Reflections on a Rout

The Chargers struggled to put things in perspective following a 24-point loss at the hands of the Patriots. On one hand, there is no shame in splitting a pair of games against teams that combined to go 25-7 last season. On the other, there is no excuse for San Diego's offense going eight quarters without eclipsing the 30-point mark.

LaDainian Tomlinson did his best to put Sunday's loss in perspective. The reigning MVP was limited to less than 50 yards for the second consecutive game. He was taken out of the game early as the Patriots were up four scores by halftime, forcing the Chargers to all but abandon the running game.

"It was probably one of the toughest first halves I can remember," Tomlinson said. "Especially the way they started offensively and the way we started. We couldn't respond to anything they were doing. It got away from us early."

With the Chargers trailing big, the team needed Philip Rivers to come up huge. Instead, he suffered through one of the worst outings of his short career, turning the ball over four times, including an interception that Adalius Thomas returned 65 yards for a touchdown.

"I probably should have thrown to the other side," Rivers said. "Thomas is a long, rangy guy. I thought I could get it up and away from him and instead he makes a play and scores."

The offense must rediscover a sense of rhythm and discipline if it is to meet the high standard set by last year's unit, which led the league in points scored. In addition to the turnovers, the offense allowed three sacks and jumped offsides twice.

The offensive line must find a way to play better before the Chargers hit the road to play the Green Bay Packers in week three. Making the task all the more daunting is the likely absence of right tackle Shane Olivea, who injured his back in the first quarter of Sunday's game. Jeromey Clary replaced Olivea on Sunday and is the leading candidate to do the same against the Packers. Twelve-year veteran Roman Oben is also an option.

"I don't want to say we couldn't block anybody," Norv Turner said. "We had moments where we had a tough time blocking those guys. Again, some of that is the way the game goes. They were moving the ball and scoring and then you get into a different style game that takes a different type of blocking and different types of schemes and those types of things."

Although the offensive ineptitude stole the national spotlight, that doesn't mean the defensive deficiencies went unnoticed. Most disconcerting is the manner in which the Patriots were able to spread the field and hit quick passes -- more than 80% of them -- before the Chargers pass rush could make its presence felt.

"There are things we will and can do better to handle a spread-type offense," Turner said. "Certainly, we had a couple of mental errors in the process. It happens."

It is up to the players to make sure it doesn't happen again anytime soon.

"We have 14 more games to go in this regular season," Luis Castillo said. "This is not the end of it. We're going to get back in the classroom; we're going to get better; we're going to get back on the field; we're going to improve; and we're going to get back to work."

As evidenced by Sunday's Massachusetts meltdown, there is plenty of work still to be done.

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