Some passes sailed too long, others barely brushed fingertips and at least four slipped through waiting Chargers hands.
During his record-setting career, Philip Rivers has had only five games in which he passed for more than yards than the 424 he amassed Sunday.
Yet, in the aftermath of a 38-28 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs, the Chargers were left to lament all the yards they didn’t gain because of the near misses, including drops by Tyrell Williams and Travis Benjamin of potential touchdown passes.
“Very uncharacteristic,” coach Anthony Lynn said Monday. “Have not seen that out of this group, at all, out of Travis or Tyrell.”
After the game, Lynn referenced the sweat-inducing heat as one possible explanation.
But a day later he noted that the Chiefs played in the same heat without having any glaring issues with their grip.
“Maybe they were pressing,” Lynn said. “Maybe after you drop one ball, maybe you’re pressing to make the next catch. I’m not quite sure.”
Such repeated miscues can torpedo any NFL team’s chances. This becomes more true against an unforgiving opponent such as Kansas City, which doesn’t offer a lot of wiggle room when it comes to execution.
Lynn was asked how a player can best rebound from the anguish of having an opportunity literally slip through his fingers.
“You don’t flinch,” he said. “You keep playing. Those guys, they’re good receivers. They’ll bounce back.”
He explained that the drops will be discussed among the players and coaches but won’t be a point that lingers into the coming week of preparation for the Chargers’ game Sunday at Buffalo.
“I don’t dwell on it,” Lynn said. “I try not to beat a guy down because of it. I try to encourage these guys so they can make the next play.”
No Barksdale update
Lynn had no update on Joe Barksdale, saying that the right tackle was still being evaluated. Barksdale suffered a knee injury during the Chargers’ third possession Sunday and sat out the rest of the game.
Sam Tevi, a 2017 sixth-round pick from Utah, replaced Barksdale and, Lynn said, will continue starting until further notice.
“Sam’s been the swing tackle since Day 1 of training camp,” Lynn said. “We knew if something went down he would step in at right tackle.”
Forrest Lamp, the Chargers’ second-round pick a year ago, has been working mostly at right guard as he comes back from a knee injury that sidelined him last season.
Lamp, whose only action of the preseason came in the finale, was inactive Sunday.
“[He needs] a little more confidence in what he’s doing,” Lynn said. “Just make sure he’s safe. He just needs reps. This is a guy who hadn’t played football in a long time.
“He has to have complete confidence in that knee but also [in] the techniques that we teach and the rushes that he’s going to get. He’s got to be able to perform too.”
Lynn praised new kicker Caleb Sturgis even though he missed a 48-yard field goal attempt in the final two minutes. A successful kick would have brought the Chargers to within one score.
“He was pressing against the wind at the end,” Lynn said. “But he had a different swag about him.”
Four of Sturgis’ six kickoffs went for touchbacks, with one being intentionally popped up higher and shorter.