The Chargers bumbling their way to an overtime loss to the Chiefs on Monday night did more than create a three-team logjam atop the AFC West. The Chargers, like the Chiefs and Raiders, are 4-3, but this latest hiccup could cause a season-long case on heartburn.
The heartbreak has already been absorbed and how the reeling Chargers rebound from such a devastating loss will tell just which way this baffling season will turn.
On the rivals' 15-yard-line, failing to convert a game-winning field goal with a minute to go?
"There are certainly throws I want back, and things you'd like to change," said Philip Rivers who ended up with 369 yards passing, but tossed two more interceptions and had the critical snap go awry near the end of regulation. "But, even if you don't get a redo, the tough breaks don't matter if I handle the snap. We end up winning this game."
But the Chargers didn't and now head off for two games in a short span: Sunday the world champion Green Bay Packers arrive and then come the Raiders for a Thursday night game.
"This one's rough," Rivers said. "Any loss, you want throws back. There are plays we could obviously play better, but when you know you're a minute away from just leaking the clock and kicking a field goal to end it after the way we fought back, then you blow it on something that shouldn't ever happen.
"The Chiefs won the division last year. They fought back from being 0-3 and now there's a bunch of us locked up at 4-3. It's going to be an all-season deal and we've got to find a way to bounce back in a hurry."
That rebound needs to come on both sides of the ball, although the defense played well in spurts during the second half. But the offense, with Rivers the prime culprit, is well-off its game as it reached at leas the Chiefs' 35-yard-line on nine occassions and had but one touchdown to show for it.
The settling for field goals caught up with the Chargers, just like every other deficiency this flawed team has. The Chargers, simply, are a tad above average and they prove it every week.
"We can't spend a lot of time fretting and worrying about this game," said coach Norv Turner, whose team is only four games over .500 in its last 24 games. "We've got to clean up the issues that are keeping us from getting it done and go play."
That's the nature of the NFL, where you can't let one team beat your twice. Actually, two teams beat the Chargers on Monday the Chiefs and the Chargers.
"There's no point. It's in the past," he said," wide receiver Vincent Jackson when asked for his thoughts on the meltdown on Monday night. "We have a game ahead. Despite what happened, the sun will come up tomorrow. God willing.
Chargers personnel notes
DE Everette Brown, a second-round pick in 2009 released by Carolina in September, signed a two-year deal with the Chargers. Brown appeared in 28 games (starting three) for the Panthers and had six sacks and 47 tackles in two years.
RB Curtis Brinkley took advantage of his big opportunity, scoring his first touchdown and follow-up that up with a 2-point conversion to tie the game for the Chargers in the fourth quarter. Brinkley, who rushed for 43 on 10 carries, was playing only because Ryan Mathews and Mike Tolbert were hurt.
RB Ryan Mathews suffered a groin injury and was unable, once again, to finish a game. This has become a trend for Mathews, last year's first-round pick. He will be evaluated during the week.
LT Marcus McNeill is looking to rebound from one of his worst games as a pro. The Pro Bowler was flagged for two holding calls and four false starts as the noise and Chiefs' pass rush caused him to flinch. McNeill was playing with a neck injury.
K Nick Novak continues to be a great pickup by the Chargers, especially considering their red-zone struggles. Novak kept the Chargers in the game with four more field goals.
FS Eric Weddle collected two interceptions on Monday, giving him a team-high five on the season. Weddle signed one of the richest contracts for a player at his position before the season.
RB Mike Tolbert (hamstring) didn't play but could go on Sunday.
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