The engines on the Chargers’ buses revved on the interstate, because the group traveled north previous a ravishing autumn panorama in New England to fulfill the Patriots.
For weeks, their pace had been constructing. Wins towards the New York Giants, the Oakland Raiders and the Denver Broncos pressed the accelerator nearer to the ground.
However as soon as the group made its approach to Gillette Stadium for a wet Sunday afternoon of soccer, the Chargers didn’t simply get stopped of their tracks. They dropped the entire transmission, altering gears from drive to reverse.
Expensive errors, like Travis Benjamin’s doomed punt return that ended with him being tackled for a security, had been an excessive amount of to beat towards the defending Tremendous Bowl champs, the Chargers dropping 21-13.”
Benjamin’s gaffe — he dropped a punt on the 11, recovered the muff on the eight, reversed subject and retreated into the top zone earlier than being tackled — was the most important mistake of the day. It wasn’t the one one.
The Chargers had two touchdowns negated by penalties. They whiffed on tackles as if they had been making an attempt to launch a Justin Verlander fastball. They dedicated 10 penalties, together with an offsides known as on the opening kick of the second half. That led to a second kickoff and a 71-yard return by the Patriots’ Dion Lewis.
“If you make these sorts of errors towards a world championship group — and that’s who they’re — then it’s exhausting to win,” stated Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers, who was outdueled by Tom Brady, 333 yards to 212.
“You’ll be able to beat some groups making the errors we made at present and also you overcome them. …However you do this towards this group, you’re not going to win.”
Benjamin’s mistake got here within the first half after the Chargers had been off to a robust begin. Regardless of a missed 51-yard subject purpose on the opening drive, operating again Melvin Gordon received the Chargers on the board first, tying a franchise report with an 87-yard landing run. The Patriots tied it with a methodical, 14-play drive that ended with a Brady-to-Rob Gronkowski landing to open the second quarter, however the Chargers had been starting to make extra performs.
On New England’s subsequent drive, robust protection and a Joey Bosa sack compelled a punt, however Benjamin couldn’t cling on to the soccer. After he recovered the ball, he tried to reverse subject and run from the best sideline to the left, however his inside GPS should’ve been on the fritz and he ended up operating backward.
“It was an enormous play within the sport,” Chargers coach Anthony Lynn stated. “It’s a must to have some consciousness as to the place you might be on the soccer subject. He didn’t.”
Benjamin was simply tackled ultimately zone for a security — the primary approaching a punt return in 14 years. Eleven performs later, New England kicker Stephen Gostkowski made the primary of 4 subject objectives and the Chargers by no means recovered.
“I’d say these 5 factors made an enormous distinction within the sport,” Lynn stated.
These factors mattered, as did the 14 that had been taken off the scoreboard due to penalties on huge receiver Tyrell Williams.
Within the third quarter after stopping the Patriots on three performs to drive a punt, the Chargers picked up a primary down and took a shot down the sector. Rivers discovered the speedy Williams gliding down the far sideline, however, like Benjamin, the GPS was a bit defective.
Williams ran out of bounds on his route after which again in on his well beyond the defender, catching the ball ultimately zone. The officers observed and accurately flagged him, negating the catch.
On the group’s subsequent drive, Rivers discovered Benjamin streaking throughout the sector — equally to how the Chargers scored their ultimate landing towards Denver every week in the past — and hit him in stride for a 41-yard rating.
However as Benjamin crossed the sector, Williams ran right into a New England defender, drawing a penalty for offensive go interference and wiping out the rating.
“I believed it was good. I used to be simply making an attempt to get out of the way in which. We hit one another; they thought it was a decide play,” Williams stated. “I used to be avoiding him, and he went into me. It’s what it’s. That one hurts as a result of it took a landing away from my boy.”
The Chargers ultimately received Benjamin ultimately zone — the best one this time — on a 24-yard go from Rivers within the fourth, however the Chargers’ ultimate two probabilities, one to take a lead and the second to tie, couldn’t crack the top zone.
Sunday marked the Chargers’ fifth loss this season — all by eight factors or fewer. Twenty-two of the group’s previous 28 losses have been determined by a single rating.
“Our guys compete each week. We’re at all times going to have an opportunity to win the sport, I imagine,” Lynn stated. “They saved themselves within the sport though we didn’t play our greatest soccer. That final drive, I badumed like I at all times do this we had been going to go rating. However, we fell brief.”
Nonetheless, there’s optimism contained in the Chargers’ locker room as they head into their off week. Issues may very well be a lot worse. The hope is Sunday was only a non permanent step in reverse.
“I clearly imagine we are able to win each sport, however sitting there at Zero-Four, I stated if we are able to someway get to Three-5 on the bye, we’ll be within the hunt. And we did that,” Rivers stated. “[But] it ought to’ve been Four-Four.”