Culver City Observer -

Rivers Takes Some Blame As Chargers Lose Again

 

September 21, 2017



Sunday’s game between the Kansas City Chiefs and Los Angeles Chargers marked the return of a successful veteran NFL head coach to his hometown of Los Angeles and the return of more frustration for a rookie NFL Head Coach.

Kansas City Head Coach Andy Reid returned to his hometown of L.A. to lead his Chiefs to a 24-10 win over the Chargers and Head Coach Anthony Lynn at the Stub Hub Center before 25,386 fans.

The Chiefs improved to 3-0 and the Chargers fell to 0-3. Reid, who was born and raised in Los Angeles, was coaching in his hometown for the first time in his 19-year NFL head-coaching career. The graduate of Marshall High School has enjoyed a successful career, leading his teams to the playoffs 12 times in 18 years.

Lynn, on the other hand, is just trying to find a way to win his first regular season game as the Charger head coach. The Chargers are just not clicking at this point. They are competitive, they are playing hard, but they keep finding a different way to lose games. In that respect, they are looking a lot like the Charger teams of previous seasons.

As Coach Lynn stated after the game: “You might say we’re the same old Chargers, but right now we are. Until we prove it differently, we are… 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.”

On Sunday, it was quarterback Philip Rivers who made the costly mistakes in the loss with three first half interceptions. Rivers had a bad game from the very first throw when he missed Tyrell Williams on a sideline and go pass route that would have gone for a touchdown had Rivers hit Williams in stride. The next throw was intercepted at the Charger 43-yard line, giving the Chiefs very good field position.

It did not get much better after that. Rivers threw a second interception in the first quarter that set the Chiefs up with the ball at the Chargers 34-yard line. Both interceptions gave Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith a short field to work with and he made the Chargers pay, throwing two touchdowns passes for a 14-0 first quarter lead.

The two interceptions dug a hole the Chargers could not get out of against a good Chiefs football team. It felt like Rivers was feeling the need to make things happen and forcing it too much on Sunday. He threw a third interception in the second quarter and nearly had a couple of other passes picked off later in the game.

As Rivers said after the game: “I had a rough day. I really was just never in any kind of groove the whole day. Shoot, anytime a quarterback plays that poorly it is going to be tough to win.”

There is no question that the Chargers have put themselves in a hole with their 0-3 start. The Chargers need someone on the roster to start making plays. They are not getting the turnovers on defense or the big plays on the offensive side of the ball. They really struggled to move the ball on offense in the second half and they looked like a team that was waiting for someone to make a big play.

It never came. The Chargers went scoreless in the second half. The defense has not caused a turnover in the last two games and has only two for the season, both of which came against Denver in the fourth quarter and both of which led to touchdowns for the Chargers. As a comparison, the Chiefs have five plays of more than 50 yards in the first three games and one turnover on offense. The Chiefs are making big plays on offense, the Chargers are not.

The special teams are not helping, either. Two penalties on kickoff returns helped set-up bad field position for Rivers and a roughing the kicker penalty on a missed field goal gave the Chiefs a first down and that ended up with the Chiefs kicking a field goal to add to their lead.

Through the first three weeks of the season the special teams have missed two field goal attempts, had a field goal attempt blocked, had a punt blocked and committed key penalties. The kickoff return team has not advanced the ball past the 23-yard line. If the kickoff team just downs the ball in the end zone they will start at the 25-yard line.

As they head into the Philadelphia Eagle game at the Stub Hub Center on Sunday afternoon the Chargers need to relax, play loose and have fun. The ‘Fight For LA’ marketing campaign has seemed to add pressure to the need to win right now. They Chargers do need a win this week against the Eagles, but they are not going to win over the city any time soon. It is a process that will take time, maybe years. But as long as they continue to stay competitive and work hard they will eventually win over enough fans.

This Sunday will be another challenge for the Chargers. The Eagles are 2-1 and rank 9th in offense (yards per game). They do not have the explosive type of players that the Chiefs have on offense, but as their offensive ranking indicates they move the ball on offense and score points.

The Eagles do not have a great defense and the Chargers should be able to have some success against them on Sunday. The Chargers need their Hall of Fame quarterback to show up this Sunday, not the Ryan Leaf version of Rivers that showed up last Sunday.

 

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