“We didn’t handle it right,” Turner said of the blocked punts. “We’ve handled it right for a long time around here. This, to me, and I know what everyone wants to make it out to be, it turns out to be a blame game. You guys have been around me. You know what I’m about. It ain’t going to turn out to be that with me. It’s going to be, we’re going to address the things. I always look forward. We’ve got to fix the problems we’ve had and then we’ve got to go get better.”
Turnovers have also been damaging. Fullback Mike Tolbert fumbled at the Oakland 1-yard line late in the first quarter, and Rivers fumbled when he was sacked at the Oakland 19 on San Diego’s next drive. Rivers fumbled again in the closing minutes. Michael Huff knocked the ball out of Rivers‘ hand and Tyvon Branch returned it 64 yards for the final score.
“It’s a shame, because you look at this group and there are so many guys playing the best football, really, of their careers, on both sides of the ball, and we’re not having the production we should have,” Turner said.
The Chargers have lost nine of 11 fumbles this season, two more than they lost all of last season.
“If we turn it over it doesn’t mean we’re going to lose, but it certainly is making it a lot harder to win,” Rivers said.
“We played really well in most of the game. Had we eliminated some of those other things, again, it wouldn’t have been close,” Rivers said. “But it was. The Raiders had something to do with those mishaps. We weren’t out there just playing against air. They obviously caused some of those things and made it the game it was, and ultimately we lost the game.”
Rivers threw for 431 yards, his second 400-yard game of the season, for a season total of 1,759 yards, with 11 touchdowns and four interceptions. Gates has seven touchdowns among his 29 catches, for 478 yards. Malcom Floyd had a career-high 213 yards on eight catches, with one TD.
And still they’re sub-.500.
“You ought to just go back through the archives and us not have to answer anything about it,” Rivers cracked. “It’s not a struggling 2-3 like we can’t find the rhythm on offense and they’re running up and down the field on defense. We can say we’re not that far off, and if we keep saying that and we don’t start winning, then it’s not going to matter.”
NOTES: LT Marcus McNeill was closing in on a contract extension even as he was added to the active roster after missing three games while on the roster exempt list. He was placed on the list by Smith as a hardball tactic aimed at ending McNeill’s holdout. … The Chargers released CB Fred Bennett and S C.J. Spillman. … WR Legedu Naanee (hamstring) and OLB Shawne Merriman (calf) were being evaluated Monday, Turner said.
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