Advertisement

Chargers' playmakers literally drop the ball in 38-28 loss to Chiefs

Chargers' playmakers literally drop the ball in 38-28 loss to Chiefs
After beating Chiefs safety Ron Parker downfield, Chargers receiver Travis Benjamin drops a long pass from quarterback Philip Rivers in the fourth quarter Sunday. (Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)

The comeback was improbable, but if the ball had stuck to Travis Benjamin’s hands when it hit them, the odds would’ve increased. It didn’t, so the fans booed.

They had seen it happen too many times Sunday.

Advertisement

Earlier in the fourth quarter a ball sailed, but Tyrell Williams accelerated and his hands were right there. A touchdown catch seemed a certainty — and a necessity — but somehow the ball trickled through the receiver’s hands.

Before the end of the first half, when the Chargers were very much in a game they would go on to lose 38-28, Benjamin burst open in the Kansas City secondary for what would have been long pass play. However, he misjudged the throw and couldn’t make the catch.

Same scenario on the Chargers’ second drive of the season, as Williams sprung open only to have a pass sail inches past his fingers for what would have been a much-needed, momentum-shifting touchdown.

Then there was wide receiver J.J. Jones, who made the roster as the Chargers’ return specialist. He fumbled a crucial fourth-quarter punt to set up a Chiefs score, another gaffe for a group considered to be full of playmakers. They just didn’t make enough big — and sometimes easy — plays.

“I’m always careful to say that ‘we lost’ this one because there was an opponent over there,” quarterback Philip Rivers said. “But we did do some self-inflicted things.”

The drops were the killer. Chargers coach Anthony Lynn mentioned four.

“I think a couple of those might be touchdowns — plays that we need to make, plays that we have been making. … We’ve just got to make those plays.,” Lynn said.

Wide receivers Keenan Allen and Mike Williams showed they were up for the challenge, with Allen catching eight passes for 108 yards and a score and Williams, the team’s first-round pick in 2017, catching five for a career-best 81 yards.

But the big-play opportunities on the table, more often than not, slipped through the Chargers’ hands.

“We did everything we wanted to do. We got the looks we wanted,” Allen said. “We just left a lot of money out there.”

Bosa to see specialist

The Chargers played without star defensive end Joey Bosa, and this week, they should get a better idea about when he might return.

Bosa will meet with a foot specialist, Dr. Robert Anderson, in Green Bay this week for a second opinion on his left foot, a source not authorized to speak publicly about the injury confirmed. The news was originally reported by ESPN.

Lynn said the team is waiting for the results of all examinations before making any determinations.

Advertisement

Bosa, who injured his foot during the preseason and missed almost all of training camp, returned to practice for one day this week only to suffer a new injury to the same foot.

Lynn characterized the injury as week to week, saying Bosa’s left foot wasn’t broken.

Isaac Rochell, the team’s seventh-round pick a year ago, started in Bosa’s place.

Chargers lose lineman

Starting right tackle Joe Barksdale exited early in the first half with a right knee injury. Barksdale went to the sideline medical tent to be examined before being carted off the field to the locker room. Second-year tackle Sam Tevi took his place.

Barksdale didn’t return, and Lynn wasn’t sure of the severity of the injury.

Etc.

With his second-quarter touchdown pass to Austin Ekeler, quarterback Rivers moved into sixth on the NFL’s all-time leaderboard with his 343rd career touchdown pass. Former Miami quarterback Dan Marino is fifth with 420 career touchdown passes. … Second-year guard Forrest Lamp, who missed all of his rookie season with a knee injury, was among the team’s inactive players. … Caleb Sturgis, who won the Chargers’ kicking job in training camp, made his first two field-goal attempts before missing late in the fourth quarter, a kick that would have drawn the Chargers within seven. Sturgis connected from 45 yards and 39 yards before badly missing from 48 yards. … Tight end Antonio Gates received a loud ovation when introduced as the Chargers’ starter. Gates was re-signed last week. Gates caught a two-point conversion in the fourth quarter. … The Chargers announced a sellout crowd of 25,351.

Advertisement
Advertisement