Another defeat comes to pass for 0-3 Chargers, who lose another at home, 24-10 to the Chiefs
Philip Rivers reacts after throwing an apparent interception during the second half against the Chiefs. Video replay showed it to be an incomplete pass.(Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)
Chiefs running back Kareem Hunt breaks through the line for a 69 yard touchdown run to ice a 24-10 win over the Chargers.(Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)
Chargers head coach Anthony Lynn yells at safety Rayshawn Jenkins after he was flagged for roughing the kicker on a missed Chiefs field goal attempt.(Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)
Chiefs running back Kareem Hunt leaves defenders far behind during a 69 yard touchdown run to ice a 24-10 win over the Chargers.(Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)
Chargers quarterback Philp Rivers throws a pass over Chiefs rushers late in the fourth quarter.(Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)
Chiefs receiver Albert Wilson scores a first quarter touchdown, catching a short pass in the backfield and running through the middle of the Chargers defense.(Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)
Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers scrambles away from pressure during a second half drive against the Chiefs.(Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)
Chargers running back Branden Oliver’s head is pulled back as he runs for a short gain in the first half against the Chiefs.(Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)
Chiefs receiver Tyreek Hill cathces s a first quarter touchdown pass from quarterback Alex Smith.(Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)
Chargers defenders tackle Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith during a first half drive.(Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)
Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith scrambles away from Chargers rushers Melvin Ingram, left, and Darius Philon during second half action.(Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)
Chiefs cornerback Terrance Mitchell intercepts a Philip Rivers pass as Chargers receiver Tyrell Williams fights for posession during the first half of Sunday’s game.(Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)
Chargers running back Melvin Gordon is wrestled to the ground by Chiefs defenders during a first half run.(Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)
Chargers receiver Keenan Allen is flipped by Chiefs defenders after a second quarter pass reception.(Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)
Chiefs running back Kareem Hunt slips the tackle of Chargers safety Jahleel Addae during a first quarter run.(Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)
Philip Rivers walked toward the Chargers bench early in the second quarter, exasperated with how the ball had just left his hand. He ripped off the glove he wears on his left hand and flung it into the air. He unsnapped his chin strap, took off his helmet and looked to the sky.
The glove fell harmlessly to the ground, but given the way things went Sunday in the Chargers’ 24-10 loss to Kansas City, Rivers was lucky that didn’t get intercepted too.
Three Rivers passes were intercepted in the team’s first 24 plays and the resulting short fields led to 17 easy points for the Chiefs in front of an announced sellout of 25,386 at StubHub Center.
“I really just was never in any kind of groove the whole day,” Rivers said somberly. “Shoot, any time the quarterback plays that poorly, it’s going to be tough to win. It’s really a shame because our defense was awesome.”
Melvin Ingram had three of the Chargers’ five sacks and the defense contained Kansas City’s explosive offense until the Chiefs’ final drive, when rookie Kareem Hunt broke through for a 69-yard touchdown run to make a near-definite win a certainty.
For coach Anthony Lynn, the offensive mistakes and special-teams gaffes — penalties that forced the offense back and extended a Chiefs drive after a missed field goal — were enough for him to backtrack off a proclamation he made earlier this week.
In the aftermath of his team’s two-point loss to Miami in the home opener, Lynn made it clear that the blown leads and late-game miscues weren’t carryovers from previous years.
“Some people say, ‘Same old Chargers.’ It’s not the same old Chargers,” he said. “We lost a couple of close games. We have 14 games left. We’ll see. We’ll see at the end.”
On Sunday, Lynn had seen enough.
“You might say we’re the same old Chargers. Right now, we are,” Lynn said. “Until we prove it differently, we are.”
That was before Sunday. Now, it’s six.
“You don’t sit around thinking about what you’re going to say to a team after three losses. But, I just feel like this group has a lot of character. This group comes to work every day. They work hard,” Lynn said. “I just know from my personal experience when you do that each and every day, every week, eventually it’s going to turn around. And it’s going to happen for you. Not next year but this year.”
It’s not totally unprecedented in team history. In 1992, the Chargers rallied from an 0-4 start to make the playoffs. That’s the outlier, though. In the other four years the team started 0-3, it won only 11 games combined.
If there’s reason for hope in how the team has played in the first month, it’s with Ingram, who has dominated whenever he’s been on the field. Along with Joey Bosa and a more aggressive defense, Ingram slowed Kansas City’s rocket-booster offense to a crawl for the bulk of the game.
The Chiefs needed only eight plays to score their first two touchdowns, traveling 76 yards to jump to a 14-0 lead. But from that point until Hunt’s late-game score, the Chiefs couldn’t figure out the Chargers defense.
“I thought the defense kept us in the game,” Lynn said. “They played hard. Melvin Ingram, every time I turned around he was getting a sack. I love his energy, his passion on the sidelines.”
“You might say we’re the same old Chargers ... well right now, we are.” Head coach Anthony Lynn and quarterback Philip Rivers discuss the 24-10 loss to the Chiefs.
And that passion continued to the locker room, where Ingram defended his team, refusing to believe that the defense played well enough for the team to win.
“We didn’t do enough to win because we didn’t win,” Ingram said. “We understand that. It’s a team sport and we’ve got to put it together in all three phases. It’s not ‘[the defense] did enough to win.’ Our team didn’t do enough to win.”
Whether it was a rocky start and a blown block in the opener or Younghoe Koo’s two missed field goals or Rivers’ miserable Sunday, individual mistakes — and their importance — are too hard to ignore.
Against the Chiefs, Rivers’ three interceptions easily could’ve been five — one was overturned after video review (the ball hit the ground) and another was dropped by the defender.
Sunday was the ninth time in his career Rivers threw at least three picks. He completed just 20 of his 40 attempts and produced the fourth-lowest passer rating of his career (37.2).
“I had a rough day,” Rivers said. “…This week, I didn’t have a completion until halfway through the end of the first quarter. I had more completions to the other team than to our team.
“It was just bad.”
It sure was.
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