Red-zone woes and turnovers: Chargers’ loss to Chiefs looks familiar
The Chargers’ final possession Monday resulted in a Philip Rivers interception and a red-zone failure.
That couldn’t have been more appropriate on a night when Rivers was intercepted four times and the Chargers managed just one touchdown in four trips inside the Kansas City 20-yard line.
“Not scoring in the red zone, turning it over, that gets you beat,” Rivers said after the Chargers’ 24-17 loss to the Chiefs. “That’s what’s gotten us beat all year.”
The four interceptions tied a career high for Rivers. He has now had three such games, the most recent of which came in October of 2015.
The one-for-four performance in the red zone was the worst for the Chargers since going zero for four in a Week 5 loss to Denver.
“We moved it well,” Rivers said. “[You] have to score touchdowns, can’t turn it over. I said that at some point early [last] week. That’s how you win football at any level. You got to score touchdowns and you can’t turn the ball over.”
Now, the Chargers’ season is over. And their next one might already be too.
The Chargers settled for three field goals in the first half, Michael Badgley connecting from 27, 26 and 49 yards.
But, despite outplaying the Chiefs handily, the Chargers still trailed 10-9 entering the third quarter.
“You got to get the ball in the end zone,” coach Anthony Lynn said. “[We] kicked too many field goals in the first half. A team like Kansas City, you can’t kick field goals. You got to score. I felt like we let them hang around.”
The Chargers’ fate wasn’t sealed until Rivers was picked off for the final time, in the end zone by Chiefs safety Daniel Sorensen in the last 25 seconds.
Rivers was attempting to hit Austin Ekeler, but the pass came up short.
“Obviously, in hindsight, [I] shouldn’t throw it or throw it a little farther,” Rivers said. “I didn’t get fooled. I just made a poor throw.”
King benched after dropped punts
Desmond King had a difficult time attempting to field punts. He dropped two, though the Chargers retained possession both times.
King was eventually replaced by Troymaine Pope.
“He struggled with the light,” Lynn said. “He muffed a couple in pregame. I just took him out. He’s normally a good, secure guy back there returning kicks. But, today, I don’t think he had it.”
Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson has put together an MVP-caliber season that hasn’t gone unnoticed by the Rams.
Brown gets the start
Jatavis Brown started at middle linebacker because rookie Drue Tranquill missed the game with a calf problem.
Denzel Perryman was another option to start, but Lynn explained that Brown was used instead because of the packages the Chargers installed to combat the Kansas City offense.
Perryman did play some in the fourth quarter.
Rookie Trey Pipkins started at left tackle in place of Russell Okung, who missed the game because of a groin problem.
Defense lineman Justin Jones returned after missing five games because of a shoulder injury. He finished with three tackles.
Rookie Roderic Teamer also returned but played sparingly as Jaylen Watkins remained the starter at strong safety. Teamer missed the previous two games because of a sore groin.
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