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Chargers

What we learned from the Chargers’ 35-23 loss to the Rams

What we learned during the Chargers’ 35-23 loss to the Rams

Not having Joey Bosa is officially an issue

There’s no way of knowing now if Bosa playing Sunday would have altered the outcome of this game. But his presence certainly would have altered Jared Goff’s day in some negative fashion. The Rams quarterback instead was permitted ample time and opportunity to complete 13 of his first 14 passes and 29 of 36 overall. “You can’t give a team like that nothing,” coach Anthony Lynn said. “Their offense is very good. We couldn’t get off the field. We didn’t put enough pressure on the quarterback.” Without Bosa, who is out with a bone bruise in his left foot and not expected back until sometime in October, at the earliest, the Chargers are scrambling to manufacture a pass rush. Lynn promised that he and his defensive staff would find an answer.

Special teams remain a concern

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Chargers fans know all about the team’s struggles in this area and another wholly unnecessary remainder arrived at a particularly poor time Sunday. Drew Kaser’s second-quarter punt in the end zone was blocked by the Rams’ Cory Littleton and recovered by teammate Blake Countess for a touchdown. The play put the Rams up 21-6 and came immediately after Derwin James had intercepted Jared Goff in the end zone to thwart a threat. “Our players are our players,” Lynn said. “We can’t go flipping out when they…we’re not making a change there. We just gotta get better. We’re going to do something differently.” Asked for specifics, Lynn said, “That’s what I’m going to talk about with my staff, OK?”

Mike Williams is another young star

With James, the rookie safety, rightly receiving much of the attention so far, Williams displayed his significant skills again Sunday. The second-year wide receiver had two touchdown catches - both brilliant feats of athleticism - and finished with four catches for a team-high 81 yards. “He played big and strong and made some big plays,” quarterback Philip Rivers said. “He’s only going to continue to be more and more of a factor for us.” Williams, who battled injuries much of his rookie season, had his first career touchdown catch in Week 2 at Buffalo.

The Chargers aren’t the Cardinals

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OK, so maybe we knew this long before Sunday. But in the disappointment of losing to their neighborhood rivals, the Chargers did move the ball (6.8 yards per play) and score three touchdowns. The Rams entered this game having shutout Oakland for one half and Arizona for four quarters. “It’s not an every Sunday occurrence you see the ball going up and down the field on that defense like we were able to do it - running and passing - but we just weren’t as consistent the first half,” Rivers said. “That team is going to win 12 games, probably. I would say at least…(With fewer mistakes) we can beat that team. Those are the teams you’re going to have to beat if you want to play in January.”

Rivers can hold in a pinch

In the 13th season of his Hall of Fame existence, Rivers experienced a career first Sunday. He held on an extra point. Kaser is the Chargers’ regular holder. He was unavailable, however, after leaving the game for a time in the first half because of a leg injury suffered the blocked punt. So Rivers stayed in after Melvin Gordon’s 11-yard touchdown run just before the end of the second quarter. “I’ve got about five or six in the last 20 years,” Rivers joked when asked how often he had practiced holding. Then he was asked the last time he held in an actual game. “1999,” he said. “High school. That’s my second hold of my life.”

Chargers beat writer Jeff Miller and reporter Annie Heilbrunn discuss the Chargers’ 35-23 loss to the Rams at the Los Angeles Coliseum.


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