First-year coach Anthony Lynn is expected Monday to provide details on changes the Los Angeles Chargers need to make, prompted by a 26-24 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles Sunday at StubHub Center, dropping the Chargers’ record to 0-4.
“I’ll tell you what I just told my team — never in a million years (did) I think we’d be here at 0-4 but we are,” Lynn said Sunday. “I look at football in four quarters, just like the game. And we just stunk the first quarter of our season.
We’ve got three quarters left to figure some things out and get this thing turned around. There’s going to be a lot of evaluating going on tonight and into tomorrow. There’s some things that are going to change. But we’re going to get this figured out. We’re going to get this moving in the right direction.”
The 0-4 start is the Chargers first since 2003 when they lost their first five games en route to a 4-12 record. The 1992 Chargers are the only team in NFL history to start a season 0-4 and make the playoffs.
The Chargers have lost nine consecutive games dating back to the 2016 season when Mike McCoy was their coach and they were based in San Diego. The losing streak is the team’s longest since a nine-game losing streak to conclude the 2001 season, which cost coach Mike Riley his job.
The first area Lynn said needed improving was tackling. LeGarrette Blount eluded would-be tacklers Tre Boston and Desmond King on a 68-yard run that set up Wendell Smallwood’s 3-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter, allowing Philadelphia to regain a nine-point lead.
“There are some things we can do scheme-wise as well,” Lynn said. “It’s tweaking things. We’ve got to get more consistency with our offense. This `bend but don’t break on defense,’ that’s got to change too. We haven’t made a play on special teams that’s helped us win a game yet.”
One area that won’t be among the changes is quarterback, Lynn said. Philip Rivers has been the Chargers starter since 2006.
“That never crossed my mind,” Lynn said. “He had a bad week last week, but he’s playing fine.”
Rivers completed 22 of 38 passes for 347 yards and two touchdowns Sunday.
A turnover, penalties and the inability to make a stop on the final possession contributed to the Chargers third defeat by three points or less in the first four games of the 2017 season.
The Chargers pulled within two points on a 4-yard touchdown pass from Rivers to Hunter Henry and Younghoe Koo’s extra point with six minutes, 44 seconds left.
Philadelphia picked up four first downs on the ensuing drive, running out the clock.
Just like a week earlier in a 24-10 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs, an early turnover by Rivers led to a touchdown for the opposition.
Eagles reserve defensive end Chris Long, a son of Pro Football Hall of Fame defensive end Howie Long, sacked Rivers and stripped the ball from him, with Derek Barnett recovering for Philadelphia on its 32-yard line. The fumble was the game’s only turnover.
The Eagles opened the scoring on Carson Wentz’s 8-yard touchdown pass to Alshon Jeffery, two plays after Wentz’s 36-yard pass to former USC standout Nelson Agholor put the ball on the Chargers 3-yard line
The Chargers appeared to have forced a fourth-and-four play on Philadelphia’s 49-yard line when Casey Hayward stopped Trey Burton for no gain on a short pass, but the Eagles got a first down when Chargers outside linebacker Melvin Ingram was called for being offside.
Philadelphia (3-1) increased its lead to 13-0 on 45- and 40-yard field goals by rookie Jake Elliott on their next two possessions.
Rivers threw a 75-yard touchdown pass to Tyrell Williams on the Chargers first play after Elliott’s second field goal.
Elliott kicked a 53-yard field goal on the Eagles next possession before a crowd announced at 25,374, including a large number of loud Eagles fans, many wearing the team’s green jerseys.
Koo kicked a 28-yard field goal as the first half ended, cutting the deficit to 16-10. The Chargers had driven to Philadelphia’s 10-yard line, but Rivers short third-down pass intended for Keenan Allen was incomplete, prompting the field goal try.
Elliott kicked a 47-yard field goal for the third quarter’s only points. The drive was extended when Wentz ran one yard to the Chargers 41-yard line on a fourth-and-one play.
Rookie Austin Ekeler ran 35 yards for a touchdown on his first NFL carry on the ensuing series. Ekeler made the Chargers as an undrafted rookie free agent out of Western State Colorado University.
Smallwood’s touchdown came three plays after King’s third-down sack of Wentz, which would have forced a field goal attempt but was nullified by an illegal use of hands penalty against Chargers defensive tackle Darius Philon, giving Philadelphia an automatic first down.
Wentz completed 17 of 31 for 241 yards and one touchdown. Blount gained 136 yards on 16 carries.
—City News Service
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