SAN DIEGO – In spite of the obvious disappointment in losing another game, not much changed about the Chargers’ mindset Monday.
Players and coaches are being asked big-picture questions with greater frequency but remain short-sighted as the most effective way to compete in the AFC West this year.
“It’s rough, but we’re going to keep fighting,”
San Diego (4-6) will face Denver (5-5) in Qualcomm Stadium, where the Bolts are 3-2 this season.
Attempts to comprehend and dissect the current slide may be overkill. The Chargers just haven’t played winning football.
“Through four quarters of a game, teams are going to make plays and you’re going to make plays. What’s happened to us, teams have made more plays than we have,” Head Coach Norv Turner said. “We’re having a tough time eliminating negative plays.”
FOURTH QUARTER WOES: The Chargers haven’t played their best late in games in the last month. San Diego has nine fourth-quarter turnovers in the last six games, getting outscored 41-20.
Sunday’s fourth quarter against the Bears was scoreless, but the Chargers managed just four offensive plays – two incompletions and two interceptions. San Diego didn’t gain a yard of total offense. That also allowed Matt Forte to improve from what was a nine-carry, 18-yard day.
Still, San Diego’s defense managed to corral the NFL’s leader in total offense for most of the game.
“Handling him and keeping him from taking control of the game was a big part of the game in my mind,” Turner said. “I thought we did an outstanding job of that.”
After reviewing film, Mathews, a naturally upright runner, concluded he’s slipped a bit compared to his early-season form. Keeping your pads low makes it more difficult for defenses to strip the ball, he said, and it’s something he’s been coached to do all season.
Mathews has fumbled nine times in 21 NFL games and lost five. As a result, feel they have a chance to punch the ball out and tend to target him for strips.
“I know they do,” Mathews said. “Once you get the tag on you, it’s hard to let that go. You’ve just got to prove them wrong. In the beginning of the season, I was.”
The running back had lost just one fumble in the first nine games of the season. Turner said Mathews still has made progress despite the costly turnover Sunday, particularly between the tackles.