Philip Rivers strode to the podium following his team’s 35-23 loss to the Rams clearly ticked off. The fiery competitor that he is, it kills number 17 inside any time the Chargers don’t leave the field with the W.
“You’re sick about this game because you feel like you just kind of (gave it to them),” he said. “Hats off to them. They won the game, but we didn’t take advantage of the opportunities we had.”
At the same time, the quarterback was mighty encouraged, explaining how all the Bolts need to do is clean up a handful of areas and they will be just fine. There were several unforced errors that doomed the Bolts, including dropped passes, untimely turnovers, a missed field goal, a blocked punt for a touchdown, costly penalties, mental lapses and more that bit them in the end.
While taking nothing away from the Rams’ performance, Rivers stressed how the Bolts beat themselves in many ways, which is why he remained upbeat after the loss.
“I know you all know I’m the ultimate optimist, but I leave this game encouraged,” he said. “That team’s going to win 12 games probably, I would say at least. And you leave this going, ‘Hey, don’t turn the ball over, don’t give a blocked punt for a touchdown. Make a few better throws in the red zone and do some things and we can beat that team.’ So those are the kinds of teams you have to beat if you want to play in January.”
To do that, the Chargers must learn from the numerous mistakes they made Sunday against the Rams. The miscues were both mental and physical, so the team will watch the tape long and hard as they look to bounce back.
One major gaffe came on a key play for the Bolts.
With the Rams in the red zone, Jared Goff fired into the end zone but was picked off by Derwin James. Unfortunately, the safety didn’t stay in the end zone, taking the ball out before going out of bounds at the one-yard line. After the Chargers couldn’t muster many yards on the ensuing drive, Drew Kaser’s punt was blocked in the end zone and was recovered by the Rams for the touchdown.
James said his intent was not to bring the ball out of his end zone, but his momentum prevented him from staying behind the goal line for the touchback.
“It was my momentum carrying me because I had to travel so far to get to (the interception),” he said. “I was trying to get the ball out of bounds. I was trying to, but my momentum took me out.”
Still, while that was a crushing sequence, that’s not the single reason why the Chargers fell to the Rams. Instead, it was several just like that one that added up to be too much to overcome.
Overall, it clearly wasn’t the cleanest game on the field, yet Head Coach Anthony Lynn put the brunt of the loss on his shoulders. He admitted his team made too many mistakes, but in the end, stressed how the buck stops with him.
“We didn't play good enough to win today,” he said. “You can't give a team like that nothing. … We've got some things to correct. It's my responsibility, and believe me, I'm going to make those corrections."