Give credit where credit is due – the Baltimore Ravens came into ROKiT Field at StubHub Center and simply beat the Chargers, 22-10.
There was no secret behind their victory.
As Head Coach Anthony Lynn put it, Baltimore was just the better team Saturday night.
"We got out-coached today, and we got out-played," said Head Coach Anthony Lynn. "We couldn't get them off the field on defense, and we couldn't stay on the field on offense. I thought special teams played pretty solid this evening. Our offense and defense – we got out-played, and we got out-coached. It's just that simple. It's a good football team. They came in here, and they beat us."
As Lynn noted, Baltimore's offense and defense seemed to be in control the entire night.
Their league-leading defense kept the Bolts' high-powered offense in check, limiting them to only 198 yards of offense. Philip Rivers failed to throw a touchdown pass for the first time this season, completing 23 of 37 passes for just 181 yards and two picks. He was also sacked four times.
Overall, it was the team's fewest total yards since a Week 9 loss back in 2014 to the Miami Dolphins.
"It's a good defense, and they just out-played us today," Rivers said. "They out-played us. We couldn't sustain that many drives early in the game. Therefore, the time of possession in the first half was way lopsided due to us keeping our defense out there. We couldn't sustain any drives. It's a good defense, and they played us (tough) today.… I give them credit. They did some good things up front (and) did some good things in the secondary. We did alright at times, we just couldn't sustain anything for the most part. Our only touchdown was on a short field off a great play from our defense. We just couldn't get going. That's why I said, credit to them."
Meanwhile, even though the defense was able to limit Baltimore's offense to field goals most of the night and forced a key turnover that led to the Bolts' only touchdown, they allowed Lamar Jackson to march down field and eat clock.
The Ravens didn't do anything the Chargers didn't expect out of them.
They were simply unable to stop them.
"It's pretty simple," Lynn summed up. "They'll run the ball 40, 50 times a game – run-action every now and then, and they'll try to keep the offense on the field. They want to control the clock. They did exactly that.… They were averaging (almost) five yards a carry. Anytime you play 11-on-11 and their quarterback's a runner, it's going to be a little harder. We have to play disciplined, fundamental football. We have to win our one-on-ones, get those blocks and make tackles. It's really that simple, and we didn't do that today."
At the same time, the Chargers didn't do themselves any favors. They turned the ball over three times, struggled to convert on third down and committed eight penalties. Even worse, most of those flags came at inopportune times.
"We killed ourselves today with the penalties," Melvin Gordon said. "We convert and (it gets called back by a) penalty. Now you're 1st-and-20 or 2nd-and-15 or 2nd-and-20 and that takes away from our game. Our game's unbalanced. We can't be balanced behind (the sticks). It's just tough. We killed ourselves with that.… Getting first downs then getting it called back, you just can't win a national football game like that."
Overall, despite the loss, there's one thing Rivers knows for certain.
"There will be no lost confidence with this group," he said matter-of-factly.
Not that there was any doubt there would be, but it's still reassuring to hear.
That's especially the case as there's a good chance these teams may face off again in a matter of weeks.
While Baltimore still hasn't clinched a playoff berth, the win significantly increased their chances of making the tournament. The Bolts obviously are already in the dance, but their opponent won't be determined until after their Week 17 game against the Denver Broncos.
However, a rematch against the Ravens in Baltimore is one of the more likely scenarios at this point in time.
"Depending on what happens, we may have another crack at them in two weeks," Rivers acknowledged. "We've got to get over it quick. That's gone, so move on to the next step. We need to have a better week this week (of) preparation and finish the regular season right. Then see where we go. Odds are, it's Pittsburgh or Baltimore, so we'll know that here in about eight days."
So, how would the Bolts feel about playing this team in two weeks?
"If we do, then we do," said Gordon. "(Then) we'll see them in a couple of weeks. Can't run from it. We made our road. It's going to be a little bit tougher now, but it is what it is. We put ourselves in this spot, we've just got to come out and play."
"Of course (we'd like another shot at them)," added Mike Pouncey. "It came down until the very end of the game, and we didn't play well, so yeah we'll see how it goes this last week. But whoever's going to line up in front of us in the playoffs, we'll be ready."