Most distressing thing about the game
The vaunted defense gave up over 400 yards and more than 5 yards per play. They looked very good at times, and very pedestrian at times. They were not very good in the middle of the field, and rather good in the red zone. Most importantly, they could not stop the Chargers when they had to. This team goes nowhere unless this defense is very good for sixty minutes a game.
Most distressing thing, Part 2
None of the new receivers showed anything that inspires confidence. We don’t know when Curtis Samuel will be back. Dyami Brown drew a key PI but otherwise did little. Neither Adam Humphries or the new tight ends were a factor. As it was last year, this team’s passing attack was McLaurin and Thomas. That’s it. The third piece of that group – JD McKissic – was also invisible.
Most distressing thing, Part 3
Clock management was again an issue. They let a lot of seconds tick away. The decision to punt late in the 4th quarter, is defensible but highly questionable. In hindsight, of course, it was disastrous.
OK – I’ll eat some crow – but only so much
Taylor Heinicke played well. Again, he came into a difficult situation and pumped some life into a lethargic passing attack. He gave his team a chance to win, and you can’t ask any more. (Heinicke was the other player – along with Logan Thomas – who recognized his play could be ruled a fumble.) Heinicke still floats his long passes and I still question how far he can take the team, but given his arm, he does not look overmatched out there. And until we hear more about Fitzpatrick, it may well be Taylor’s team.
Losing to the Chargers in Week 1 is not all that big a deal. It is a home game against a non-playoff team, and that hurts, but it’s also a non-conference game against a quality team. There is plenty of time to correct the problems.
Losing at home on Thursday against the Giants – that would be another story. Not exactly “must-win,” but a definite “should-win.”