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Gruden at 'loss for words' after Chargers' rout of Redskins
By GREG BEACHAM
CARSON, Calif. (AP) Coach Jay Gruden was thoroughly baffled by his Redskins' performance. Washington safety D.J. Swearinger blamed poor practices and a deficient mental approach.
Kirk Cousins was simply disappointed when the Redskins' playoff hopes officially ended in a soccer stadium in Southern California.
But perhaps Washington shouldn't have been quite so self-critical after a 30-13 loss on Sunday.
After all, Philip Rivers and the Los Angeles Chargers (7-6) have made most of their opponents feel really bad about themselves over the past 10 weeks as they've surged above .500 and into the thick of the AFC playoff race.
While the Chargers dominated in their fourth straight win, the Redskins (5-8) were eliminated from postseason contention with their sixth loss in eight games. Washington managed only 201 total yards and fell behind by 24 points in the third quarter.
"I'm at a loss for words, quite honestly," Gruden said. "I never thought we'd get beat like this two weeks in a row."
Washington followed up its 38-14 loss at Dallas last week with another thrashing.
Rivers passed for 319 yards in the Chargers' seventh victory in nine games, hitting Tyrell Williams and Hunter Henry for touchdowns. Los Angeles racked up 429 yards by midway through the third quarter, and Melvin Gordon rushed for a final touchdown before several regulars took most of the fourth quarter off.
Cousins hit Vernon Davis with an early TD pass , but the Redskins were left dismayed by another lost season. Swearinger, who joined the Redskins this year, wasn't afraid to cite specific factors in their downfall, including Washington's effort in practice this week.
"It was like just this, `Blah, blah. OK, we're out here at practice. Blah,'" Swearinger said. "We've got to practice better. I've been saying it all year. ... It's not surprising at all to me. You don't prepare well, you're going to fail. I don't think we prepared well with some of the questions that's been asked (by players) before the game. `Are you doing this right here? Are you doing this right there?' We're just not prepared."
Although Bashaud Breeland returned an interception of Kellen Clemens' pass 96 yards for a touchdown with 2:36 to play, Washington's defense had few answers. The Redskins gave up 8.24 yards per play during the first three quarters, and the Chargers successfully ran a reverse and a flea-flicker to Keenan Allen.
"We've definitely taken steps back (on defense)," Swearinger said. "We had 30 put on us today. Dallas put (38) on us last week. We've taken major steps back."
More things to know about the Chargers' fourth win over the Redskins in five meetings:
Williams caught a 75-yard touchdown pass for the Chargers, whose 0-4 start to their relocation season seems a distant memory. The Chargers even have a winning record for the first time since September 2015. They've outscored their opponents 131-53 during their four-game winning streak while outgaining them by a whopping 731 total yards. They've also won four straight home games since starting 0-3 at StubHub Center.
BIG PHILLY STYLE
Rivers moved ahead of Warren Moon for ninth place in NFL history in career yards passing. During the four-game winning streak, Rivers has passed for 1,348 yards with eight touchdowns and no interceptions. He also surpassed 3,500 yards passing for the 10th consecutive season, joining Peyton Manning and Drew Brees as the only NFL quarterbacks to hit the mark in 10 straight years. Manning and Brees, whose streak is active, did it 13 times.
Washington linebacker Zach Brown sprained his toe in the second half and left in a walking boot. He blamed the StubHub Center turf: "That field is crap. It's made for soccer." The field in the Chargers' temporary home hasn't received serious criticism from previous opponents, but the Redskins did appear to be slipping regularly.
Los Angeles had a 23-6 lead when it drove 81 yards in the final 1:25 before halftime. The Chargers missed out on even more points because Austin Ekeler was tackled on a 33-yard run at the Washington 4 as time ran out. Lynn blamed Ekeler for risking a run to end zone despite knowing he needed to get down.
The Chargers' 24-point lead in the third quarter allowed several regulars to rest in the fourth. Los Angeles will need it before the biggest game of the season to date: Saturday's showdown with the Kansas City Chiefs (7-6), their co-leaders in the AFC West.
"These are the games you grow up dreaming about playing, and here we are playing it with two teams that are sitting there at 7-6," Rivers said.
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Updated December 10, 2017