The Chargers battle the Chiefs for a Saturday Night Football showdown.
The Los Angeles Chargers have been two different teams this season.
For the first month, poor tackling, miscues, penalties and turnovers contributed to an 0-4 start.
Then things started to change, and the Bolts won seven of their next nine by playing mistake-free football, protecting the rock while being the best team in the league at forcing takeaways.
Unfortunately, the Chargers reverted back to their September form in a 30-13 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs.
“It’s pretty obvious we didn’t play our best game,” Head Coach Anthony Lynn said. “We reverted back to doing some things that we’d done earlier in the season. We turned the ball over. We didn’t tackle well in space. We had some dumb penalties at bad times. In saying all that, we did come back and take a lead in the third quarter. We just couldn’t sustain it.
"Bad games can crop up at any time, but I would like to think we were beyond some of these (mistakes) and that we had taken that next step. As a program, we took a step back today."
While the team struggled on the field, Lynn also pointed fingers at the coaches.
"I didn't think we played our best, and as a coaching staff, we have to look ourselves in the face and figure out why. Why didn't we get our guys to play at our best in a big game like that?... As a young team mixed with some veterans, we have to mature and get our guys ready to play. That's on me."
After taking a 13-10 lead following Antonio Gates' TD early in second half, the Chargers imploded. Kansas City went on a 20-0 run to close out the game, forcing four turnovers along the way.
Quarterback Philip Rivers didn't mince words following the tough loss.
"We kind of fell apart in a sense, I guess," he said. "We've just got to execute. Again, just what we talked about during the last four games, not turning the ball over and getting takeaways, we were the opposite of that today. We turned the ball over too many times in this environment."
"We know that we didn't play the way we could've played," added center Spencer Pulley. "Which is very upsetting."
While the Bolts took a step back, they are far from out of it. True, they no longer control their own destiny, but they remain in the thick of the race.
"At this point of the season, we don't control our own destiny right now," Lynn said. "We lost that today. We can win out, but we're probably going to need some help. All we can control is these next two weeks…. Our playoffs have begun. There's no absolute that we're going to the playoffs even if we win the next two games. But if we don't, we're damn sure not going."
"I think the hardest part of it is that while it's not necessarily over yet, now you're not in control," echoed Rivers. "You've got to make sure you take care of the next couple, but then you need certain things to happen. So that is the toughest part, to claw our way (to) right here and taste it again, and then not play very well."