drive he caught a big fourth down pass as well as another 20-yard gain.  After the game, McCoy praised the job the rookie did responding after some early struggles:

“He hasn’t dropped many balls.  That happens.  Everyone is going to drop balls sometime in their career.  But the great thing is we went up to him and said we’re going to need you going forward.  It’s one play. Move on. And he made some plays after that, so it was good for him to step up Philip’s got a lot of confidence in him, so we’re not going to stop going to him.”

 

4. Special Teams Steps Up – Coming into the game, the Chargers special teams unit had been solid.  They hadn’t made game-breaking plays, but they hadn’t given up any either.  On Sunday, the Bolts had their best game of the season on the third side of the ball.  Lawrence Guy and Corey Liuget blocked field goals while two punts were downed at the one-yard line.  Following the game, McCoy addressed the special teams play, including that of Guy:

“It was great for (Guy) to step up the way he did today.  He had two big plays.  We knew we had the opportunity there to get in there and get a block, and we did a nice job of executing it.  We talked all week long about making a big play on special teams and that’s what we did.”

 

5. Be Resilient and Move On –There is no denying the Chargers lost in heartbreaking fashion to the Redskins.  Now the team has to evaluate their shortcomings and get ready for another stiff test when the Denver Broncos come to town next week.  Listening to Nick Hardwick, it’s clear that is the mindset the team is taking:

“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.”


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