The Los Angeles Chargers fought tooth and nail in the fourth quarter on both sides of the ball. The defense forced a pair of turnovers while also logging two sacks. Philip Rivers and company scored a pair of touchdowns, with both coming in the span of 70 seconds.
After being down by 17 with less than 15 minutes to go, the Bolts showed heart, giving themselves a chance to send the game into overtime. Unfortunately, Younghoe Koo's game-tying attempt was blocked as the Chargers fell 24-21.
This one hurts.
But there's no time to let it linger.
While the wounds are fresh, the Chargers knows they can't let Week 1's heartbreaking loss snowball into a second one. Most teams give themselves a day to celebrate a win or mourn a loss.
Head Coach Anthony Lynn knows the Bolts don't have that luxury.
"It hurts, but we do not have the 24-hour rule anymore because we have to go back to work here on Wednesday," he said. "The Dolphins are in town waiting for us, and they don't care about this game or how we feel."
The Bolts will have just five days to prepare for a Miami Dolphins team who is already in Los Angeles after their season opener was postponed. Perhaps no one summed up the Bolts' emotions better than Philip Rivers. Number 17 offered necessary perspective in the moments after the game ended, hammering home how half the teams in the league are in the same positon.
As the leader of the team, the onus is on Rivers to make sure his teammates enter Week 2 with the right attitude.
He has no doubt they'll do just that.
"You won't have a problem with guys' attitudes or guys moping around," he vowed. "Fifteen teams are 0-1, 15 teams are 1-0 and two didn't play. We've got a lot of football left. I think our fight and the way the defense stepped up (is encouraging). We got down to 24-7 and they said, 'No more,' and we got going. We just got going too late and that's something we have to do, find a way to get in a rhythm sooner."
If anything, while disheartened by the end result, Rivers boarded the plane back to Los Angeles feeling encouraged as well.
"I think our toughness and fight stood out," he said. "I think that's something we've had, but this is a new team and a new season. I think at least we can say that we still have that trait. It doesn't count for anything right now, but over these next 15 games, to give us a chance to get into the tournament, it counts for something…. This one hurts, but we've got a long way to go."
Meanwhile, Joe Barksdale notes that the short week could be a blessing in a disguise. It can be hard to get over a gut punch loss. After all, the players are only human. However, having a short turnaround means the team has no choice but to put it in the rearview mirror.
"We have to keep the morale up," he said matter-of-factly. "The good thing is we don't have much time to grieve because we have a quick turnaround. So we'll keep the morale up and continue to be positive. If you bring positivity into the locker room, it will be contagious."
Keeping a positive mindset doesn't mean there aren't changes that must be made. Keenan Allen was adamant the offense must learn from their shortcomings in Denver. Chiefly, it's about proper execution and getting off to a faster start.
"We kept shooting ourselves in the foot," the wideout said. "We had one or two bad plays every drive, going backwards. We'll have to go in and watch it and look at it on film and see what we have to correct… It's the execution. We've got to execute better and make the plays that we're supposed to make early."