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5 Takeaways: Bolts Banged Up in Home Loss to Seahawks


The Chargers are 4-3 after a 37-23 home loss to the Seahawks.

Here are five takeaways from Week 7:

1. A rough day all around

The Bolts were beaten at home, and also got beaten up in Week 7.

In some ways, the game was somewhat similar to Week 3, when the Chargers lost at home by double-digits and also suffered a rash of injuries.

On Sunday, the Bolts lost cornerback J.C. Jackson late in the first half with a knee injury. The cornerback had an air cast put on his right leg before he was carted off.

Chargers Head Coach Brandon Staley said Jackson suffered a "significant" injury.

"It's definitely tough. That's my brother. All of our brothers. We family around here," said Asante Samuel, Jr. "I never want to see anybody go down. I pray for him, pray that he's doing better and he'll be back soon."

Mike Williams also left the game, as the wide receiver had to be helped off in the second half with an ankle injury.

Fellow wide receiver Keenan Allen played for the first time since Week 1 after coming back from a hamstring injury. He recorded two catches for 11 yards but he did not play in the second half.

"Didn't want to push it if there was a feeling that he couldn't go, but he felt good during practice and we wanted to give it a go," Staley said. "He was definitely on a pitch count, but didn't want to push it knowing that we have the bye next week."

Allen said: "Just easing back into things and getting back into it. Feel solid."

Outside linebacker Chris Rumph II also had to be helped off the field, but Staley said his injury wasn't significant.

"All year we've been losing guys. That's going to be a part of every week, whether you win or lose," Staley said. "Had we won today and those two guys would have gotten hurt, it would be the same feeling. You have to keep it moving, you have to figure it out.

"We're 4-3. The AFC is wide open. We have to get rested up," Staley added. "We're going to play a team in Atlanta who is a very well-coached, and very good, football team. We have to get rested up though, first."

Justin Herbert added: "Just keep fighting. We're 4-3 at the moment. There's a lot of football left. We're going to get our bodies back this week, get healthy, continue to improve and keep getting after it."

The head coach shared what he told his team as they enter the bye week.

"The reality is that through seven games, we've had to fight really hard to be 4-3," Staley said. "We've endured a lot. Our season is in front of us, which is the truth. The reason why we're 4-3, and not 5-2, is because we didn't play good enough football today.

"We didn't coach well enough today," Staley added. "What we need to do is get rested, take advantage of the bye and get rested, and then come back, as a team, and really focus on playing the way that we're capable of playing. Today, certainly, was not it."

Check out the top photos of the Bolts warming up for their Week 7 game against the Seattle Seahawks at SoFi Stadium!

2. Hampered by a slow start

In the early minutes Sunday, it appeared the Chargers were primed for a quick start.

On the fourth play of the game, Kenneth Murray, Jr., recorded the first interception of his career after a deflection by Samuel.

Suddenly, just 100 seconds after kicking off, the Bolts had possession at the Seahawks 41-yard line. But that drive ended without points, as Austin Ekeler was stopped short on runs on both third-and-1 and fourth-and-1.

"Certainly not the way that you want to start the football game," Staley said. "That definitely wasn't our goal today. We started off the game, defensively, with a big takeaway, and then we turned the ball over on downs on a third-and-fourth-and-short."

The Seahawks turned that sequence into a touchdown for an early 7-0 lead, and capitalized with another score after intercepting Justin Herbert on the ensuing possession.

Herbert was then strip-sacked late in the first quarter, as that turnover led to a Seattle field goal.

All the momentum the Bolts had early on had vanished, as they trailed 17-0 in the blink of an eye.

It was the third consecutive game the Chargers trailed by double digits after the first quarter. They were down 14 to Cleveland and 10 to Denver, but managed to rally and win those games.

"It's really hard to get momentum when you start the game like that," Staley said.

Herbert added: "We can continue to try and execute, get the ball moving early in the first quarter. Just get the ball to those guys on the outside to make plays and just stay ahead of the chains."

3. Defense struggles on 3rd downs

Seattle didn't have a ton of third-down opportunities Sunday, but the Bolts certainly weren't at their best in keeping the Seahawks off the field.

Seattle went 5-of-9 on the down, but it was some early miscues that hurt the Bolts.

The Seahawks faced third-and-13 on their second drive at their own 40 when Geno Smith threw incomplete. But a pass interference call on Bryce Callahan kept the drive alive.

Seven plays later, the Seahawks had third-and-14 at the Bolts 20. But the Chargers couldn't force a field goal try, as Smith hit Marquise Goodwin for a 20-yard touchdown.

"We just got to play better, be more assignment sound, better communication better at mental errors," said linebacker Drue Tranquill. "You can't foul, we fouled a lot especially on third and long. We gave them life there especially in the first half and so it just wasn't it today."

Safety Derwin James, Jr. added: "We just never able to get in a rhythm. We just got to be better and clean it up."

Later in the game, Seattle had third-and-11 at the Bolts 48. Down 24-14 in the third quarter, the Chargers could have gotten off the field and give their offense a chance for a comeback.

But the Seahawks moved the chains with an 12-yard gain, keeping that drive alive before eventually adding a field goal. The Seattle drive lasted more than 10 minutes.

"It takes a lot out of it, for sure," Staley said of the long drive. "There were plenty of opportunities on that drive for us to get off of the field and play better. We didn't.

"It's good that we held them to three [points], but we have to do a better job, when we have field position like that, of keeping them back there," Staley added. "It's all three levels playing together. Like I said, it starts with me."

Overall, the Chargers were called for seven total penalties for 70 yards.

4. Bolts run defense falters

The Chargers run defense had been up and down through six games, and that trend continued Sunday.

The Bolts had their moments, but ultimately it was an inconsistent effort as they allowed 200-plus rushing yards to the Seahawks.

The bulk of them came on a 74-yard touchdown run by rookie Kenneth Walker III, who finished with 23 carries for 168 yards and two scores.

"We lost the edge. We didn't hold the edge. Our second level didn't come alive. He was able to get around us," Staley said of the long scoring run. "It wasn't good enough. Ultimately, it's my responsibility. I have to do a much better job coaching."

Walker's highlight-reel run was notable, but Tranquill pointed to a handful of other runs where the rookie escaped the grasp of the Bolts, too.

"I feel like a few times we had them at the point of attack at the line of scrimmage and the next thing you know he's nine, 10 yards down the field," Tranquill said. "We've got to be better in all facets and put the ball back to our offense and take the ball away."

James said: "They made their plays. We can't just sit there and blame it on one, they made their plays today. We just weren't good enough on defense."

5. Offense doesn't do much

The final numbers will show the Bolts offense put up 300-plus yards and went a perfect 3-for-3 in the red zone, an area that was an emphasis entering the game.

But the overall picture wasn't pretty for the Chargers, who were inconsistent for most of Sunday's game.

The first three drives consisted of a turnover on downs, interception and a fumble before back-to-back touchdown drives.

Yet there wasn't much going after that, as the Bolts punted on five straight possession before getting stopped short on fourth down again.

Center Corey Linsley was asked if he could point to a reason for the offensive struggles.

"Not right now, no," Linsley said.

One area that troubled the Chargers was their run game, which managed just 53 yards on 15 attempts, good for just 3.5 yards per carry.

"I thought that we got beat up front. We couldn't run the football," Staley said. "We didn't protect the passer very well, so it's going to be tough to move the ball and score points. That's where it started today."

Austin Ekeler added: "We were pretty one-dimensional today. We struggled running the ball, and I think that really hurt us. It made us pretty predictable in second-and-long and third-and-long scenarios where it's an obvious passing down. I think us being one-dimensional really had a domino effect down the road. Ended up hurting us."

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