The Los Angeles Chargers and Dallas Cowboys battled to the final seconds of Sunday's home opener in SoFi Stadium.
With the game tied at 17-17 with just under four minutes to play, the Chargers found themselves in another game that would come down to the final drive. This time, it was the defense on the field.
While the Bolts weren't able to walk away with a win due to a walk-off field goal by Dallas, head coach Brandon Staley, quarterback Justin Herbert, and wide receiver Mike Williams talked about how they can learn from the loss and continue to improve as they head into Week 3.
Chargers talk limiting penalties and red zone efficiency
Following Sunday's 20-17 loss to the Dallas Cowboys, head coach Brandon Staley talked about one big thing that contributed to the team's loss, penalties. A total of 20 penalties were called between the Cowboys and Chargers, but the Bolts were penalized 12 times for 99 yards. Two penalties negated touchdowns for the home team, and Staley said not "playing clean enough" is something this team will rectify moving forward.
"We gotta play within the parameters of how the game is being called and we need to make sure that we keep our composure and then if we play a clean enough game none of that will matter," Staley said. "I feel like that's where you make it about you and you don't make it about anybody else which is what we're gonna do, were gonna make this about the Chargers. Offense, defense, kicking game, and I think we'll grow from this because with all that said, we're in the fourth quarter at very end against a very good team with a chance to win and so I felt like last week we won the game as a team and today I thought we lost as a team."
"We felt like we moved the ball well, but we shot ourselves in the foot," quarterback Justin Herbert said. "We had too many penalties and you can't expect to win the NFL with that."
Herbert finished the game with 31 completions for 338 yards and one touchdown. He did have two picks on the day, one in the red zone which he said, "I can't turn the ball over like that in the red zone and expect to win."
Staley noted the red zone offense needs to get shored up and explained what the team's plan of action is to fix that going forward.
"I feel like running the ball better gives you a much better chance of being successful in the red area," he said. "So, just taking a look at our red-area plan…I felt like the red-area plan I really like, we practice it a lot but I think moving forward I think if we can run the ball better, we'll put ourselves in more favorable down and distances down there."
Herbert also said they'll grow from this game and work on red zone efficiency this week.
"It's probably a combination of mental and physical mistakes," Herbert said. "It's on us to be better than that. It goes back to our fundamentals and reads and progressions, and just something we have to cover this week in practice."
As the Chargers prepare to travel to Kansas City next weekend, Staley explained how they can accomplish the things the team needs to improve on. Staley said a main focus will be on how they can 'execute better.'
"There was a lot to unpack in that game number one, there was a lot that happened in that game and we stayed together and we had a chance in the fourth quarter and there wasn't anybody on our sideline that did not believe that we were gonna win and that's a big part of the NFL."
When asked about how the team will bounce back, wide receiver Mike Williams explained that while facing adversity comes with playing in the NFL, he's confident this team can turn things around moving forward.
"I mean it's the NFL so [there's] gonna be adversity," Williams said. "We are the best of the best that play this game, so we gotta learn how to let that adversity hit and overcome it. I feel like this team is gonna do that."
Mike Williams shines again
While a main focus for the Chargers next week will be success in the red zone, Chargers wide receiver Mike Williams has turned into a reliable target for Herbert when it comes to scoring touchdowns.
After the game, Williams talked about what's led to his success in this offense.
"It's probably just getting opportunities," Williams said. "That's the main thing, you know previous years it was just [making catches] down the field, down the field. But now you know, getting the ball in my hand trying to make plays for the team and I'm looking forward to the rest of the season."
Through two games in Williams' new role, he's notched 173 yards and two scores; 91 of those yards came on Sunday vs. Dallas. Herbert talked about the type of player Williams is and the relationship the two have on the field together.
"Mike Williams has really stepped up," Herbert said. "He's one of those guys that you really trust out there and he knows what he's doing. He's just so athletic and able to make so many great plays and one of those guys that you really trust when's he's out there."
Browse through live action photos of the Bolts Week 2 matchup against the Dallas Cowboys at SoFi Stadium.
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