There were plenty of encouraging signs in the preseason opener despite the Chargers falling 27-10 to the Tennessee Titans.
However, the loss showed there are numerous areas the team needs to shore up before the regular season begins against the Kansas City Chiefs.
For instance, while the offense was able to move the ball down the field, they shot themselves in the foot with too many penalties. Eight of San Diego's nine penalties came on offense, including six by the offensive line.
"Unacceptable," D.J. Fluker said shaking his head after the game. "We've got to put a stop to that right away."
It's a point Head Coach Mike McCoy hammered home following the loss.
"As the game went on offensively, (there were) too many penalties," he said. "(We) drove, (then) penalties. We moved the ball and had a play, and then had something hurt us so then we're playing first, second and third-and-long. That was an issue."
In addition to dropping too many passes, turnovers also plagued the Bolts. Zach Mettenberger and Mike Bercovici were each picked off, with the last one leading to a 41-yard touchdown run by Bishop Sankey to seal the win for the home team.
"Zach had one interception." McCoy said. "I think he had a drop in there on third down also. So, we can't turn the football over. With Mike at the end, when he came in the fourth quarter, the one ball he threw a little flat. That's just learning. He's going to learn. He's a rookie quarterback that's done some nice things in training camp."
One of the positives for the Chargers was their ability to establish the run. Unfortunately, they struggled to stop it on the other side of the ball. Tennessee churned out 288 yards on 33 carries, averaging 8.7 yards per attempt.
"We just have to go back and look at the drawing board and film," Jahleel Addae said. "We'll look at what went wrong, what gaps we didn't fill and hold each other accountable. Obviously it's the preseason, so we have time to correct it. We'll come back on Monday ready to work and attack those points in practice."
The task won't get any easier for the defense, who will now face a multidimensional Arizona Cardinals rushing attack for two joint practices and Friday's preseason game.
"We'll just (keep) working on it," said Joshua Perry. "Arizona has great running backs and a great ground attack, so it's going to be a great challenge for us to make sure we're really shoring up our run fits and making sure we're finishing."
Giving up chunk plays is another area the Chargers know they must eliminate. The Bolts gave up five plays over 20 yards, including a 71-yard touchdown run by DeMarco Murray and a 41-yard score by Bishop Sankey.
"Defensively, we have to do a better job of stopping the run," McCoy noted. "I think that was a big play, a 71-yard run in there for an explosive touchdown, and you can't have that. We've got to do a better job there regardless of what type of game it is. We've got to stop it. We've got to watch the film; there's going to be some good and some bad. It's the first preseason game, we can't ever forget that. We played a lot of guys, which is great. It's a great time for us as an organization to evaluate a lot of players and we told them certain guys were going to play a ton today and it's a great opportunity for you to step up. I look forward to watching the film and analyzing every player and moving on to the next one."