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5 Takeaways: Chargers Focused on Response After Week 3 Loss


The Chargers are 1-2 following a 38-10 home loss to the Jaguars.

Here are five takeaways from Week 3:

1. How do the Chargers respond?

Make no mistake about it, Sunday's performance was not pretty.

Chargers linebacker Drue Tranquill said the 28-point defeat was "embarrassing," as the Bolts allowed Jacksonville to end an 18-game road losing streak.

But Tranquill also noted that Chargers Head Coach Brandon Staley didn't have to say much after the game, as a postgame locker room speech was spearheaded by Sebastian Joseph-Day.

The defensive tackle declined to speak with reporters after the game, but Staley praised the team captain in his first season for taking leadership after a rough loss.

"Sebastian, he may be new to this team, but he's not new to the NFL. He knows what it takes," Staley said. "He was elected captain for a reason, because his teammates see him that way.

"If it had not been him, it would have been somebody else," Staley added. "It's not just him. That's the way you want your teams to be."

Tranquill related Joseph-Day's message:

"Just got to play better, hold ourselves accountable. That's not our standard of play and we know that. All of us," Tranquill said. "We all feel it, as a competitor it stinks, but we're thankful for the opportunity that this is Game 3.

"It's a 17-game season, we got a lot more games to play and we're going to be better coming down the stretch," Tranquill added.

With the Chargers sitting at 1-2 heading into a Week 4 road game against the Texans, who are also 1-2, Staley is interested to see how his team responds from a big loss.

"We're just three games into a 17-game season. That's how the NFL is, you treat it one week at a time," Staley said. "Sometimes games like this happen in the NFL. It's how you respond tomorrow, and the next day, and the next day after that.

"That's what the NFL is, is being able to overcome the tough stuff. Then, all the good stuff, too," Staley added. "We're going to have to respond from this one."

DeAndre Carter said: "We got to be better. Everybody on the team, we got to be better. We got to do the extra, we got to hold ourselves to our standard. We got to get on the right track."

Tranquill added: "I think at the end of the day we just got out played. They beat us down, they whooped our tails and it's embarrassing for us as a unit. We are a lot better football team than that and we'll come out ready to prove that next week."

Justin Herbert said: "It was not a great day by any means. Unfortunately, we lost, and that's the tough part about it. There is nothing we can do now to change that. We have to have a good week of practice, watch the film tomorrow, and get after it this week."

Browse through live action photos of the Bolts Week 3 matchup against the Jacksonville Jaguars at SoFi Stadium!

2. Herbert assesses his performance

Herbert was active Sunday, starting at quarterback after he was listed as questionable on Friday's Injury Report with a rib injury.

Herbert did not take the field for early warmups, instead doing so for individual and team warmups about an hour before the game.

The quarterback provided an update on his mindset going into the game.

"I trust the medical staff, our training staff, and they felt like it was safe," Herbert said. "I felt like it was safe. I would not have played had it not been safe."

He later added: "It's part of the game, dealing with injuries and dealing with pain. A lot of the guys in that locker room do not feel great. It's all about how you react and how you respond. I'm going to do everything I can to go to treatment, take care of my body, until hopefully this thing can go away."

Both Herbert and Staley also explained why the quarterback was in the game in the fourth quarter despite the Chargers being down by double digits.

"I just did not want to quit on the team. It was, obviously, a tough day for us, but I did not want to go out," Herbert said. "I felt like we were getting the ball out quickly. I did not want to quit on my team.

"It's what the team needs, and sometimes you have to put your own goals and everything behind the team," Herbert later added. "I think that's what is most important. I felt like I was safe out there and I didn't want to quit on my team."

Added Staley: "He wanted to be out there with his teammates. He felt good and he wanted to finish the game. He wanted to give our group some energy. We were going to protect him there at the end with really sound protection as best we could, but it was more about him wanting to finish with his guys."

Herbert completed 25 of 45 passes for 297 yards with one touchdown and an interception.

3. The Bolts are banged up

Herbert's health wasn't the only topic of discussion Sunday afternoon.

The Chargers, who were banged up going into the same, suffered a rash of other injuries throughout the contest against the Jaguars.

Wide receiver Keenan Allen, center Corey Linsley and cornerback J.C. Jackson all were announced as inactive before the game. Allen was questionable on Friday, while the latter two players were doubtful to play.

The poor injury luck continued early, as Joey Bosa left the game midway through the first quarter with a groin injury and did not return. He was replaced by Chris Rumph II at outside linebacker.

"Whenever you lose a great player like [Bosa] you lose obviously momentum in that, but we got to be able to get to the quarterback, and that's all three levels," Tranquill said. "We got to cover better, we got to rush better, we just have to play better together as a team."

Left tackle Rashawn Slater then left the game early in the third quarter with a biceps injury. He was replaced by Storm Norton.

"It's tough on our group," said Will Clapp, who started at center in place of Linsley. "[Slater is] obviously one our better players on this team, one of the best left tackles in the league.

"Storm did a good job out there. Obviously, a proven start in this league, played a lot last year and played well," Clapp added. "Hopefully we won't miss Rashawn long before we get [him] back."

Kenneth Murray, Jr., had to be helped off the field midway through the third quarter but Staley said the linebacker got the wind knocked out of him.

And wide receiver Jalen Guyton suffered what Staley deemed a knee injury with two minutes left in regulation.

4. Offense couldn't get in rhythm

The Bolts offense was slow-to-go from the start, as that unit managed just 22 yards of offense and no first downs on their opening pair of possessions that ended with punts.

They then turned the ball over on the next two possessions with an interception and a fumble. By the time the Bolts scored their only touchdown — a 15-yard catch by Mike Williams — the Chargers trailed 13-7 and never fully recovered.

The Bolts would punt on two of their next three drives, with a field goal sandwiched in between. Of 10 total offensive possessions, the Chargers had six of them end in five plays or fewer.

"Kind of hard to get into a flow. We were three-and-out a couple times. Thought we never really got that rhythm," Clapp said. "Something that we kind of had the first two games, the offense was rolling. Something we just have to find and press through when we don't have it."

He later added: "It's just one of those things. Some games offense keeps going, sometimes you really got to fight to find it. We had a hard time finding it today. We got to fix this week."

The Chargers also struggled to run the ball for the third straight game, as the Bolts had 26 rushing yards on a dozen carries (2.2 yards per attempt).

"We have to get the ball running. We have to run the ball," said running back Austin Ekeler. "We got to get ourselves more efficient so [Chargers Offensive Coordinator] Joe [Lombardi] trusts us running the ball. It comes down to us actually getting it done.

"f we're running the ball and not being efficient, we're going to go away from it and put it on Justin's shoulders. I wish we were more efficient this game, we could've taken a lot of pressure off of him if we were," Ekeler added. "But, that's the way it goes. Try to find a balance, stick with it and today, we couldn't find anything that was working for us as far as making plays, being efficient, get in a rhythm. That's why we lost the way we did."

Through three games, the Chargers have 67 rushes for 177 yards and no rushing touchdowns.

"We just haven't established any rhythm offensively," Staley said. "Just haven't blocked at the point of attack, or in pass protection, well enough. Because of that, you're not going to see the production from the skill players."

Herbert added: "We think really highly of our offensive linemen and we know that we can run the ball. We kind of got behind. That's the unfortunate part about the NFL is you have to keep throwing to catch up. Maybe we could have run the ball a little bit more early on, but we were down, and so we had to throw the ball and we didn't catch up. That's the unfortunate part."

5. The defense was on the field too long

A number of stats stood out Sunday, but this one was perhaps the most glaring.

The Chargers defense was simply on the field for too long, as the Bolts were out-possessed by 17 minutes.

The Chargers held the ball for just 21:33 on Sunday, while the Jaguars — who ran 75 plays — had the ball for more than 38 minutes. Jacksonville had four different drives last at least 11 plays.

"It was just little plays here and there, we couldn't get off the field," said Chargers cornerback Asante Samuel, Jr. "They had a lot of long drives, like 16-play drives and stuff like that. We just got to get off the field on third down and make plays so we can get the ball back to the offense."

Down 16-10 early in the third quarter, the Chargers had a chance to make a stand as the Jaguars faced fourth-and-1 at the 50-yard line.

But the end result was a 50-yard touchdown run by James Robinson, who scampered into the end zone untouched.

Staley said he liked the defensive performance in the first half, when the Chargers limited the Jaguars to 16 points, including three field goals in the red zone.

Yet the game simply got away from them over the final two quarters.

"I felt like, in the first half, we hung tough. In the first half, we gave ourselves a chance," Staley said. "Then, that fourth-and-one run that split us for 50 [yards], that really took the air out of us.

"There were a couple of killer third downs that forced us to play a lot more plays. We played over 40 plays in the first half and I felt that in the second half," Staley added. "I felt like we didn't have that same energy, but we didn't execute on a couple of third downs. Then, you're out there a lot longer. We didn't affect the quarterback today. That also had a big impact on the game."

Jacksonville converted eight times on 15 total third downs on Sunday, as the Chargers allowed 413 total yards, including 151 on the ground.

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