In Sunday's 31-24 loss to the Miami Dolphins, the Chargers' couldn't overcome a variety of mistakes and miscues that gave them their sixth defeat of the season.
"(There were) too many missed opportunities throughout the entire game," said Head Coach Mike McCoy.
McCoy cited problems in all three phases and the team's four turnovers on the day.
While they had done a great job containing the run through the first half, the Bolts defense broke two plays coming out of halftime. Jay Ajayi rushed off left end for a gain of 40 yards and three plays later, Damien Williams rushed up the middle for a two-yard touchdown to give Miami their first lead of the game.
After the Bolts regained the lead in the third, the Dolphins got into San Diego territory. Facing a 3rd-and-11 from the SD 44, Ryan Tannehill appeared to be stopped and sacked by Melvin Ingram. However, Tannehill evaded pressure and ended scrambling off right end for a gain of 18. His scramble moved the chains on a drive that ended in a touchdown to give Miami the lead back.
"I think they did a good job covering down field," Tannehill said. "We didn't really have a play for that defense that they called. I got some good protection up front (and) they had a three-man rush so I knew I was going to have some time to try to move around and find a guy downfield on the scramble…. I just tried to get free and get the first down."
Tannehill's third down scamper and Williams' touchdown were two of four third downs the Dolphins converted on drives that ended in scores.
Melvin Ingram admitted the two quick scores on back-to-back drives for the Dolphins were hard to take.
"They made plays in the run game; that's what hurt us," he said. "They made two big run plays that got them in scoring range and they finished it off. We didn't make enough plays to stop the run."
However, the fourth quarter was where the most mistakes happened, and they started right out of the gate.
After a punt by Drew Kaser, Jakeem Grant muffed the catch and Darrell Stuckey recovered the muffed punt at the Miami five. Down four, what seemed like a sure way to get points on the board was quickly wiped away. After rushing for no gain and throwing two incomplete passes, on third down, the Bolts' drive was saved by a defensive holding call. However, two plays later, Philip Rivers threw into double coverage in the end zone and Tony Lippett intercepted the ball for the touchback.
"We have to find a way (to score)," Gordon said of the goal-line struggles. "Me, as a running back and us as a line, as a group, we have to find a way to punch that ball in. That's one we wish we could get back, but we can't, so it is what it is."
Rivers tossed another INT halfway through the fourth quarter but the Dolphins punted off their drive and on the ensuing Chargers drive, the Bolts scored to regain the lead. However, much like they gave up the 40-yard run at the top of the third quarter, the Bolts' defense gave up a 56-yard pass on the first play of the Dolphins' next drive. A roughing the passer penalty on San Diego tacked on nine yards to the play. Giving up the chunk play proved costly for the Chargers as Miami kicked a field goal to tie the game with 3:01 left.
However, a pair of Rivers interceptions within the final 90 seconds when the team tried for a game-winning drive proved lethal. Kiko Alonso cut in front of Tyrell Williams and ran a Rivers' pass back 60 yards to make it 31-24 with 1:01 left. Two plays later with no timeouts, Rivers tossed his fourth interception of the day which sealed the loss.
"With those critical turnovers, I'm not the first quarterback to have some, and I won't be the last to have some crucial ones," Rivers said after the game. "I can't remember (a game) quite like this. I hate it for the guys in there. There were plenty of opportunities and I know they count on me to make those, and I do as well. I just didn't get it done today."
The hardest part of this loss may be taking it into the bye. As Corey Liuget put it, it's "heartbreak".
"Defensively, we didn't make enough plays to get the ball to the offense so they can get in the end zone the way that they do," Liuget added. "This one hurt and it sucks."