Chargers facing ‘biggest game’ of season

Chargers facing ‘biggest game’ of season
San Diego Chargers head coach Mike McCoy says Saturday’s game against the San Francisco 49ers is the “biggest game of the year.” The Chargers will have two win their final two games and receive a lot of help from other teams if they want to make the postseason this year. Photo by Tony Cagala

SAN DIEGO — One day after the Chargers lost another pivotal game that could have helped lead them into the postseason, head coach Mike McCoy summed up Sunday’s 22-10 loss to the Denver Broncos as having “too many missed opportunities as a football team.”

“When you play a team like the Denver Broncos…you got to capitalize on every opportunity and every possession. Every time you have the football, it’s critical you do good things with it,” he said.

But McCoy’s already talking about moving on from the loss, which has taken the team out of assured postseason play.

He was critical of the lack of production from the offense, but gave credit to the Chargers’ defense, especially against third down plays and halting the Broncos’ surging offense in the red zone.

“That’s a good offense,” McCoy said of the Broncos. “And a lot of talented players and a great quarterback, so that’s all part of the game. But when you play red area defense the way our defense has been playing the past couple of weeks, we should be winning these football games.”

Fourth year veteran defensive tackle Corey Liuget expressed some frustration over the lack of winning games where the defense has put up solid efforts.

“It is frustrating to play a pretty good game defensively, and do a pretty good job against one of the best offenses and one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL right now. I wish the results were different, but it is what it is,” he said.

Liuget credited defensive coordinator John Pagano and the defensive coaches with changing the mindset of their unit, including improving communications and the team better understanding the schemes in place.

McCoy was questioned over the gap of talent between the elite teams as the New England Patriots and Broncos to where the Chargers are.

“I honestly believe we can beat any team in this league,” McCoy said. “I think any team in this league can beat any team. It’s been proven in the history of the NFL. I think when you play good football teams…you got to do, against the really good teams, you’ve got to make the most of every possession in all phases,” he said.

It comes down to not giving the other team extra opportunities, he added.

“There’s a reason why they’re at the top,” McCoy said. “They’re good teams, they’re well-coached; they don’t make the critical mistakes at the critical times.”

Had the Chargers made one or two plays that game McCoy said they could’ve won that game. “We didn’t make them.”

Donald Butler was placed on the injured reserve list with a dislocated elbow, ending his season. McCoy wouldn’t say that it was caused directly by Peyton Manning’s block while trying to score in the red zone, but only that it happened during that play.

“I don’t think Peyton caused it,” McCoy said.

And on Tuesday it was announced that wide receiver Keenan Allen suffered a broken collarbone and injury to his ankle. The team’s leading receiver isn’t expected to play against the San Francisco 49ers.

It’ll be a short turnaround for the Chargers this week as they prepare for the 49ers this Saturday.

“We’ve lost two tough games,” McCoy said. “And I think that with the leadership and the veterans on our football team — I told them after the game… ‘We don’t have any time to worry. That’s over with. You got to move on.’”

McCoy knows the importance of Saturday’s game, calling it the “biggest game of the year.”

“We got to win this one,” he said.

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