Here's a breakdown of the news from the Chargers' 15th week of the season:
Monday: Staley breaks down second-straight win
On Monday, head coach Brandon Staley went over his thoughts on the Chargers' commanding 37-21 win over the New York Giants in Week 14. With a short week ahead of them, Staley talked about where the Chargers stand in the playoff hunt and how that has lined up with his vision for the team.
"I expected us to be in the [playoff] hunt, that's for sure, and I expected us to be able to win any game that we played," Staley said. "That was my expectation coming here. That was my vision going into this position, that we would be able to go into any game we play and be able to win it, no matter who it is, no matter where it is."
Chargers OLB Joey Bosa, who recorded his league-leading fifth strip sack of the season against the Giants, talked about how his mentality has allowed him to cause more turnovers.
"It's something I just focus on way more," Bosa said. "Every time I get an opportunity, I'm going for the ball. I think that's how you really change the game; sacks are good, but being able to get those turnovers and get it in the hands of [QB] Justin [Herbert] is way more helpful in getting those wins. In the past, in that opportunity, I would have probably just went for a big hit, when I was a rookie or in my second year, but now, I'd rather just reach out and take the ball because it's a lot simpler and you get the forced fumble.
Chargers rookie left tackle Rashawn Slater was added to the Reserve/COVID-19 list on Monday.
Tuesday: Preparing for Kansas City for the second time this season
With the Bolts' focus on to Kansas City early in the week, linebacker Kyzir White talked about how him and his fellow linebackers have played together this season. White himself passed the century mark in tackles for the first time in his young NFL career.
"It means a lot," White said about passing 100 tackles on the year. "That is a big accomplishment … It took me four years to hit it … I feel like this is perfect timing for me. But I'm not done yet. I still want to keep going, keep getting better and keep helping this team win games."
Offensive coordinator Joe Lombardi and defensive coordinator Renaldo Hill talked about what they are going to have to do in order to prepare for the Chiefs for the second time this season, this time on Thursday Night Football. Hill referenced the Bolts' Week 3 victory over the Chiefs, but explained how his game plan will need to be different in order to find success.
"Obviously, there were a lot of good things in that ball game, but when you look back, it was three months ago, that was a long time ago," Hill said. "They were still finding themselves as a team, and we were still trying to find ourselves as a team. A lot of things were happening. We'll definitely look at that game and see what we did well, what we can improve on and see where we are at now, as a team. I think that we're both in different places. We have to continue to do what we do best and what's been good for us. Hopefully, that's enough for us to play well and, hopefully, come out with the win."
Wide receiver Keenan Allen, who missed the Chargers Week 14 matchup against the New York Giants was activated from the Res./COVID-19 list Tuesday.
Wednesday: Herbert wins AFC Offensive Player of the Week
On Wednesday, Justin Herbert was named the AFC Offensive Player of the Week for the second-straight week for his three touchdown performance against the New York Giants.
With arguably the biggest game of the year ahead on the schedule with a chance to take first place in the AFC West, the Bolts' preparations for Kansas City were well underway.
"You have to manage your time very well," Herbert said. "I think that's the tough part about these short weeks, that you have to rely on the game film from the last game, look back at your notes, what you wrote down, what you remember from the previous game, and you have to watch as many games as you can in the short time frame. At the same time, you have to move on to third downs, red zone areas and in short yardage. It's a quick turnaround, but I think that the coaches have done a great job of spacing that out and prepping us so that we feel comfortable heading into the game."
Staley ruled Slater out for Thursday's matchup against the Chiefs noting he wouldn't clear COVID-19 protocols in time for the game.
Thursday: AFC West primetime battle
On Thursday, the Bolts took on the Kansas City Chiefs with a chance to sweep the season series 2-0 on Thursday Night Football. Both teams battled in SoFi Stadium but a 34-yard touchdown by tight end Travis Kelce sealed the 34-28 overtime victory for the Chiefs. After the game, Staley talked about putting that game in perspective as the Bolts have three games left in the regular season, two of them being against AFC West opponents.
"This is just one game in the NFL," Staley said. "That's what tonight was. Whether we had won it or lost it, it's just one game in the NFL … Our whole season is in front of us … We just went through something really challenging. Then, we have to come back Monday and get ready for the Houston Texans. That's what I told our players and our coaches. That's exactly what we're going to do, is we're going to come back a better football team than we left the stadium today."
Herbert echoed that message and talked about the optimism that battling against the Chiefs gives the Chargers.
"We're awfully close," Herbert said. "I think that's the toughest part. I was really proud with how the defense, the offense and the special teams played … Everyone is going to ride with us and we're going to trust each other and we love to be in that opportunity. The defense feels the same way, we believe in those guys 100 percent. We were close, we fell short today, but we couldn't have tried any harder. I was really proud of those guys."
With 236 passing yards against the Chiefs, Herbert broke the all-time record for most passing yards by a player in the first two seasons of a career, bringing his career passing yards total to 8,394.
Friday: Breaking down the overtime loss
On Friday, Staley broke down Thursday night's overtime loss to the Chiefs. Staley was able to give updates on tight end Donald Parham Jr. who was taken to the hospital during the first quarter of Thursday night’s game to be evaluated for a head injury.
"It was encouraging news throughout the night," Staley said. "We were updated about his progress, and throughout the early morning. The statement, obviously, is a good sign. He's trending positive. The most important thing is that his mom is with him, his girlfriend. He's with great care. [Sr. Director of Player Engagement] Arthur Hightower and Dr. Herb Martin have been amazing from our team, making sure that that happened with his mom getting here so quickly. I look forward to talking to him, personally, at some point today."
Staley also talked about the championship-like atmosphere that was displayed on Thursday night and what it meant to see his players put it all on the line.
"As a coach, that's what you're looking for," he said. "You're looking for, 'Hey, did your team go for it? Did your team play fearless? Were you guys connected.' I felt like all those things are true. Then, now what we have to do is we have to focus on the details, the specifics of why we lost, because those two things can happen at the same time. That's what we're going to get to work on, on Monday. But, I'm so proud of our guys. It was a great ball game last night, a great game for the NFL."
The Bolts now have now have a mini-bye to rest and recover in time to face the Houston Texans in Week 16 of the NFL season.
Videos of the Week
This week also brought a collection of videos to Chargers fans, take a look at the top videos released throughout the week.
Elementary Students Surprised with Bike from Chargers and Pechanga:
The Bolt fam continued a 17-year tradition by partnering with Bikes for Kids and Pechanga to surprise 3rd graders at a local Los Angeles elementary school with brand new bikes. The bikes were hand-built by the Bolts Community Crew over the weekend and former Chargers LaDainian Tomlinson and Antonio Gates surprised all the children with the bicycles. This year's donation of 170 bikes was the largest yet thanks to Pechanga Resort and Casino.
Ice Cold Tweets 2021: Episode 7
Chargers players read old tweets from their teammates and guess who tweeted it.
Mic'd Up: OLB Joey Bosa vs. New York Giants:
Chargers edge Joey Bosa wired for sound during the Los Angeles Chargers Week 14 matchup against the New York Giants.
Film Room: Breaking Down QB Battle Between Justin Herbert and Patrick Mahomes
Chris Hayre and Daniel Jeremiah break down game film of superstar quarterbacks Justin Herbert and Patrick Mahomes ahead of the Chargers Week 15 matchup vs. the Chiefs at SoFi Stadium.
Tweets of the Week
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