SAN DIEGO -- A couple defensive players for the Chargers owned up to mental and physical mistakes that led to Denver tight end Julius Thomas sprinting down the sideline for a 74-yard touchdown on what seemed like a harmless out route.
San Diego coach Mike McCoy said during his conversation with reporters here on Monday that his defense had a couple break downs on the play. Initially, outside linebacker Larry English didn't bump Thomas off the line before rushing the passer.
The Chargers had a busted coverage when the flat defender, inside linebacker Manti Te'o, didn't get to his zone responsibility in time to cover Thomas. McCoy didn't name who had the flat route, but safety Eric Weddle later confirmed during locker room availability that it was Te'o.
“The linebacker needs to take him to the flat, because that's his guy,” Weddle said. “Derek needs to either make the tackle or turn him back in, and I don't need to assume that the tackle's made, or he's stopped.
“It's very disappointing, especially to myself. I'm not too happy about it. It's actually embarrassing. But I know it will never happen again.”
McCoy also said that cornerback Derek Cox and Weddle have to make the tackle and get Thomas down.
In going back and re-watching the play, Weddle appeared to pull up, assuming that Cox would get Thomas out of bounds.
“Derek and Eric both had a chance there to get him out of bounds, and we didn't do it,” McCoy said. “So it was just poor execution all the way from the snap to the finish.”
Added Te'o: “I've got to do better with my eyes. I've got to know the situations and know my responsibilities. And I've got to do a better job of getting my eyes in the right place.”
The busted coverage was a microcosm of San Diego's struggles to get lined up correctly and into the right play call against Denver's up-tempo, no-huddle attack orchestrated by quarterback Peyton Manning.
“The big thing I told the team before the game is ‘All 11 on the same page before every play,'” McCoy said. “That's the most important thing. Don't come to the sideline saying I didn't get the call. I said don't get caught up in all the stuff he's doing -- it's about us.”
McCoy was asked if Cox will start against Miami this weekend, and if he thought it was productive to have Cox on such a short leash. Cox was benched for a second straight game after the play, but returned to the field later in the game.
“We'll let you know as the week goes on,” McCoy said. “We're going to do what we think is best to help the football team win, week in and week out. We're not going to be afraid to make changes. We'll sit down as a staff and do what we think is best moving forward.”