Prior to Sunday, the Chargers swept through November and most of December with their last loss coming on the road in Atlanta way back on Oct. 17. They realized back then that a full sixty minutes was needed to be victorious in the NFL.
Five of the last six games they have played in have come down to the final quarter with the Chargers pulling out victories in four of those. Losses are always bitter but there is a silver lining.
They are not the team of a year ago that turned leads into losses. This is a team that can close out games, for the most part. There will always be times when another team steals the game, especially outside of Qualcomm. Atlanta did it earlier in the year and Indy did it on Sunday.
The point, which has eluded us so far, is the Chargers, and perhaps more specifically Marty Schottenheimer, will find the problems and eliminate them. The last time they repaired the issues the team went on an eight game winning streak.
Special teams is an area that hasn't evolved as other areas have. It has suffered setbacks, the faults can be traced back to Schottenheimer admitting he had not spent enough time on it earlier in the year and then on Sunday the inability of the Chargers to tackle.
"We missed tackles," said Schottenheimer while explaining the failed kickoff coverage. "We had three missed tackles on one of them and we had two missed tackles on another one. You can't make those kinds of errors and be effective in that part of it. The poor tackling was as big a problem as anything."
Even the impenetrable Mike Scifres turned in a substandard performance.
Everyone was hard at work on Monday, willing to put in the extra work. The road ahead isn't easy. While Sunday's game against Kansas City doesn't have a whole lot of significance, it is still a forum to build the quality of play that they must expect when the playoffs arrive – or go home.
"When bad things do happen you have to take the approach, ‘what can we gain from it?' in positive manner," quarterback Drew Brees said. "Maybe in was a blessing in disguise. We'll learn a lot from this game. We already have."
Brees and many other players may have the chance to take some time off this week but no one wants to be on the sidelines when the Chiefs come to town. Keeping in rhythm with his teammates and in tune with the game is the angle Brees prefers.
The same can be said for the rest of the team. This is a team that has grown up quick but can just as easily falter. They need to keep their heads in the game and continue to work on what got them to this point, team unity.
And less we forget that the 3-4 defense is still in its infancy. The players are prone to make mistakes and blow assignments, another reason for the loss on Sunday that had linebacker Steve Foley fuming.
"We have a very young team here," he said. "Guys have to understand playing this defense and the way it is supposed to be played. When a particular call is called in the huddle, if you have the quarters you play the quarters and let the other guy worry about the half." Once you get out of position a guy like Peyton Manning and a quick strike offense they're going to make big plays."
There is definite room for improvement in San Diego and the loss highlighted many of those areas. No one wants to lose, but many become better for it.
Anyway, this time around they only need to win four games after a loss for it to be considered a success.
A Chargers loss never looked so good
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SD Super Chargers09/01/2016