There is nothing left to do now but wait.
Following a spirited preseason, training camp and offseason program, the Chargers must cut down the active roster to the NFL mandated 53-man limit by Saturday at 1:00pm. That means 22 players who poured their hearts and souls into trying to earn a spot will see their dreams come to an end.
"Tonight was a great opportunity for a lot of players," Head Coach Mike McCoy said. "We have some tough decisions to make this weekend. It's a tough time as coaches and as an organization. We've got to get down to 53 and tell some players they're not going to be with us any longer, but I can't thank them enough."
While it is always a difficult task for the front office to break the bad news to a player, the good news for the Bolts is that they have tough decisions to make. Thursday night provided one last opportunity to cement a spot, and despite the disappointing loss, numerous undrafted free agents put their best foot forward.
Defensively, safety Adrian McDonald and cornerback Trevor Williams each notched interceptions early in the third quarter. McDonald cut in front of the intended receiver to pick off Jeff Driskel while Williams corralled a low pass before it hit the ground. Then, Williams popped up and returned it 32 yards the other way.
On the other side of the ball, running back Kenneth Farrow carried the ball seven times for 63 yards, averaging 9.0 yards per attempt. Highlights included a 44-yard dash that showed off his patience and vision, followed by a six-yard touchdown one play later in which he sliced through the defense. After missing the past two games nursing an undisclosed injury, Farrow realized the significance of showing out against the 49ers.
"Yeah, it was big, especially me missing two games. I knew I had to get back out there and have a good game (and) I was fortunate enough to do that. The offensive line had a great game. They opened up holes for me (and) the receivers were downfield blocking…I went out there tonight and did what I could. The rest is up to them and everybody else. I've done my job. I don't have any say from here on out."
Meanwhile, fullback Chris Swain scored the first touchdown of the game, which was especially meaningful since the fullback also serves as a reserve Naval Officer stationed in Coronado. McCoy explained it was a point of emphasis once they got to the goal line to give Swain the rock. No matter what happens this weekend when the 53-man roster is announced, it's a moment he will never forget.
"This is up there as probably my number one (football moment)," he said. "My first NFL touchdown on Military Appreciation Night. It was a great night…. (Now) we'll see what happens. It's up to (the Chargers) and I felt like I gave them my all tonight. Hopefully it was enough to show them. Hopefully it was enough to bring the 'Swain Train' here."
Another player looking to earn a spot on the 53-man roster was Isaiah Burse. After spending the last half of 2015 on the practice squad, the wide receiver had five catches for 63 yards, including a 17-yard touchdown in which he crossed up the defensive back with a simple juke. Even though some may be stressed with their fate up in the air, Burse is taking the opposite approach.
"I'm not going to be worrying too much. My family is down here and I'm just going to enjoy their company, relax, and whatever happens, happens… I showed (the Chargers) how much I could catch the ball and do some things with it. I think they knew that as well. I happened to get something going tonight with multiple catches, and it was good to have that. I haven't gotten the ball in space in a while, and that's one of the things I pride myself on."
The Chargers did their job by making it a tough task for General Manager Tom Telesco and company to whittle down the roster. Stay tuned to Chargers.com in the coming days for breaking news and complete analysis as the Bolts build their final 53-man active roster.