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Rapid Reaction: San Diego Chargers

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- A few thoughts on the San Diego Chargers' 18-17 gut-wrenching loss to the Arizona Cardinals in the season opener for both teams on "Monday Night Football."

What it means: The Chargers start the team’s 2014 campaign on a sour note by giving up a double-digit, second-half lead on the road in a winnable game against one of the powers of the NFC West. At 0-1, the Chargers fall a game back in the AFC West standings behind Denver, a 31-24 winner over the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday night.

Stock Watch: In his first regular-season game back since a serious neck injury ended his 2013 season, Malcom Floyd had played well. He finished with four catches for 50 yards, including a 6-yard touchdown in the third quarter. Floyd turned 33 on Monday.

Defense creates turnovers, can’t get off field: The Chargers created some game-changing plays on defense, including a forced fumble by safety Marcus Gilchrist early in the contest that was recovered by linebacker Donald Butler. Rookie outside linebacker Jeremiah Attaochu also finished with a strip sack recovered by Dwight Freeney and a blocked punt. San Diego scored a total of 10 points off of those big plays. However, San Diego’s defense gave up 403 total yards, and allowed Carson Palmer to throw for 304 yards and two touchdowns. San Diego’s defense also could not get off the field when it mattered most, allowing the Cardinals to score the winning touchdown on an 11-play, 91-yard drive, punctuated by a 13-yard John Brown touchdown catch with 4:25 left.

Game ball: Questionable heading into Monday night’s contest due to a hamstring injury, 34-year-old tight end Antonio Gates played through the nagging injury, finishing with six catches for 81 yards.

What’s next: The Chargers face the defending Super Bowl Champions, the Seattle Seahawks, on a short week of preparation in the team’s home opener on Sept. 14.