Here are five top lessons learned from the Chargers' 30-13 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs:
1. Old Issues Resurface – The Bolts came in to Saturday's game against the Chiefs winners of seven of nine. Unfortunately, the issues that put them in an 0-4 hole to start the season resurfaced in Arrowhead. Mental miscues, costly turnovers and poor tackling were at the top of the list for Head Coach Anthony Lynn, who was clearly disappointed as his team took a step back:
"It was pretty obvious we did not play our best game. I mean, we reverted back to doing some things that we had done earlier in the season. Turned the ball over. We didn't tackle well in space. We had some dumb penalties at bad times…. I think that bad games can crop up at any time, but I would like to think that we were beyond some of these and that we were taking the next step as a program, but we took a step back today."
2. Second Half Swoon – The second half started out as perfect as the Chargers could have hoped. The defense forced an early punt before Philip Rivers moved the ball down the field, finding Antonio Gates in the back of the end zone. The 86th connection between the pair put the Bolts up 13-10. However, the Chiefs struck back with a touchdown of their own, seizing momentum as they went on a 20-0 run to close out the game. Rivers talked about how the second half got away from the team:
"Yeah, we took the lead right there early in the third with a good drive. You know and then they answered and then we went out and we turned it over there and then we turned it over again later. We kind of fell apart in a sense I guess. We didn't execute how we have been executing, obviously giving them credit. But again, just what we talked about in the last four games not turning the ball over and getting takeaways. We were just the opposite of that today and we turned it over. Just speaking from us, I turned it over, we turned it over too many times. In this environment against this team it gets hard to win when you turn it over four times."
3. Takeaway Streak Comes to an End – While they came into the game the best in the league at forcing turnovers since Week 5, the Bolts failed to force a single turnover for the first time in months. They knew it would be hard facing an Alex Smith-led team that ranks at the top of the league in ball security. However, they also did not do themselves any favors when the opportunity rose. For instance, after Tyreek Hill muffed a punt midway through first quarter, a pair of Chargers were in position to recover the loose ball. However, after a heads up play by the Chiefs in which Nick Dzubnar was pushed into the ball, they were unable to corral it as KC maintained possession. The home team took advantage, using up the remaining 8:55 in the first quarter as they got on the board with a Harrison Butker field goal. While frustrated, Melvin Ingram explained that's just the way it goes sometimes. The key is how they respond moving forward:
"It's not frustrating. That's just how football is. That's how the chips fall right now. We're going to still come to work. We still got the same mentality, really. We got two more games. We got to go get both of them and let the chips fall where they may."
4. Injuries Take a Toll – Denzel Perryman. Russell Okung. Joe Barksdale. Adrian Phillips. Keenan Allen. Hunter Henry. Austin Ekeler. Corey Liuget. Jatavis Brown. The list of players forced to leave the game was lengthy, and the Chargers clearly lost a lot without some of their top playmakers on the field. To their credit, the locker room refused to pin the loss on the amount of players that were hurt. Still, as Melvin Gordon explained, it did make a tough task even harder:
"It's tough. It's tough when you lose key players and they go down. They are the heart of the offense. It's tough when you have a lot of guys drop. That hurt big time."
5. Down but Not Out – The Chargers lost the chance to control their own destiny. While down, they are certainly not out of it. There are several paths that lead to the Bolts making the postseason, but it requires help from several teams. First and foremost, the Chargers must win their final two games against the New York Jets and the Oakland Raiders. If they do that while the Chiefs lose to the Miami Dolphins and Denver Broncos, the Bolts would be AFC West champions. Meanwhile, they have several paths to a wild card position. If Buffalo Bills lose at least one game (New England Patriots, Miami Dolphins) AND either the Tennessee Titans (Los Angeles Rams, Jacksonville Jaguars) OR Baltimore Ravens (Indianapolis Colts, Cincinnati Bengals) lose each of their last two games, the Bolts would be a wild card team. At the same time, if the Ravens split their two games (1-1), the Chargers would not be able to make the playoffs as they would lose all tie-breakers involved that include Baltimore, should both teams go 9-7. While there is still a chance, Lynn stated the obvious following the game:
"At this point in the season, we don't control our own destiny right now. We lost that. We can win out, but we need some help. All we can control is these next two weeks…They are huge. Our playoffs have begun. There is no absolute that we are going to the playoffs even if we win the next two games, but if we don't we damn sure aren't going."
Five Tips to Help You Recover From Injury
- Gentle range of motion movements can and should be used after the injury occurs. Controlled movement of the injured body part can help prevent scar tissue from forming and increase blood circulation in the area.
- Encourage muscle activation in the injured area by flexing the muscles and incorporating low resistance exercises into your daily routine. This will help increase circulation and prevent muscles in the injured area from being significantly weakened.
- Avoid the use of anti-inflammatory drugs such as Advil or Ibuprofen, as some degree of inflammation is needed to promote proper tissue healing. Instead, use other forms of analgesia such as ice, topical creams that desensitize an area or over-the-counter medications like Tylenol.
- Additional forms of treatment that can be used in the recovery process include using a moist heat pack on the injured area for up to 10 minutes at a time. Practicing dynamic warm-ups/stretches, such as lunges, squats and inch-worms, can also help.
- Consult Select Physical Therapy if the pain does not subside. A member of our clinical team can perform a thorough evaluation and create a customized treatment program to ensure proper recovery.
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