Here’s what we learned in the Chargers’ 26-24 loss to Philadelphia:
The loss isn’t a fluke.
This is the toughest truth the Chargers need to face after losing for the ninth time in their last nine tries — a stretch that goes back to Week 12 last season. These aren’t accidents. This isn’t just “bad luck.”
While every team is different and pinning last year’s failings on this year’s edition of the team isn’t completely fair, there are some consistent traits.
Quarterback Philip Rivers has been turnover prone, and the Chargers had their first drive Sunday end with a Rivers fumble. Like the interceptions a week ago, the turnover led to Philadelphia points and set into motion a chain of events that ultimately led to another defeat.
The Chargers do too many things that bad teams do. Penalties seem to come at the worst possible times. The offense can’t put together sustained drives on repeated possessions. The defense can’t get off the field quick enough. And the special teams, well. It’s just a plus when there’s not a big gaffe to talk about.
For the team to win, they simply can’t keep walking this path. It doesn’t work. Which leads us to…
Lynn has spent the bulk of his professional life preparing to be a head coach in the NFL, and after another loss, Lynn was emotional.
It makes sense — to get to the NFL as a player, like Lynn did, your competitiveness needs to be off the charts. And it’s clear that’s carried over to the sidelines.
That competitiveness should kick into high gear this week after Lynn vowed to use the next few days for evaluation and change.
The depth chart, which has been pretty consistent since the start of training camp, could get shaken up this week. The running game has struggled, so changes could be coming at any of the positions involved – the offensive line, the backfield, receivers and tight ends.
The defense has been too soft on the run and has missed too many tackles, so maybe a young player with a reputation for being physical, like Rayshawn Jenkins, gets playing time.
The frustration and anger seem like they have gotten Lynn ready for changes because the same -- well, it’s not working.
The offense needs to simplify.
The Chargers finally looked (a little) like the have the offense people thought they would have, especially in the second half, when Rivers made a string of low-risk passes to receivers in positions when they could extend plays with their legs.
Tyrell Williams and Keenan Allen were both able to gain yards after the catch, taking pressure off Rivers to make ridiculously difficult throws.
Even though the running game inconsistencies kept the offense from a fluid rhythm, the Chargers were able to gain yards, thanks to big plays — almost all of which were low risk and high reward.
With turnovers playing such a big role in the Chargers’ early-season problems, more quick-hitting passes seem like a good idea and a way to maybe make things better.
The crowd problems aren’t going away.
Here’s one thing that won’t get better: the Chargers’ home-field advantage. For the first time this season, it felt like more fans were at StubHub Center cheering for the opposing team than for the Chargers.
While the stadium has been packed with visiting fans in the first two weeks, the losing only opens the door for more and more tickets to hit the market to be swooped up by fans with stronger emotional connections to teams than Angelenos do with the Chargers.
This is a problem that can’t be fixed in the short term, especially after such a rough start. If the Chargers don’t like the sound of boos in Los Angeles, if they don’t like seeing seas of color that’s not their own, it’s going to be an awfully long year.