Chargers’ collapse vs. Jaguars prompts postgame team meeting

The Chargers lost 38-10 to Jacksonville on Sunday in an afternoon when quarterback Justin Herbert was noticeably affected by his rib cartilage injury.

Linebacker Drue Tranquill called the loss “embarrassing” and said of the Jaguars, “They hopped our tails.”

The Chargers are 1-2 and will play their next two games away in Houston (0-2-1) and Cleveland (2-1).

Five observations from a strange day at SoFi Stadium:

ARE YOU KEEPING IT IN THE HOUSE SO SOON? It’s only Week 3, but the Chargers held a player-led meetup after their four-touchdown loss.

The gathering was called by defensive tackle Sebastian Joseph-Day, who is in his freshman season with the Chargers but is the team captain.

“It’s the way you want it, especially after a game like this,” said coach Brandon Staley. “Anything that needs to be said has to come from them. That’s what good teams are like.

“There is a lot of pride in this room. … We have a lot of the right people to train with. We have a group that still gets together. That was just one game in the NFL.”

When asked if he was concerned it was a team freshman who called the meeting, Staley said, “If it wasn’t him, it would have been someone else. It’s not just him. But that’s how you want your teams to be.”

Chargers fullback Zander Horvath is brought down by Jaguars cornerback Tyson Campbell in the fourth quarter.

Chargers fullback Zander Horvath is brought down by Jaguars cornerback Tyson Campbell in the fourth quarter.

(Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)

FLOOR GAME SPINS WHEELS: The Chargers’ inability to run the ball has reached the point where they are last in the NFL, averaging 59 yards per game. They finished with 26 yards in 12 carries against the Jaguars.

“Maybe we could have let the ball go a little earlier,” Herbert said, “but we were down so we had to throw the ball and didn’t catch it. That’s the unfortunate part.”

After a season in which he gained 1,558 yards from scrimmage and scored 20 touchdowns, running back Austin Ekeler couldn’t break away. In three games, he has rushed 32 times for 80 yards and caught 21 passes for 139 yards.

Ekeler has zero touchdowns.

“We just couldn’t find a rhythm offensively,” said Staley. “I just wasn’t blocking well enough at the attack point or in pass protection. Because of this, you won’t see the production of the skill players.”

NO PRINT, BIG PROBLEM: The Chargers couldn’t influence Jacksonville quarterback Trevor Lawrence, who was feeling pretty comfortable while throwing 28 of 39 attempts for 262 yards and three touchdowns.

Lawrence graduated with a rating of 115.5, the second best of his young career. He was the top overall pick in the 2021 NFL draft.

The Chargers tried to blitz, but the Jaguars responded with superior protection almost every time. Only Derwin James Jr. and Morgan Fox – one each – have been credited with quarterback hits. The chargers had no bags.

“We were trying to mess up the rush plan,” Staley said. “We just didn’t win enough one-on-ones today. They did it and they deserve credit.”

RUN ‘D’ RUN DOWN: The defense also surrendered the season’s worst 151 rushing yards, 100 of which belonged to James Robinson. Fifty of those came on touchdown runs in the third quarter.

Robinson’s record was converted to fourth and one just under a minute after the Chargers closed to 16-10 on a 25-yard field goal from Dustin Hopkins, 16-10.

“I felt like we stayed strong in the first half,” Staley said. “We gave ourselves a chance in the first half. Then that fourth and one run that separated us…that really took our breath away.

“There were a few killer third downs that forced us to play a lot more plays. We played over 40 games (41) in the first half and I felt that in the second half. I felt like we didn’t have the same energy.”

The Jaguars ran 75 games to the Chargers ’58 and had a time advantage of 16 minutes and 54 seconds.

OVERALL FAILURE: The Chargers never led, losing the only two turnovers and committing seven of the nine penalties accepted.

Herbert completed a 54-yard pass to Jalen Guyton and a 45-yarder to Joshua Palmer. Otherwise, the Chargers had no game gain for more than 17 yards.

Staley was asked if 2022 might be faltering yet.

“We’re only three games in a 17-game season,” he said. “That’s the way the NFL is. They treat it for a week at a time. Sometimes games like this happen. … This is how you react tomorrow and the day after tomorrow and the day after tomorrow.”

https://www.latimes.com/sports/chargers/story/2022-09-26/chargers-awful-collapse-jaguars-team-meeting Chargers’ collapse vs. Jaguars prompts postgame team meeting

Emma Bowman

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