Playoff action is intense. It is supposed to be. The week leading up to Saturday was filled with confidence but few players on the team really knew what they were up against.
The Jets has supposedly "backed" into the playoffs. The Chargers were winners of nine of ten.
But the playoffs are when the screws get tightened. The rush seems more formidable, the windows of opportunity a smidgen smaller. The chances to strike are few and far between.
"It was a battle out there," Brees said. "It was back and forth. We were down and came back. Everyone had their opportunities."
The Chargers trotted out to an early lead before the Jets tied it up. That was the way it was through halftime. The Jets staked their first lead in the third quarter and held it until the final minute of regulation. San Diego sent it to overtime and the sea-saw continued with each team getting a chance at the winning field goal and New York converting where the Bolts could not.
"That has to be one of the most dramatic games I've been a part of," said Jets' running back Curtis Martin.
After the realization hit that there would be no more film sessions, no more times in the trainers' office, no more times getting yelled at by the coaching staff, the Chargers players were downtrodden.
Brees called it missed opportunities while others were amazed that they would not have to come to work this week to prepare for the next game. They have been honing their game since last offseason for the chance at reaching the playoffs.
To have it end as it did was a shock. No one was pointing fingers Saturday night but they were clearly miserable.
"It is hard to describe the disappointment that is in the locker room," Schottenheimer said at one point. "My disappointment is for the players and this community."
While he offered many words for the dismay, running back LaDainian Tomlinson could only force one word out, "Disappointment."
And throughout the locker room, the feeling was the same.
Bob Hallen, who replaced Nick Hardwick under center during the game, fought hard throughout the game and made it seem like Hardwick was in the whole time.
As a seven year veteran, he knows how few these times come around. He was in Atlanta as a rookie in 1998 when that team made the Super Bowl.
"We definitely didn't want to end the season losing at home, in the first round," Hallen said. "An emotional rollercoaster. It is a sick feeling in your stomach."
The ‘offseason' is here. That likely means a few weeks off and then it is preparation for next season. Not much of an offseason and one that will be filled with "could've" and "should've" and "what if".
Chargers feel intense disappointment
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SD Super Chargers09/01/2016