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5 Takeaways From Chargers' 22-16 Week 10 Loss to 49ers

What are the main takeaways we learned from the Chargers' Week 10 loss to the 49ers?

The Chargers were defeated by the 49ers 22-16 Sunday night at Levi's Stadium.

Here are five takeaways from the Chargers' fourth loss of the season:

Chargers go quiet in second half

The Chargers went into halftime with 16 points, and when regulation finished up, they still sat with 16 points.

The offense had five drives in the second half and they failed to find the same rhythm they went down the field with during the first two quarters. The second half saw the Chargers punt three times, come up empty on a fourth down attempt and throw an interception to give the ball back to San Francisco.

"Zero points in the second half, it's unacceptable at any level," running back Austin Ekeler said after the team's loss.

After producing 186 yards in the first half, they were held to 52 yards in the final two quarters. The Chargers got into many third-and-long situations after running the ball almost exclusively on first down, finding little production in doing so.

"We were just making sure those rushers don't tee off," Chargers coach Brandon Staley said of the offensive play-calling in the second half. "You gotta change pace against them because when it just becomes a drop back game, that's when all the risk is in the plan against a team like that. As long as it was close, we wanted to force those guys to play things straight up."

Chargers keep 49ers top playmakers in check

In a game in which Christian McCaffrey was held to 77 yards, Deebo Samuel 51 yards and George Kittle 21 yards, the Chargers, for the most part, kept the 49ers' top playmakers in check.

Yet, they still left the stadium on the loosing end of the standalone game.

"Our group didn't back down tonight," Staley said. "Our team was the aggressor. It just didn't go down in the second half. But we need to get rested up and we got another big one next week."

The 49ers are well-known for their physicality and the Chargers defense held strong throughout the night, containing one of the top skill groups in the NFL.

Ultimately, the defense played well enough to win this game, but the lack of offense in the second half put the game up for grabs.

Chargers depth along the offensive line gets put to the test

Right tackle Trey Pipkins hadn't practiced all week as a result of an MCL injury he re-aggravated during last week's game. He went through pregame warmups on the field, but was ultimately ruled inactive.

That meant Foster Sarell would start in his place. Sarell was elevated from the practice squad on Saturday, and would be tasked with slowing down Nick Bosa off the edge.

As the Chargers played this game without either of their starting tackles that they opened the season with, the protection was still fairly good. The Chargers brought extra protection towards Sarell's side, chipping edge rushers to knock them off their path.

"We were playing with two backup tackles and that's an outstanding team that rushes the passer so we knew that the danger was in the pass rush and we were able to stay out of it for most of the game. We just weren't able to get that ball movement in the second half."

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Sarell, in his first start, allowed just one sack on the night. As a unit, the Chargers allowed three sacks in total.

"I thought Jamaree [Salyer] and Foster did a great job," quarterback Justin Herbert said. "They've stepped up big time and they've been able to step into those role, and that's a really good pass rush they're going up against , and I felt like I had plenty of time and they did a great job battling."

Injuries continue

It may sound like a broken record at this point, but more injuries surfaced during the Chargers loss to the 49ers.

Christian Covington left the game with a pectoral injury and Otito Ogbonnia exited with a knee injury. After losing defensive lineman Austin Johnson for the season following a knee injury suffered one week ago, they’re hit with two more injuries to the position in Week 10.

"It's definitely tough," safety Derwin James said of the team experiencing more injuries. "Especially those big guys against that type of team that's in and out of personnels. It's tough when you can't rotate those guys. We can't make excuses, just have to man up to it."

Tight end Gerald Everett also went down with a groin injury and didn’t return to the game.

Staley didn't know the severity of the injuries after the game, but said he'd have updates Monday afternoon.

Chargers coaches and players own the loss without excuses

There was a lot of frustration in the locker room after falling to the 49ers in a game the Chargers very well could have won.

But players and coaches weren’t buying the thought of a moral victory. They owned the loss without excuses despite the injuries hitting their team week-after-week.

Staley, Ekeler and James made it clear they let this game slip away and weren’t going to blame any other aspect.

"We don’t like making excuses," James said.

One silver lining from the game was the fight in which the Chargers played with. As frustration was at the forefront of their minds, it was clear they felt they had laid it on the line against the 49ers.

"We didn't come here to get a pat on the back for playing hard," Staley said. "That's not what this game is about. But that's what I like about our team, we came here to win tonight. Now, we didn't win. But the effort and the physicality and the toughness of our team tonight, that was good enough. That's what I expect."


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Nick Cothrel is the publisher of Charger Report. Follow Nick on Twitter @NickCothrel for more Chargers coverage.