The San Diego Chargers entered Week 5 feeling like they’d coughed up games in every way imaginable.
However, after Sunday’s 34-31 loss to the Oakland Raiders, they suffered another gut punch in a way they never could have dreamed of.
Down by 10 early in the fourth quarter, the Bolts fought back and marched down the field with a chance to tie the game with what should have been a chip shot 36-yard field goal. Instead, the ball got away from Drew Kaser as he attempted to get the hold down as the Chargers fell 34-31.
“Just when you think you’ve seen it all, something like that happens,” Head Coach Mike McCoy said. “You think you’ve seen it all, and then something like that comes up. You move down the field and decide to kick a field goal, and you can’t handle the snap.”
“Discouraging probably isn’t strong enough,” Philip Rivers added. “I don’t know if there are many more ways left to find a way to lose…. I mean, you can’t make this stuff up. You think, really, is there any other way we can find a way to do this?”
Rivers never even saw the botched snap. By the time he turned around to watch the attempt, he saw Kaser chasing after the ball, effectively sealing the loss.
“I felt great about it (when it was snapped),” Kaser said. “That’s something else we have to go back on the film and just see what happened. I can’t stand here and tell you exactly what happened (right now).”
The botched snap wasn’t San Diego’s only gaffe in the second half that led to the loss. The Bolts actually led by eight points on two separate occasions in the third quarter, but self-inflicted mistakes doomed them in the end.
While Melvin Gordon found the end zone for the fifth straight game, he had a costly fumble with the Chargers up five with four minutes to go in the third quarter. After coughing the ball up at the San Diego 38, Derek Carr hit Michael Crabtree in the end zone on 4th-and-2 to put Oakland ahead.
With two fumbles deep in his own territory in back to back games, Gordon put the onus on himself to take better care of the ball. The running back noted it will be a focal point when he watches the film.
“I have to really look at it,” he said. “I’m really conscious about it. I honestly don’t even know what to tell you. I have to watch it and see. But at the end of the day, it can’t happen.”
San Diego had another gaffe late in the third quarter that led to a Raiders touchdown. After going three-and-out following Crabtree’s score, Kaser’s punt only went 16-yards, giving Oakland a short field they capitalized on.
Joey Bosa missed the first four games of the year with a hamstring injury. While he impressed in his NFL debut with a pair of sacks, he took the loss hard, pointing to the need to find a way to right the ship.
“It’s pretty unbelievable these things that are happening to us, but there’s no one else to blame other than ourselves,” he said. “We’ve got to get together as a team and really find out why this is happening because it’s a theme. Things don’t happen for no reason; there’s a reason. We’ve got a lot of great guys that are playing really hard, and it’s not a talent thing. We’ve just got to figure it out and I think we will.”