NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — The Los Angeles Chargers have only themselves to blame for being winless to start this NFL season.
The losses coming by a combined five points doesn't ease the stunning pain of being 0-2.
The Chargers blew an 11-point lead Sunday in losing 27-24 to the Tennessee Titans in overtime when Justin Herbert threw for 305 yards and two touchdowns, Joey Bosa had two of the defense's five sacks and Keenan Allen had 111 yards receiving and two TDs.
“This is how the NFL works,” Chargers running back Joshua Kelley said. “If you’re not dialed in and locked in the whole game, that’s the difference between 0-2 and 2-0.”
The Chargers (0-2) had the ball needing a touchdown to win at the end of regulation only to give up a third sack that forced them to settle for Cameron Dicker's third field goal. And all three of his field goals came on drives where Los Angeles was inside the Titans 12 or closer.
They even won the coin toss to get the ball first in overtime. That's when Herbert threw incomplete three straight times as the Chargers went three-and-out for only the third time all game.
“Just didn’t execute, so it’s on us as an offense to be able to complete the ball,” Herbert said. “That’s on me as a quarterback to be able to complete the ball.”
This is the fifth time since coach Brandon Staley's tenure started in 2021 that the Chargers have lost after leading by 10 or more points. That's tied for the second most in the NFL with only Baltimore (six) having more.
“We’re doing a lot of good things out there,” Staley said. “The mistakes that we made out there, we can correct all of them. We’ve got a really good group in all three phases, and we just have to connect and really put together a complete performance.”
The Chargers certainly have room for improvement.
After giving up a league-worst 536 yards in losing to Miami in the opener, they held Tennessee to 341 yards.
Yet the Titans held the ball for nearly 37 minutes despite Los Angeles having a slight edge in that category and a 14-10 lead at halftime.
An offense that converted all three fourth downs was just 2 of 14 on third down, including that final chance in overtime when Herbert overthrew Josh Palmer down the left sideline. Herbert said they have to execute better as an offense.
“Obviously, it’s not what we were hoping for, we are aiming to be higher and better than that,” Herbert said. “So that’s our responsibility as an offense to be better than that.”
It didn't help that a team that led the NFL in rushing with 234 yards in the opening loss to Miami didn't have Austin Ekeler because of an injured ankle. The Chargers were held to 61 yards with Kelley leading the team with 39 yards on 13 carries.
An AFC wild-card team last season, the Chargers aren't discouraged yet despite now having lost four straight going back to the end of last season — by a combined nine points. Herbert said they know there's a lot of football left.
“Obviously, you never want to be in this position, but I know that we got the right guys in that locker room, we are going to stay together and stay tough and really get this thing going because it’s a long season,” Herbert said.
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