SAN DIEGO – Jerry Attaochu received a number of phone calls from his high school football coach, his parents and friends after making his NFL debut against the Arizona Cardinals on Monday night.
While Attaochu, the rookie linebacker who was selected in the second round of the draft, didn’t start the game, he entered the game as a substitution and he finished the game with his first ever blocked punt and his first professional sack and caused fumble when he tackled Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer in the third quarter.
It was a performance that got him nominated for rookie of the week.
“Not shocking at all,” Chargers head coach Mike McCoy said of Attaochu’s performance. “If you watch the way he works everyday at practice, the way he is in meetings, the questions that he asks…he runs snap to whistle, sideline to sideline. And there’s a lot of great effort…and there’s some things he’s going to learn from the game…but you love his energy and his excitement the way he plays.”
But Attaochu said on Tuesday his rookie of the week nomination wasn’t anything he was thinking about following the 18-17 loss to open the season.
McCoy said the team had every opportunity to win that football game. “Unfortunately, in the fourth quarter we didn’t play our best football in all phases of the game,” he said. “There’s some good things that came out of the game, but it just comes down to the end, like the majority of the games in the NFL, you got to play your best football at the end.”
The Chargers, visiting the University of Phoenix Stadium, held a 17-6 lead going into the fourth quarter before the Cardinals came back.
The 11-point come back boiled down to the Chargers not making the plays at the end of the game, McCoy said. “A number of opportunities slipped by whether it was offensively, moving the ball in a couple of those drives, or defensively, a few breakdowns,” he added.
This will be a short week for the Chargers as they begin practicing for the defending Super Bowl champions, Seattle Seahawks at Qualcomm Stadium Sunday.
McCoy said the Seahawks are defending champs for a reason, noting the team’s energy and excitement they play with each week, the leadership of head coach Pete Carroll and quarterback Russell Wilson coming into his own.
The Seahawks are coming off of a 36-16 win over the Green Bay Packers on Sept. 4.
“We got to go out there and put a great plan together and play a great game,” McCoy said.