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Travis Coons Makes Bolts History in Debut

Travis Coons' Chargers career did not get off on the right foot.

Philip Rivers had just orchestrated a masterful 13-play, 86-yard drive on the Bolts' first possession, setting the new kicker up for a 38-yard field goal.

Unfortunately, it clanked off the right upright.

It marked the fourth time the Chargers missed a field goal on the opening drive of the game.

However, Coons refused to let that one kick define his day.

The Bolts' new kicker shook off the early miss to make his next four attempts, setting a franchise record for field goals in a Chargers debut.   On a day when the offense struggled to finish off drives, scoring only one TD in four red zone appearances, Coons' mental fortitude to move on from the early miss proved pivotal.

"He's a pro kicker," Philip Rivers said while admitting he still doesn't know much about his newest teammate. "I know he had a good year in 2015 in Cleveland. Obviously, he missed the first one today. and then he had one that got blocked that went through. It looked like a pass that went through the goal post, but he did do a nice job of settling in and making them. He made the rest of them and made the rest of the PATs. Obviously, if you have a bolt on your helmet and you're out there, you believe in your teammates."

Even though he set a record for most field goals in a debut, Coons' day was far from perfect. In addition to the missed field goal, he had another attempt deflected at the line of scrimmage.  Fortunately, he hit it with enough strength to power the ball through the uprights.

"(Coons) did fine," Head Coach Anthony Lynn said.  "He missed his first kick, and to his credit, he bounced back.  He finished the game strong."

Who would kick for the Bolts was top of mind all week after Nick Novak got hurt against the Dallas Cowboys.  The veteran was unable to finish the game, leaving punter Drew Kaser to handle kicking duties.  The Chargers held workouts on Tuesday with a handful of kickers, opting to sign Coons to the practice squad.

On Saturday, the team opted to place Novak on IR and roll with Coons.  Lynn explained what went into the decision following the win.

"The game in Dallas, I believe if it had been a close game, we would have lost because of our kicking situation," he explained.  "I just couldn't think of putting 52 people back in that position again. If he's not 100-percent, and can't go out and kick, then we had to make a move.  I think we made the best move for our organization."

With the Bolts now locked in a three-team tie atop the AFC West, Rivers stressed how important it is the team gets their kicking game ironed out.

"Certainly, it hasn't been ideal with the kicking situation," he said.  "Now that you're in December and every game and every play matters.  Hopefully he can settle in as we move forward and everything will go smoothly."

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