Chargers look to bounce back from opening day debacle
FILE - In this Sunday, Sept. 11, 2016 file phot, Green Bay Packers inside linebacker Clay Matthews (52) rushes Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles (5) during the second half of an NFL football game in Jacksonville, Fla. The sense of urgency is already dialed up as the San Diego Chargers play their home opener Sunday against Bortles and the Jaguars, in a matchup of 0-1 teams. (AP Photo/Stephen B. Morton, File)
SAN DIEGO (AP) Keenan Allen is gone for the season, there's a stadium ballot measure that faces almost impossible odds and the San Diego Chargers have to quickly move past a stunning overtime loss to the Kansas City Chiefs.
So the sense of urgency is already dialed up for the Chargers, who play their home opener Sunday against Blake Bortles and the Jacksonville Jaguars in a matchup of 0-1 teams.
Coach Mike McCoy said there was a ''saltiness'' to the Chargers' padded practice Wednesday coming off last Sunday's collapse, in which the Chargers blew a 21-point, third-quarter lead.
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''The energy was good. There wasn't any moping around, but there was a little bit of remnants of aggravation, sickness, I think, from the loss. I don't know that it's completely out of our system yet,'' quarterback Philip Rivers said.
''We have moved on, but guys are still sick about it, again because of how good we were for 50 minutes of the game and how we let it slip away.''
The Chargers led 24-3 in the third quarter and lost 33-27. It was their ninth straight loss in the division for the Chargers.
''It's been tough but we can't let it linger or we'll be dealing with another one on this Monday,'' he said.
Here are some things to look for when the Jaguars, coming off a four-point home loss to Green Bay, visit the Chargers:
RUSH TO JUDGMENT: After spending millions to upgrade their pass rush in the offseason, the Jaguars managed just one sack against Green Bay in the opener. Coach Gus Bradley downplayed the lack of pressure by saying the plan was to keep Aaron Rodgers in the pocket. ''Every week, depending on the quarterback and the skillset and what they do well, you try to take away the things they do well,'' Bradley said. The Jaguars hope to have more luck against Philip Rivers. They sacked Rivers twice in each of the past two meetings.
END GAME: The Jaguars had one of the league's most dynamic tight end duos in Week 1, with Julius Thomas catching five passes for 64 yards and a touchdown and Marcedes Lewis finishing with two receptions for 48 yards. Lewis believes it's a sign of things to come. ''We've got one of the best tight end groups in the league,'' he said. ''Once we get going, you can forget about it. … Hopefully more and more is in the game plan for us.''
REPLACING ALLEN: The Chargers need Travis Benjamin, Dontrelle Inman and Tyrell Williams to step up in the absence of Allen, who tore up his right knee in the opener and is lost for the season. ''Those three guys are excited about doing that,'' Rivers said. ''They're sad to see their buddy go down, as we all are, but they're excited about the challenge.'' For his part, Rivers said he just needs to ''let it rip, and go hey, this is a ball I've thrown to 13, I'm throwing it to you, 16 (Williams). I'm throwing it to you, 12 (Benjamin). Just trust it and go. That's the only way you're going to build it and start making those plays.''
GALLOPING GORDON: Chargers second-year back Melvin Gordon scored the first two touchdowns of his career in helping the Chargers build their 21-poinit lead at KC. He looked strong in the first half before the Chargers inexplicably went away from him. Now he's looking forward to scoring for the first time at home. ''It's going to be dope,'' he said. ''I was talking to some of the guys and I was like, `I have not scored in Qualcomm yet, not in the preseason, not in anything.' It's going to be dope to score there.''
WEST COAST WOES: The Jaguars are 2-10 on the West Coast and winless in San Diego. It's a trend Jacksonville needs to reverse to avoid a 0-2 start for the fourth time in the past five seasons. Rivers has completed 71 percent of his passes for 1,899 yards, with 15 touchdowns and four interceptions in six games (5-1) against the Jags. He's been at his best the past two years, totaling 677 yards passing and seven touchdowns – and no turnovers. The Jags haven't won on the West Coast since 2004 and have been outscored 222-79 during the seven-game losing streak, falling by double digits in six of those. They have given up at least 30 points in all three losses at the Chargers.
Follow Bernie Wilson on Twitter at http://twitter.com/berniewilson
AP Sports Writer Mark Long in Jacksonville contributed.
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