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3 Worst Things: Chargers blow another 4th quarter lead

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Once again, the San Diego Chargers headed into the 4th quarter of a home game with a lead, and once again the team ended up with a loss. This time, it was the Tampa Bay Buccaneers leaving as victors.

NFL: Tampa Bay Buccaneers at San Diego Chargers Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

The Return of “Hero Ball” from Philip Rivers

Philip Rivers is on pace to finish the 2016 season with 16 interceptions, which would be the third highest total in his career. To put that into some perspective, Tom Brady has never thrown more than 14 interceptions in a single season.

We’ve seen, several times in his career, Philip Rivers make risky throws and try to carry his team on his back to victory. Sometimes it ends up with him being the hero, but often times it ends up with him throwing late interceptions that ruin the San Diego Chargers’ chance for victory.

The last time the Chargers’ held the ball today was the first time Rivers had the ball in his hands without a lead. Here is what the team did, despite there being more than 9 minutes left in regulation and Melvin Gordon averaging nearly 5 yards-per-carry.

  1. PASS - SACK
  2. PASS - 6 YARDS
  3. PASS - 14 YARDS
  4. RUN
  5. PASS - 7 YARDS
  6. RUN
  7. RUN
  8. PASS - QB SCRAMBLE
  9. PASS - QB SCRAMBLE
  10. PASS - INTERCEPTION

The offense shot themselves in the foot by starting the drive off with a pass play and not protecting Rivers.

Then again, Rivers need to be throwing on 2nd & 9, 1st & 10, and 2nd & 1 at the end of the drive? No.

Should he have trusted Dontrelle Inman with a jump ball down the field? Probably not.

Were we at all surprised to see Rivers taking huge chances on 2nd & 1 in the 4th Quarter when the Chargers absolutely needed to avoid a turnover? We were not.

The Pass Rush / Mobile QBs

I’ve said, recently, that I was less worried about the Chargers matching up against mobile QBs this season, despite their track record.

Typically, a playing like Jameis Winston would do well to extend the play against the Chargers and pick up critical yards and first down conversions with his legs. I thought that Melvin Ingram and Joey Bosa working together would put an end to that, but I was wrong.

Winston escaped from several sack attempts (because apparently Melvin Ingram was never taught how to tackle) and extended the play long enough to complete big plays down the field. Tampa Bay finished the game with four receivers with receptions of 20+ yards.

The Secondary / Safeties

Let me start by saying that Casey Hayward is amazing. He should be in the Pro Bowl this season and the idea of him ever losing his starting job is a joke.

However, with Jason Verrett and Brandon Flowers injured, the rest of the secondary is filled with weak spots.

The Buccaneers’ TEs and RBs combined for 8 catches for 130 receiving yards and 1 receiving touchdown, mostly torching Jahleel Addae and Dwight Lowery along the way.

Tampa’s WRs combined for 12 catches for 150 yards, with Jameis Winston successfully throwing in the direction of Craig Mager every chance he got.

Simply put, when the Chargers most needed a stop, the secondary couldn’t help them get it.