Here are five top lessons learned from the Chargers' 23-22 loss to the Denver Broncos, presented by Select Physical Therapy.
1. Perspective Needed – Before delving into the tough lessons the Chargers must learn to get back to their winning ways, it's important to keep things in perspective. Losing sucks…but being 7-3 certainly doesn't. The Bolts need to let this loss sting, allowing all that went wrong to sink in while ensuring they don't make the same mistakes going forward. Still, they can't get too down on themselves, realizing that they still own an impressive 7-3 record with six games remaining. But, as Philip Rivers said, after making so many mistakes that the Chargers basically beat themselves, the team must realize another game like the one they authored on Sunday is simply unacceptable:
"We've had a good run. Shoot, we're still sitting at 7-3. There's no satisfaction, no settling, but we've got a lot to look ahead to and it's right in front of us with Arizona (Cardinals) coming into town. I don't think there's any sort of relaxing. We've had a heck of a week at practice. I felt we did a lot of really good things out there. We just did the things we haven't done - the things we have been able to stay away from, the crucial mistakes we've been able to stay away from - we didn't today."
2. An "Embarrassing" Number of Penalties – That's the word several Chargers used to describe the 14 penalties for 120 yards they committed against the Broncos. Even worse, they came at the most inopportune times. Early flags on offense stalled drives, forcing the Bolts to settle for field goals instead of finding pay dirt. A key defensive holding late in the game took an interception off the board, while several personal fouls ended up giving Denver free yards when they were struggling to move the ball at times. Committing 14 penalties is so uncharacteristic of this year's Chargers team, which is why an angry Head Coach Anthony Lynn was at loss for words to explain it:
"Today, we lost that one (ourselves). Not to take anything away from the Broncos, that team was ready to play…(But) 14 penalties for 120 yards? You have to be kidding me. Those are things we've stayed away from (all year)."
3. Mental Miscues Mystify – The Chargers also had several mental miscues that doomed them, especially late in the game. Melvin Gordon ran the wrong way on 2nd-and-3 in the closing minutes, while Rivers threw the ball into the ground to avoid a pick instead of simply taking a sack and letting the clock run late. In addition, special teams fell victim to a fake punt for the second week in a row. Overall, the Bolts stressed the types of mental errors they made were simply unacceptable, epitomized by Gordon taking full responsibility for running the wrong way in a key situation:
"I went the wrong way. Ain't no excuses for it. It's the down to go get it and win the game. You just can't make that mistake, and I did today."
4. Two Turnovers + No Takeaways = Too Much to Overcome – The Chargers have protected the rock all year long, yet Rivers tossed a pair of picks on Sunday, including one that turned the tide as L.A. was about to put the ball away. Meanwhile, the defense didn't force a single takeaway, with their one interception late by Adrian Phillips negated by a holding penalty. Compounding the lack of takeaways was that the defense failed to record a single sack. Teams that lose the turnover battle often come up on the wrong side of the ledger when the clock strikes zero, and that's exactly what happened to the Bolts. According to Rivers, the interception he threw to Von Miller in the third quarter is what really turned the tide:
"The interception turned the game around to me. That spun the whole game. It was about to be a blowout and he made that play, then the touchdown. Then, all of a sudden, they made it a game. We did those things at the end, kind of mishandling that. When we've closed out so many of these games, we're left on the field, taking a knee. We were one play from doing it again, then next thing you know, you end up one point short."
5. Gates Still Has Enough Left in the Tank – Keenan Allen, Tyrell Williams, Mike Williams, Melvin Gordon and Austin Ekeler have been lethal all year for the Bolts. On Sunday, a certain future Hall of Famer proved defenses still must key in on him. Antonio Gates turned back the clock vs. Denver, hauling in five passes for 80 yards and a touchdown. Three of his receptions came in the clutch on third-and-longs while another reception was good for a score. All those came even though the tight end was questionable to suit up with a knee injury. By reminding teams he's still more than capable, Gates' presence will only further open things up for the rest of the passing game. When asked about the living legend's performance, Rivers noted how he has always had all the faith in the world in Gates when teams focus in on other options:
"He had a heck of a day. Heck of a day. I can't say that I saw it coming in the sense that he was going to be targeted that much. But at the same time, we know that getting him back (this season), he's in this for the long haul. So, when we get in the game like this where (Denver) is doing some things to our receivers and you have him singled up (on man-to-man coverage), then he's going to get some opportunities. He did a heck of a job. Obviously, three huge third down (conversions) come to mind. Obviously, the touchdown catch. He did a nice job and it was good to have him be such a (big) part of it again. I know it was important for him. But again, it's not fun when it ends like this. It just puts a damper on all of those things."
Five Reasons You Should Be Sleeping
- Sleep is vital to the body's recovery, both mentally and physically, from the rigors of everyday life. Sleep assists in maintaining a healthy immune system, recovering from injury, sustaining positive mood and maintaining blood pressure levels.
- The National Sleep Foundation states that the average adult, age 18-64, requires at least seven hours of sleep per night to maintain normal human functioning.
- Sleep deprivation can put you at an increased risk of serious health conditions, such as heart attack, stroke, diabetes, irregular heartbeat and hypertension.
- Did you know that if you consistently receive less than six hours of sleep per night that it is equivalent to coming to work with a blood alcohol content of 0.08, or being legally drunk in the state of California? This is due to diminished motor control, cognitive processing and coordination.
- For those individuals experiencing chronic pain (pain lasting more than two months), a recent study found that getting at least seven hours of sleep per night was more effective in reducing pain when compared to taking prescription medication, having surgery and completing therapy.
For more information or to request a complimentary consultation with Select Physical Therapy, please visit selectphysicaltherapy.com today!