San Diego

Chargers Lose Game, Playoff Hopes

That will just about do it.

The Chargers lost to the Buccaneers 28-21 on Sunday afternoon at Qualcomm Stadium, dropping the Bolts to 5-7 on the season and effectively killing their already slim playoff hopes. As was the case with all their other losses this season, San Diego had opportunities to win but squandered far too many.

The Chargers got the ball first and immediately took the lead. Philip Rivers hit Dontrelle Inman for a 35-yard touchdown and just four minutes in to the game it was 7-0 San Diego.

They had a chance to pump that lead up to double digits after Casey Hayward picked off a Jameis Winston pass. It was Hayward's league-leading 7th interception of the season and gave San Diego the ball near midfield.

The Bolts moved the ball 14 yards and Josh Lambo missed badly on a 53-yard field goal so the turnover yielded no points. As it turned out the ability to take advantage of mistakes was a major part of this game.

Tampa Bay took the second chance and put together a TD drive. Running back Doug Martin made a tremendous second effort to score from the 2-yard-line and tie it 7-7, starting the seesaw bouncing.

On their next possession the Bolts went 75 yards in 11 plays, a drive that ended with a Melvin Gordon 2-yard TD run and a 14-7 halftime lead.

In the 3rd quarter the mistakes started piling up for the Chargers. The Bucs kicked a field goal to make it a 14-10 game and then Rivers tried to hit Tyrell Williams but the ball was batted in to the air and intercepted by Lavonte David, who took it back 15 yards for a touchdown and a 17-14 Tampa Bay lead.

In the 4th quarter the Chargers temporarily took the lead back after Rivers found Williams for a 40-yard touchdown toss. That gave San Diego a 21-17 lead but it was the last good thing the Chargers did.

There Bucs scored 11 unanswered points. Winston hit Cameron Brate for a 12-yard touchdown, then Mike Evans to convert the 2-point try and the Bucs had a 28-21 lead. For a moment it looked like the Bolts would be able to tie it up again.

They drove in to Bucs territory but then Rivers underthrew Inman and Keith Tandy picked it off in the end zone, ending the Chargers final threat.

The Bolts head to Charlotte to face the Carolina Panthers next Sunday.

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