More bad news: Chargers QB Rivers concussed
(TSX / STATS) -- COSTA MESA, Calif. -- Even by the Los Angeles Chargers' standards, Sunday's defeat was a tough one to swallow.
And on Monday it got worse.
Head coach Anthony Lynn said quarterback Philip Rivers has a concussion after being injured in the loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars, 20-17, in overtime.
A bad season for the Chargers (3-6) just got worse as Rivers could miss Sunday's game against the visiting Buffalo Bills. If so, Kellen Clemens would get the start.
"He's seeing our doctors and is being evaluated," Lynn said of Rivers. "We will evaluate him the rest of the week."
Lynn said he wasn't sure when Rivers was hurt.
"It was news to me this morning," Lynn said. "But if something happens to Phil, we will go with Kellen."
One day after letting a victory slip away to the Jacksonville Jaguars, 20-17 in overtime, the Chargers went back to work. But for a team that has made an art out of losing close games, Sunday's stinker will be hard to shake.
The Chargers intercepted Blake Bortles twice in the final two minutes, with a three-point lead, and still lost. Los Angeles had a boatload of mistakes in the final 120 seconds and their shaky play continued in the extra quarter, which delivered their second straight loss.
So instead of the Chargers, fresh off a bye, collecting a win to pull within one game of .500 and eye a schedule that shows the Bills and Redskins up next, the team sinks in the AFC West.
And this one will sting for a team that has dropped five of its games by one score.
Those keeping score know the Chargers have only themselves to blame.
"At the end of the day, we have to play more physical and we have to get the ball to our playmakers," Lynn said.
Rivers summed it up best on Sunday: "We squandered too many opportunities to finish the game."
The Chargers will get another one on Sunday, but it will feel different. A team that was in good health and feeling good about itself, must now answer the same old questions about the squad being the same old Chargers.
--Inside linebacker Denzel Perryman made his season debut after missing the first eight games after an ankle surgery. Perryman made his presence known with a team-high nine tackles. But in proving his knack for leadership, he directed the credit to the defensive linemen.
"The linebackers can't get downhill unless those guys are doing their job," he said. "The whole game, they freed us up."
--Safety Tre Boston will long remember a game in which he had two interceptions in the final two minutes of a game, and his team didn't win. But what Boston also can't forget is the potential pick-six which ricocheted off his hands. That would have pushed the Chargers ahead 24-14 and one of the weirdest losses in franchise history might not have happened.
"I was headed toward the end zone," Boston said. "I ended up with two and I should have had three."
--Many veterans put a hand on rookie Austin Ekeler's shoulder pads in the Chargers' somber locker room. Ekeler had two touchdowns, but it was his fumble late in the game that kept the Jaguars in position to pull out the win.
"It was good to hear from guys who told me to keep my head up because they know how I am," said Ekeler, who made the club after not being drafted. "A fumble in a crucial time in the game, I take that to heart."
--Maybe it called for a block party because when Corey Liuget deflected Josh Lambo's extra point in the first quarter it was noteworthy. The last time the Chargers got a mitt on a point-after was when John Parrella did it in 2001 against the Chiefs.
NOTES: RT Joe Barksdale (toe) was unable to go on Sunday and has been declared out for this week. ... RT Michael Schofield will continue to start in place of Joe Barksdale (toe). ... ILB Hayes Pullard (neck) wasn't able to play on Sunday. He'll be watched this week in practice.
REPORT CARD VS. JAGUARS
--PASSING OFFENSE: B-MINUS - Philip Rivers got picked on the last play of the game and threw for less than 240 yards. Still, there were two touchdown passes and it should have been three save Tyrell Williams' dropped scoring pass. And the line here needs to be saluted as it didn't allow a sack against the NFL's best pass-rushing team. Rookie Austin Ekeler had two scoring catches before a killer fumble.
--RUSHING OFFENSE: F - Melvin Gordon wasn't in the game in its most critical moments and that's all one needs to know about head coach Anthony Lynn's confidence in Gordon. We guess he was being held out for his tentative approaches to the hole, but most observers saw the obvious: there was no hole to be had. The offensive line was horrible in blocking for the run as the Chargers continued to give them chances to prove otherwise. But three straight runs that didn't go far made the Chargers give the ball, and ultimately the game, back to the Jaguars. The Chargers ran for but 87 yards and Austin Ekeler wanted to run off and hide after his late fumble fueled the Jaguars' comeback.
--PASS DEFENSE: C - Tre Boston had two interceptions in the final two minutes with his team leading -- and his team lost. That explains the wacky day in the secondary. Boston, who missed a sure pick-six earlier in the game, inexplicably ran out of bounds at his own 10 on his second interception. Instead of gobbling up time and field position, he buried the Chargers and they quickly had to give the ball back to the Jaguars. Quick describes Joey Bosa as he caused havoc and Melvin Ingram contributed as well in keeping Blake Bortles unsettled.
--RUSH DEFENSE: A - The Jaguars were the No. 1 rushing team in the league and rookie Leonard Fournette had nearly month off because of an injury and suspension. It didn't matter as the Chargers had a solid effort here in restricting the Jaguars to 135 yards. The caveat is that 56 of them came on Corey Grant's fake punt return. Denzel Perryman, the team's best tackler, returned with a big game and a big dose of physical play. Fournette would manage but 33 yards on 17 carries. Don't overlook the play of the defensive line, especially Brandon Mebane and Corey Liuget.
--SPECIAL TEAMS: F - Earlier in the year, the Jaguars pulled off a fake punt so it was on tape. Not sure if the Chargers didn't get that loop in their film study as they were burned on the exact same play for a 56-yard touchdown. Then there's Travis Benjamin letting two punts drop that led to shaky field position. Corey Liuget did get a blocked extra point and Nick Novak hit a field goal from 50 yards. But another dismal effort, something that never seems to change with this organization of late.
--COACHING: F - The training wheels continues to show for Anthony Lynn as not only are the Chargers losing, but they are being stubbornly conservative about it. Lynn can't make a rookie not fumble but time and again when the occasion called for the Chargers to do something bold in proving they were there to win, the team would curl up in its shell, playing it safe. Some of the blame goes to offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt as well with the Chargers sticking to a running game that had zero traction because of poor run-blocking. Gus Bradley, the defensive coordinator, is coaching well enough for the Chargers to be winning. But the combination of tepid play-calling and a horrible special teams unit is bringing down the team.
Updated November 13, 2017