SAN DIEGO – This Chargers game was one defined by critical penalties and drive-killing turnovers.
“Too many mistakes,” Chargers head coach Mike McCoy said after the 17-10 loss at Qualcomm Stadium against the Cincinnati Bengals. “Way too many mistakes overall,” he said.
“You can’t beat a good football team playing the way we did,” McCoy added.
The locker room appeared a collage of disappointment, and was rife with quotes all in the similar vein of “We didn’t make enough plays,” or “We didn’t finish drives;” “We’ve got to be more consistent.”
With a 5-7 record, their playoff hopes are still alive, though, at this point McCoy isn’t looking that far ahead.
“We’re going to worry about next week,” he said. “You have to take it one week at a time. You can’t worry about four or five games down the road. You have to worry about this next one. We can’t control anything else.”
Quarterback Philip Rivers completed 23 of 37 passes for 252 yards with one touchdown and one interception. The running game amassed only 91 yards without any touchdowns.
“When you’re playing a good defense like that, you can’t score 10 points and win in this league very often,” Rivers said.
“They’ve got good linebackers that tackle and really run; and the secondary is a very experienced group that plays well. I thought we played well; we just weren’t consistent enough.”
The turnovers did hurt, he said, be they had some opportunities.
One of the three turnovers came midway into the fourth quarter on a short pass from Rivers to rookie wide receiver Keenan Allen.
Fighting for extra yards, Allen was hit; the ball came loose and it was recovered by the Bengals.
Allen said that definitely cannot happen, especially when they’re this close to their season ending.
Eric Weddle made his first interception on Sunday, catching a wayward pass from Bengals’ quarterback Andy Dalton in the second quarter intended for receiver A.J. Green. It was Weddle’s 17th career interception.
Losing four out of the last five games, making the playoffs may seem an uphill battle.
“We’ve got four (games) to go, and we’re going to play all four of them,” Rivers said.
During halftime, the Chargers inducted the 1963 AFL Championship team into their Ring of Honor.
The Chargers next face the New York Giants Sunday at Qualcomm.