What we learned from the Chargers’ 22-10 loss Saturday to Baltimore.
Offensive line will need to bounce back
“We’re going to be very disappointed in the way we played this game,” center Mike Pouncey said when asked what he anticipated seeing on the tape. “We’ve got to do a better job as an offensive line picking those kinds of blitzes up.”
The Charger O-line was no line against the Ravens, who continually burst through to harass Philip Rivers. The quarterback was sacked four times for losses totaling 34 yards on a night when gains were hard to sustain.
“They did some good things up front,” Rivers said. “They did some good things in the secondary. We did all right at times. We just couldn’t sustain anything for the most part…We just couldn’t get going.”
Chargers aren’t the only ones who make plays late
After winning so many times in the waning minutes and seconds and -- twice -- with no time left, the Chargers were the victims of a key, late play. In the final three minutes and with a chance to take the lead with a touchdown and extra point, tight end Antonio Gates fumbled when he was hit by Baltimore linebacker Patrick Onwuasor. Cornerback Tavon Young picked up the ball and ran it back 62 yards for the clinching touchdown.
“We didn’t come through,” Rivers said. “There will be no lost confidence with this group.… I know it’s disappointing but we can’t wallow in our disappointment very long.”
This offense can be pushed around
The Chargers struggled to move the ball in their usual epic fashion, finishing with only 198 total yards. This game marked only the 11th time since 2000 and fourth since Rivers became starting quarterback that the offense was limited to fewer than 200 yards.
“There’s a reason why they’re the No. 1 defense in the NFL,” running back Melvin Gordon said. “They played us well today. They’re the better team for sure.” In his first game back since suffering a right knee sprain, Gordon reported himself to be healthy afterward. He finished with 41 yards on 12 carries.
Chargers aren’t the same without big plays
The seven longest plays Saturday belonged to the Ravens’ offense, considered to be the less potent one before the game. The Chargers didn’t have a single play that netted more than 17 yards. They did have a 27-yard Rivers-to-Keenan Allen hookup early in the first quarter. But it was nullified by a pass interference call on Allen. Gordon had only one run that went for more than 10 yards. For one night at least, the Chargers’ multifaceted wide receiver set was unable to produce any highlights.
There’s a chance these teams will meet again … soon
Soon, as in two weeks from now. The Chargers appear to be destined for the fifth seed in the AFC as the top wild-card team. If Baltimore wins the AFC North, these two likely would face each other again in the opening round of the playoffs. This time, the game would be in Baltimore.
“If we do, then we do,” Gordon said. “We’ll see them in a couple of weeks. Can’t run from it. We made our road. It’s going to be a little bit tougher now.… We just have to come out and play.”