SAN DIEGO – Time dripped toward one minute left and had room to run.
The Chargers were quite likely to attempt a go-ahead field goal of manageable distance with seconds left in regulation and therefore had to have been solid favorites to reach 5-2.
“It’s as tough a way to lose a game as you can,” Head Coach Norv Turner said.
His method of ensuring the Chargers (4-3) recover emotionally in time to give Green Bay (7-0) their best shot? Understand the importance of preparing for a team that’s won 13 consecutive games, including a Super Bowl, and attack this week with great energy.
“A lot of people would say (the Packers are) the best team in the National Football League, so we don’t have a lot of time to sit around and worry about anything other than getting ready for them,” Turner said. “It starts with energy. That’s how you have the best attention, focus and preparation.”
Though the Chargers would love to isolate the three losses into one correctable flaw, the team believes it has lost for a variety of differing reasons. The lone common thread in San Diego’s three losses: a game-changing negative play in the fourth quarter on the road.
The Bolts’ 4-1 start, best under Turner, now looms even more important with back-to-back losses. San Diego appears to have addressed the “slow starters” label from the perspective of both the season and individual games, the strongest evidence being a 21-10 halftime lead at the New York Jets. The Chargers have to recapture their earlier ability to make the plays necessary to win late in games.
“Every time you’re struggling, the No. 1 thing you can do is go win a football game,” Turner said. “That’s going to be our focus. The fact that we’re playing the defending world champions makes it a real challenge.”