There was a wide range of emotions in the Chargers locker room after Tampa Bay rallied for a 28-21 win at Qualcomm Stadium.
Anger and frustration over letting another fourth quarter lead slip away was among the palpable emotions as the Bolts walked off the field.
However, one phrase the team used to describe the game best summed up their attitude.
More to the point, the Bolts were sick of a dismal second half performance in which they felt they gave the game away. While giving Tampa Bay credit for making big plays, they also focused on their shortcomings.
“We are going to be sick looking at this film tomorrow,” Head Coach Mike McCoy said.
“Obviously, the feeling is not great,” Denzel Perryman added. “We left some plays on the field. Granted, they are a good team. They capitalized off our mistakes and made plays on their own. It’s real sickening right now…It’s very frustrating. That’s why you practice; to get it cleaned up. But when you get it cleaned up and come out here and make the same mistakes again, it gets real frustrating.”
McCoy highlighted the defense’s inability to finish plays on Jameis Winston as particularly frustrating. The Bolts made it a focal point to wrap him up when the chance presented itself, aware of his penchant for extending plays and shedding would-be sacks and tackles.
“That’s one of the keys of the game we talked about all week long. We met as a team Wednesday and last night. Coming to the game, we understood that Jameis does a phenomenal job in the pocket of getting out of plays that you think are sacks and minus plays. We are going to be sick looking at this film. I’ve seen the numbers of sacks that we could have had. With his physical strength, his arm strength, being able to throw some of those balls away…. Turn the film on. Week in and week out (that’s) what he does, and that was a big point of emphasis going into this game. Don’t allow him to do that. He makes some big plays when he gets out of there.”
The disappointing second half performance wasn’t limited to just the defense. After giving up a field goal on Tampa Bay’s first possession, the offense wasn’t able to muster much out of the gate due to what Matt Slauson labeled “poor execution.”
McCoy pointed to the first play of the half, when Philip Rivers had a wide open Tyrell Williams deep downfield. Unfortunately, he wasn’t able to get it to his big-play wide receiver due to blocking up front.
“We had a poor start (to the second half) today,” he said. “We had a big opportunity on the first call that Ken (Whisenhunt) made. We had the chance for a homerun to Tyrell and unfortunately we didn’t have the best protection there so it wasn’t the outcome we wanted. We are going to be sick when we watch the film tomorrow and see the play we could have had designed up. That was not a great start for the offense.”
A pair of interceptions also proved critical as an offense that was firing on all cylinders for the first 30 minutes couldn’t sustain its success. As Melvin Gordon explained, it comes down to the players executing better.
“(Letting a lead slip away), that’s been the problem with us,” he said. “We just have to know that once we get up, just step on their throat. We have to step on the team’s throat when we’re up. We just have to find a way. We all could be better. I know people may try to blame Philip with interceptions and things like that, but we all could be better. Those runs I had in open space, I make a guy miss and I need to make another guy miss. The elite ones do that and then take it for a touchdown. Then we wouldn’t have this problem right now. We’d all be in here happy. We’re all to blame right now, but it is what it is. We keep falling short and we have to figure it out.”