After missing a couple practices and games due to his foot injury, Gates finally returned back to the field. He played to the best of his ability as he scored one touchdown, but even his long awaited appearance could not change the outcome of last weekend’s game against the NY Jets.
It was a disappointing day for all Chargers fans as they watched the Bolts single-handedly throw away the game, especially after Jets’ head coach Rex Ryan made statements about Norv Turner’s coaching philosophy. Even though Ryan delivered apologies to Norv and all those involved, the Bolts found it a must to walk away victorious. Obviously that did not happen, leaving the Chargers with an overall 4-2 record, 1-2 away.
The Chargers completed the first half of the game with 11 unanswered points. But as the second half started, the Bolts’ momentum switched. Rivers continued his 2011 struggles resulting in turnover problems for the Bolts. Defense, specifically Antoine Cason, let their guard down giving Jets’ WR Plaxico Burress openings for 3 career high TDs. The Jets instantly ruled the field and shut down the Chargers, ending the game 21-27.
Despite Gates’ five receptions for 54 yards and one touchdown, the Bolts did not perform to the best of their ability. It is unfair to point fingers at any one player, but there were a few mistakes that could have been avoided without costing San Diego their leading score and season record. Rivers’ two interceptions, one caught by Jets’ Darrelle Revis off of a pass intended for Jackson, and the 13 penalties against SD prematurely ended the battle. Cason’s lack of defense gave way to Burress as he ran into their end zone three consecutive times, fueling the rally.
This second loss for the Chargers has not only saddened their fans, but it has made the players question their performance and assess any much-needed improvements. Line Backer Shaun Phillips apologized to the team’s fans for their loss that evening via twitter saying,
It was a difficult game for the Bolts after coming off their bye. But this close scoring game can be used as an eye opener for SD to help them prep for next week’s Monday Night Football matchup against the Kansas City Chiefs (3-3). There are problems that the Chargers need to fix before Monday, but their positive attitude after an unexpected loss gives their fan base confidence that they will practice hard to play hard.