SAN DIEGO — For a team that was 4-1 before their bye week, to a team that was 4-6 since returning, the Chargers have continually expressed the need to play better, to play a more complete game.
But for a team that was starting a makeshift offensive line, with players that had only been around the team for a week and some that had never played in the NFL before, that has proved more challenging and their weaknesses becoming more apparent amidst a five-game losing streak.
It was a challenge that they took with them to Chicago. Head coach Norv Turner said Monday after the loss to the Bears (31-20) that the offensive line held up well, but that they just weren’t able to sustain it.
“You take the season a game at a time, but you take the games a play at a time,” Turner said. “And obviously you’re working on everything to prepare to handle each play as it comes up. We handled a lot of the things Chicago did at a real high level, we couldn’t do it for as many plays as we’d like to,” he added.
When it comes to playing better, Turner attributes the team’s struggles to eliminating the negative plays, whether self-induced or created by the other team. It doesn’t come from any one player not playing their best. “I can show you stretches of guys playing as good as they can play. There’s a lot of guys that are playing as good as I believe they can play.
“There’s some guys like (Antwan) Barnes and three or four other guys in the front that are playing way too many snaps — that shouldn’t be playing 60 snaps a game. So when you’re in that situation, sometimes your deficiencies show up more than you’d like them to.”
The Chargers challenges will remain when they host the resurging Denver Broncos Sunday. Despite the challenges, quarterback Philip Rivers maintains they still have a chance to keep their playoff run alive, but it starts with breaking the five-game losing streak.
“Anytime you’ve lost five in a row, we know what this game right here on Sunday means, what they all mean, but we’ve got to win this game and we’ve got to win a game, and we’ve been saying that for a few weeks now and haven’t done it,” Rivers said.