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Mistakes, missteps and missed opportunities

Discussion in 'Chargers Fan Forum' started by Johnny Lightning, Sep 8, 2008.

  1. Johnny Lightning

    Johnny Lightning Go Bolts

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    Malcom Floyd quietly recounted what happened, wishing things had turned out differently, the particular play and the game as a whole.
    As a gunner on the punt team, Floyd was running down to cover a third-quarter punt that caromed off Panthers returner Mark Jones' leg at the 7-yard line. Floyd appeared to have the ball for a moment, it rolled into the end zone, and the Panthers recovered it out of a scrum.
    Had Floyd grabbed and held onto the ball, the Chargers would have taken the lead and changed the complexion of the second half. As it was, they suffered a 26-24 season-opening loss that could have been so different.
    “This is a tough one,” Floyd said. “I wish we would have got the win, so I could immediately wipe that one away. But that one is going to stick with me for a while.”
    Floyd's inability to capitalize was just one of a number of crucial mistakes, missteps and missed opportunities that doomed the Chargers.
    His was not the most egregious gaffe, and it certainly was not the play that will be remembered most.
    That would fall to the Jake Delhomme pass that grazed the hands of Matt Wilhelm and Eric Weddle before planting firmly in the grasp of Panthers receiver Dante Rosario with time expired.
    “I mistimed the jump,” Weddle said. “I've got to make that play ... I didn't make the play; they did. They made the plays to win, and we didn't.”
    And there it was, the reason the Chargers will have to regroup and try not to let another September slip away as they prepare for a trip to Denver this weekend.
    Philip Rivers was tremendous, LaDainian Tomlinson began to work his late-game heroics, Antoine Cason forced a fumble that Shaun Phillips recovered, the defense allowed just 39 second-half yards until that fateful drive.
    And none of it mattered.
    “You have to make plays when they matter,” Shawne Merriman said. “It's like you can have all these wins in the regular season and don't do anything in the playoffs (and) it don't matter. You can have this wonderful game and the last few minutes you've got to make plays.”
    Or at any time throughout.
    It seemed all last season the Chargers were able to make plays like the one Floyd couldn't finish.
    And they didn't make too many like the one that doomed them as much as anything – the second fumble of Antonio Gates' career.
    After making a catch for an apparent first down near the Panthers' 30, Gates was fighting for an extra yard and on his way to the ground when Chris Harris ripped the ball from his grasp. Chris Gamble picked up the bounce and ran 31 yards to the end zone to give the Panthers a 16-10 lead with a minute-and-a-half remaining in the third quarter.
    “That was a critical part of the game,” Gates said. “I take the blame for it. I've been playing long enough I know I need to hold onto that ball.”
    Gates would go on to make a fine play on a 24-yard touchdown pass from Rivers in the fourth quarter.
    “I owed that to my team,” he said. “I was frustrated, because I felt that (fumble) was a huge part of the game. I wanted to redeem myself.”
    His redemption was momentary.
    As Rosario was mobbed by teammates in back of the end zone and Qualcomm Stadium was quiet, as some Chargers headed up the tunnel even before the Panthers had kicked the point-after, Gates stood on the sideline thinking what might have been.
    “First thing I thought of,” he said, “was had they not taken the ball away and scored, we'd still be winning the game.”
    He was not alone.
    “We've got to make a play,” Wilhelm said. “That's what it comes down to. And it's everything preceding. It shouldn't come down to a last-second play. We need to improve.”
    Norv Turner's message afterward was that it was one game, but that his team also needed to “understand how big it is.”
    Sunday was a reminder, if not an omen.
    “We were in a lot of games last year that were decided on the last play or close to the last play,” Turner said. “We had our chances today.”

    By Kevin Acee
     
  2. Buck Melanoma

    Buck Melanoma Guest

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    Thanks, Johnny. As bad as we all feel, the team feels worse. I'm certain of that. Nobody likes to lose.

    We go back to work this week & get ready for a Donkey beatdown in Denver. :abq1:
     
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  3. Zeus

    Zeus BoltTalker

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    This is a good start. Sure the Chargers have excuses and the Panthers were better than expected. However, we need to play better. I am sure Matt and Weddle will NEVER allow a tall receiver behind them in the endzone again.

    What does not kill you makes you stronger. The Panthers did a good job picking our defense. Now they get to go through film and become better. Sure some teams can copy the Panthers (those with tall receivers, a good QB, good Oline, and good RBs) however, I doubt they will have as much success.
     
  4. chargerlipz

    chargerlipz Leading the league in nose hairs.

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    I'd be surprised if we didn't kick the Broncos asses after that loss. Our boys are going to be pissed. At least they should be.
     
  5. tboltzcali

    tboltzcali Well-Known Member

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    Merriman and our defense need to step it up and start hittin. If merriman cant go hard, sit him down.
     
  6. Retired Catholic

    Retired Catholic BoltTalker

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    Part of this was going too easy on certain players during the exhibish season. LT showed he doesn't need the work, but other guys like Jamal need SOME action to get themselves into game shape. Holding out Gates was understandable because of the nature of his injury, but Jamal could have used the chance to work into game shape. If he couldn't stand the gaff then, his chances of successfully playing the full season are pretty thin. Better to know early on how he will fair and have him ready to play on game one. I figure Jamal will either improve or take a seat soon. You have to wonder about his knees if he's getting pushed around like that.
     
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  7. WyomingBoltFan

    WyomingBoltFan Well-Known Member

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    I still think we need to get a kicker that can boot it into the endzone. That last kick by Kaeding was fielded at the 17. Was he kicking into the wind?
     
  8. Aggieman

    Aggieman I bleed blue and gold

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    Kaeding squibbed because he was told to, duh. Do you really think a pro bowl kicker of his stature would have screwed up that bad? And did you watch ALL our kicks? **** the endzone, he's got it at the five more often than not and with our ST thats a drive from inside the fifteen most of the time.
     
  9. Buck Melanoma

    Buck Melanoma Guest

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    We heard a lot about Kaeding's offseason leg strengthening regime. To date I haven't seen it. Did you happen to notice how many times Carolina got touchbacks, duh?
     
  10. Aggieman

    Aggieman I bleed blue and gold

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    Well, Carolina's kicker was superhuman. How about this: Kaeding doesn't want to kick touchbacks. Fielding gives the chance for fumbles, muffs, and drives that start inside the twenty. Maybe special teams is avoiding the touchback. They seem to be as they're "very happy" with his leg.
     

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