Losing streak is over but penalty-plagued Chargers still have much work ahead

Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers (17) is hit by Giants defensive end Romeo Okwara (78) on Oct. 8. Rivers was given an intentional grounding penalty on the play.
(Bill Kostroun / Associated Press)

When Chargers coach Anthony Lynn watched the film from his team’s 27-22 victory Sunday over the New York Giants, he couldn’t allow himself to bask in the glow from his first victory in the NFL — and his team’s first as the “Los Angeles Chargers” in more than five decades.

No, the amount of laundry on the field would make sure the second viewing wasn’t pleasant.

The Chargers committed 11 penalties, costing the team 87 yards, and that’s not including four penalties declined by the Giants.

“There are certain things we’re going to work on,” Lynn said Monday during a news conference. “We need to clean up the penalties. And when you look at the penalties, some of the aggressive penalties, those are going to happen. But it’s the pre-snap penalties that we need to clean up. So you just keep emphasizing it, you keep working it and you’ve got to hold the guys accountable.”


Some of the pre-snap penalties were downright maddening.

After Philip Rivers completed a swing pass to Melvin Gordon for a score, the Chargers’ kickoff coverage team stopped the Giants on their 16-yard line, a chance for the defense to add to the momentum.

Instead, they sent too many players onto the field, giving the Giants an easy five yards.

The offense had their share of gaffes too. Reserve tight end Sean McGrath was flagged for unnecessary roughness after tossing a Giants player to the ground nowhere near the ball. And Gordon was flagged for a false start on a key third down in the red zone, with Rivers tossing an interception immediately afterward.

The 11 penalties marked a season high and continued a trend. After being flagged only four times in their opener, the Chargers have committed more penalties in each succeeding game.

But Lynn, who called the win “ugly” in a postgame speech to his team, said the way the Chargers won was as important as the win itself.

“Watching the tape,” he said, “I thought the guys played with a lot of character — a lot of resolve — because we didn’t execute at times very well. But they still found a way to get the job done. And sometimes I think there’s a very important lesson in that itself. We talked about that today a little bit. So when a team can do that, I believe we can build off that.

“We know that some of the execution has to get cleaner, and clean up some of the penalties. But I feel like we can build off that performance yesterday.”

Air Bosa

Joey Bosa was exhausted after a grueling Sunday in which the defensive end played 59 of a possible 79 snaps in steamy MetLife Stadium, where the 90% humidity made it feel a lot warmer than the 76-degree temperature at kickoff.

The 6-foot-5, 280-pound Bosa was all over the field, teaming with fellow edge rusher Melvin Ingram to spearhead a strong defensive effort that led to the Chargers’ first win since November.

Bosa had two sacks for a loss of six yards in the first quarter, one on a third-down play in which he knocked the ball out of the hand of Giants quarterback Eli Manning, who recovered the fumble. Bosa finished with six tackles, two for a loss, and two quarterback hits.

“Man,” Bosa said as he removed his sweat-drenched uniform, “I feel like I ran seven miles out there.”

He also was credited with a frequent-flyer mile on one third-quarter play that left him shaking his head and laughing.

Bosa took an outside rush on an inside handoff to Orleans Darkwa and, in an effort to corral the running back, hurled himself over two blockers like a WWE wrestler, a move that thrust his massive body into the air, parallel to the ground, for a moment.

Did Bosa have a name for the move?

“Yeah, that’s called ‘Not being ready for the cut-block,’” Bosa said. “That’s not the correct technique. It was just a reactionary thing. In reality, I’m supposed to spoil that block and get under it.”


Chargers general manager Tom Telesco denied an ESPN report that rookie wideout Mike Williams would make his season debut Sunday at Oakland. “I have no idea where that came from,” Telesco said on the team’s pregame show Sunday. “Mike hasn’t even had a full week of practice. He hasn’t even had a full day of practice.” Telesco said that Williams was progressing well, but added there was “still time to go.” …Lynn said the Chargers weren’t shy about finding pleasure in ending a nine-game losing streak that dated to last season. “No doubt, we needed to win a game like that,” he said. “And I believe every man in that locker room afterwards felt a relief.”

Follow Mike DiGiovanna on Twitter @MikeDiGiovanna