After losing significant playmakers on offense over the first two games of the season, the Chargers' defense took a blow in the first quarter when Manti Te'o injured his Achilles. The team captain is set to have further testing done back in San Diego to confirm the exact nature of his injury.
Understandably upset, the inside linebacker opened up about his mindset after being carted into the locker room.
"Everything happens for a reason," he said following the game. "I live by a quote that says, 'God puts mountains in front of you to show other people that it can be moved,' and my faith is strong. I know that I will be alright. Unfortunately, I couldn't be out there with my brothers and playing, and that is the thing that hurts the most. It was a big year for me, and I worked extremely hard and there is nothing that you can do now. Just look forward, move forward and keep going."
While in obvious pain after suffering the injury, Te'o said the emotional anguish far outweighed the physical angst.
"This is nothing compared to what is going on in my head and my heart. I have been playing this game for 20 years. I have been playing this game since I was five. All my family is in my head and my family here with the Chargers; we just had so many big dreams. I had so many big dreams for my team. Just because I am down does not mean that it is over. It is still going, but I just wish I could be right there with them. I am still going to be there just like I was in the second half, but I am not going to be out there with them and that is the thing that hurts the most. It is where I am most comfortable. It is where I have the most fun. It's stuff like that that happens."
The heart and soul of the Chargers defense, losing Te'o for however long is a tough obstacle to overcome. As has become all too familiar, the Bolts will now look to someone else to step up. Rookie Jatavis Brown saw an increase in playing time following Te'o's injury, making impact plays such as the strip sack on Andrew Luck that resulted in Caraun Reid's fumble return for a touchdown.
"We had the next man up mentality when Manti went down," he said. "We needed somebody to make a play. Overall, I thought we did a good job (with that). I knew I was behind Manti (on the depth chart), and I had to step up. It was my time to step up."
Brown has been in Te'o's hip pocket since being selected in the fifth round this year out of Akron, and is one of many Chargers who look toward the captain for guidance.
"Manti is a role model for me. A guy I look up to. He knows the system inside and out. He's a guy I look up to."