Here are five top lessons learned from the Chargers' 24-10 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs:
1. "A Bad Day to Have a Bad Day" – That's what Philip Rivers said following one of the worst performances of his career. The QB finished 20-for-40 for 247 yards, no touchdowns and three interceptions for a 37.2 passer rating. It marked the fourth-lowest rating of his career. Rivers placed the onus on the loss squarely on his shoulders. The offensive line gave him plenty of time, and the run game was at its most effective when Melvin Gordon was rolling early on. Unfortunately, the team couldn't get in a groove. While Rivers was hard on himself after the game, Russell Okung put his performance in context, noting there have been plenty of times where number 17 saved the day. He expects Rivers to return to form beginning Week 4 vs. the Eagles:
"We've all been there before. I've definitely been there before where I'm trying my hardest, and things just aren't falling my way. Look, Philip is one of the greatest to ever play the game. There is no doubt in my mind that he is going to shake back from this. He is going to push himself harder than ever before, because that is what he does. He'll shake back, but it's one day at a time for us. We are going to have to build this house up one brick at a time."
2. Where Are the Takeaways? – The Bolts were one of the best at forcing turnovers a year ago, ranking fourth in the NFL with 28 takeaways. They had at least one in 15 of 16 games, leading the league with 18 interceptions while their 10 fumble recoveries tied for ninth. Unfortunately, the defense has gone two straight games without forcing a turnover. The only turnovers they've recorded on the year came in the fourth quarter in Week 1. It's always tough to get takeaways against the Chiefs, as Alex Smith is one of the best in the league at limiting interceptions. Still, while it was a strong day overall for the defense, the fact remains the Chargers have gone eight straight quarters without a takeaway. After the game, Melvin Ingram explained how the defense has to find a way to play even better:
"We have to get back to the lab and we have to come together. I feel like if we do that it can be something special. We have to give it 110-percent. We have to go above and beyond to get those results. That's how this league works."
3. SupaMel Flying High – The NFL's sack leader through the first three weeks of the season is none other than Melvin Ingram. His career-high three sacks on Sunday give him 5.5 on the year, which is one more than Jacksonville's Calais Campbell. Ingram's career-high for a year is 10.5, which he notched in 2015. The defensive end is more than halfway to that mark in just three games, and has been a perfect fit as the LEO in Defensive Coordinator Gus Bradley's system. Here is what Head Coach Anthony Lynn had to say about Ingram after the game:
"Melvin Ingram, every time I turned around he was getting a sack. I love his energy, his passion on the sidelines. Our defense played real hard. That was definitely a positive."
4. Gordon Goes Off…Then Out – Melvin Gordon got off to the best first quarter of his career, rushing for a personal best 55 yards in the opening 15 minutes. He also found the end zone for the third time in as many games. The running back was off to a tremendous start before missing most of the second half due to a knee injury. He came back and played for a handful of snaps, finishing with 17 carries for 79 yards (4.6 ypc) and one TD. While there will obviously be concern for the Pro Bowl running back, Gordon insisted he's fine:
"I'm fine. I played through a lot and been through a lot with my knee. I'm good."
Lynn also expressed optimism about Gordon going forward:
"He stayed in at halftime for a little while. He came out and he was cold. He eventually worked himself back in the game, but yes, the knee did slow him down some…. We may rest him a day, but he finished the game so I'm sure he will come back and practice."
5. Nunc Coepi – The favorite saying of Philip Rivers is one the team must embrace going forward – "Now We Begin." There is nothing that can be done about their 0-3 record. However, there are still 13 games remaining, which is plenty of time to right the ship. However, they must look themselves in the mirror and do whatever it takes to get the season turned around. Lynn, for one, believes the team has the character, talent and makeup to do just that:
"You don't sit around and think what you're going to say to a team after three losses. This group has a lot of character. This group comes to work every day and they work hard. I just know from my personal experience, when you do that each and every day and every week, eventually it's going to turn around and it's going to happen for you. Not next year, but this year."