Here are five top lessons learned from the Chargers' 20-17 overtime loss to the Jaguars:
1. "Dumb" Late Mistakes Equals "Inexcusable" Loss – The Bolts have lost several heartbreakers this year, but few hurt as much as Sunday's since it involved so many late game blunders. Despite picking Blake Bortles off twice, a myriad of mental errors, poor execution and penalties allowed the Jaguars to tie up a game it looked like the Chargers had sealed before winning it in overtime. On defense, Tre Boston inexplicably went out of bounds instead of trying to gain yards after his second interception, while Joey Bosa's roughing the passer penalty moved the Jaguars into field goal territory. On offense, Austin Ekeler's late fumble as well as an inability to pick up a single first down given two opportunities in the final minutes opened the door for the Jaguars. After the game, a visibly angry Head Coach Anthony Lynn sounded off on the loss:
"We've lost some close games this year, but that's the first time that we've lost one like that. To me, that was inexcusable. We had opportunities to win that game on the road, and we didn't finish plays. We had a couple of guys do some dumb things….It hurts like hell, because we were fresh, we were ready to go, and we had plenty of opportunities to win that ballgame. We let it slip away."
2. Third Down Failures Fell Offense – A common theme in the Bolts' losses has been an inability to move the chains on third down. That once again reared its head in Jacksonville as the Chargers were just 3-for-15 (20-percent) on the money down. Short yardage situations were particularly troublesome as L.A. failed four times when they needed fewer than two yards for a new set of downs. As a result, the Bolts did not enter the red zone for the second-straight game. Lynn couldn't hide his frustration when talking about how the offense was out of sync much of the afternoon:
"We've got to catch better, we've got to throw better, be able to block better. Just the basic fundamentals. It's a dropped pass here, it's a couple tipped balls. We got guys wide open, and the ball gets tipped. Sometimes those things are going to happen, but it's happening too often. So we may have to move the pocket, we may have to do some things differently. But it just wasn't good enough today. It wasn't because of effort. The guys put in the time, the work. But we didn't make the plays that we needed to make to win the damn game."
3. Ekeler Electrifies – Putting aside his fumble, Austin Ekeler turned in another electric performance. The undrafted rookie accounted for both of the team's touchdowns. The first was a 28-yard catch-and-run in which he tightroped the sideline to pay dirt. On the second, he turned a short 3rd-and-3 conversion into a 22-yard score when he sprinted and dove for the pylon. In the process, he became the first NFL player since Jamaal Charles in 2012 to accomplish that feat. Overall, Ekeler finished with 10 rushes for 42 yards (4.2 ypc) while catching five passes for 77 yards (15.4 ypc). Still, the rookie remained focused on his late blunder rather than his successes:
"My fumble, you can't have that. That's crucial. Ball security's the main thing, especially at that point in the game. Are you kidding me?... It wasn't my best ball security, obviously. Should've gotten two hands on the ball. It was a running situation. They knew we were going to run the ball. We knew we were going run the ball. So that should've been the first priority I had; ball security. I didn't have two hands on the ball, and it came out."
4. Run Defense Rounding into Shape – Facing the league's top-ranked rushing attack, the Chargers rose to the occasion, bottling up Leonard Fournette and company. Eliminating a 56-yard touchdown run on a fake punt, Jacksonville managed only 79 yards on 27 attempts, averaging 3.0 yards per carry. The return of Denzel Perryman played a big role as the linebacker opened up about how he felt to be back on the field:
"I made some plays and missed a couple of tackles and I got to get that down. But it felt good to get back out there…. The guys up front played well and I give them credit. They free us up and give us an opportunity to make plays."
5. "A Tough Hill to Climb"– While the loss dropped the Bolts to 3-6 on the year, the team explained how they are merely 0-1 in the third quarter of the season. They know they have a tough road ahead, but one that isn't impossible. They've already won three straight before, and doing so would give them their second 3-1 quarter of the year. It would also set them up at 6-6 for the final four games and a postseason push. It won't be easy, but Philip Rivers believes the team is capable of conquering the challenge:
"We knew there's not much room (for error) when we started today. We have a tough hill to climb, but I think we'll be up for the task."
Lynn weighed in with a similar take:
"We go back to work from here. In our third quarter (of the season) we're 0-1. We still have a lot of football left in front of us. But we go back to work. It hurts right now."
Take a look at the best photos from the Chargers Week 10 matchup versus the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Five Tips for Pain-Free Traveling in the Car, presented by Select Physical Therapy
- While your trip may take a little longer, take frequent breaks stopping every hour or hour and a half for some light walking, and be sure to stretch your hamstrings.
- Focus on your posture. Don't slouch your shoulders. Use a small rolled up hand towel which can be placed in your lumbar area (the lower spine area) to help increase your comfort level during long drives.
- Avoid putting excess strain on your shoulders and neck by sitting up in your car seat properly. When you sit all the way back in your seat and extend your forearm over the steering wheel, the wheel should hit right at your wrist.
- when you do arrive at your vacation spot and begin unpacking your luggage, practice safe lifting techniques. Bend at your knees, not your waist, and when carrying luggage, try to keep the weight evenly distributed between both hands to minimize stress on your neck, shoulders and back.
- Remember to avoid using mobile devices while driving and remain alert by rolling down windows periodically.
For more information on car and body ergonomics, or to request a complimentary consultation with Select Physical Therapy, please visit **selectphysicaltherapy.com** today!