If there was one lesson to be learned from the 2015 season, it was how the Chargers needed to find a way to win close games.
Early in the fourth quarter in the team's season opener loss to Kansas City, the Chargers were in the driver's seat with a commanding 27-10 lead over the Chiefs.
Unfortunately, the past came back to haunt the visiting team.
"It was a tale of two halves," Head Coach Mike McCoy said. "It was a matter of us getting after them and getting pressure on Alex (Smith). I'll have to watch the whole film and see (why) exactly in the fourth quarter as a team, we didn't get it done."
"We make it 27-10 and then (Jason) Verrett gets the great pick," added Philip Rivers. "Right there was when I felt like if we finish this, it's over; we can go ahead and finish this right here. We got it at the 45-yard line and we went three-and-out and didn't get anything out of it. Then it just kind of spun out of control. (Kansas City) scored and then we didn't do anything the rest of the day. You have to give them credit. They had an awesome fourth quarter and we didn't do anything to counter it. Just all of a sudden, you look up, it's a tied ball game and you're heading into overtime. It wasn't a game for three quarters and little change and we didn't complete the (job)."
It was difficult to pinpoint one specific reason as to why the Chargers didn't close it out. In Sunday's 33-27 defeat, many were once again baffled.
"We have to execute better," mentioned McCoy. "It's all of us together; coaches and players together and we have to be able to stop a team… In all three phases, we have to execute better. It's all of us. I wish I could say it's just this, but we didn't play well enough to win this game at the end."
"It's rare in a game like this you don't turn the ball over, score 27 points and you lose," added Rivers. "That's not saying anything about our defense at all. I'm just saying (that) if you don't turn it over and score 27 points, you'd feel pretty good about that. I don't feel good about it because I don't think we held up our end. When it is all said and done offensively, I don't think we held up our end."
One turning point was a missed field goal following Jason Verrett's interception. Josh Lambo missed wide right from 54-yards out, setting up a Chiefs scoring drive to cut the score to 10.
The missed field goal was certainly the point where the game did a 180, but it's a decision McCoy doesn't regret making.
"I had all the confidence in the world before the game that he is crushing the ball. He's putting it in there and he's dead on. During that drive before the play, I asked (Special Teams Coach) Craig Aukerman about it and he said, 'He's going to put it right down the middle.' He had all the confidence in the world and I had all the confidence in the world in him, too… We had been doing an outstanding job all game long but we didn't do a very good job after that. That was the turning point."
Another miscue was a 17-yard punt by Drew Kaser with less than two minutes remaining that set the Chiefs up with a short field to tie the game.
"That hurt," said McCoy.
While the loss stings, it's not time to panic. As Brandon Mebane said, it's only Week 1 and the team will learn from this and move on.
"Everybody in this locker room is (mad)," Joe Barksdale mentioned. "This game is over, there are 15 more. So it's time to go home, watch the film and game-plan for next week."