Insider's Take: Bolts-Seahawks

For the third time in four seasons, the San Diego Chargers sit at 1-2. This time, it was a tough loss to the Seattle Seahawks that dropped the Bolts below .500. Here is a look at what worked, what didn't and what's next after the Week 3 debacle.

What Worked

--The offense may be struggling with turnovers, but it has no issues moving the football. The Chargers racked up 518 total net yards in Seattle, led by Philip Rivers, who set a franchise single-game record with 455 passing yards. After three weeks, San Diego leads the league with over 461 yards per game.

--Rivers is still adjusting to life without Vincent Jackson (more on that later), but the two players getting the most replacement snaps are stepping up. Buster Davis caught three passes for a career-best 82 yards in Seattle. He also made his longest receptions as a pro, a 49-yarder to set up San Diego's first score. Patrick Crayton, who rotates with Davis and Legedu Naanee, finished with three catches and 57 yards after catching just one ball in his first two games as a Charger.

--The defense, without a single star player, is getting the job done. San Diego ranks fourth in total defense (272.7 yards per game). In two losses, the defense has allowed an average of just 234 yards. Ron Rivera's unit did its job in Seattle; Quentin Jammer stole his first interception of the season and Brandon Siler delivered a sack-safety.

What Didn't

--When a team ranks in the top-five in offense and defense yet still has a losing record, the special teams must be horrible. That is certainly true in San Diego, where the Chargers have allowed three kicks to be brought back for TDs in just three games. Leon Washington -- yes, the same Leon Washington who was made expendable in New York when the Jets signed LaDainian Tomlinson -- did the damage in Week 3 with a pair of kickoff returns in the second half that sunk the Chargers.

--The special teams miscues are a new component of San Diego's annual September meltdown; the turnovers, however, are more familiar. The Chargers turned the ball over five times in Seattle, including three lost fumbles in the first half while building a hole that was ultimately too deep to overcome. The book is out on San Diego's ball carriers -- swipe at the ball and they will put it on the ground.

--There were a lot of similarities between San Diego's losses in Kansas City and Seattle, chief among them the Chargers' inability to punch in the tying score in the final minute of the game. This is where a tall Pro Bowl receiver like Jackson could exploit the extra attention being paid to Antonio Gates. But with Jackson unlikely to report any time soon, the Chargers need to find another "closer" in the red zone. Could Randy McMichael be the answer?

What's Next

The Chargers return home to face the 2-1 Arizona Cardinals. Ken Whisenhunt's squad comes into town with Derek Anderson as its starting QB, so the defense should be in for a stat-padding day. Also, the Cardinals just gave up 23 points at home to the Oakland Raiders, so it's easy to envision the Chargers scoring 30.

Now, if someone will please tackle LaRod Stephens-Howling, who had a kickoff return for a TD of his own last week. Yikes.

Where does the blame fall for Sunday's loss? Discuss inside the message boards.

Michael Lombardo is a member of the Pro Football Writers of America and a long-time contributor to the network. His analysis has been published by the NFL Network, Fox Sports and MySpace Sports. He has followed the Chargers for more than 15 years and covered the team since 2003. You can see more of his updates by following him on twitter.

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