PHILADELPHIA - The Eagles painfully discovered Sunday that their offense can't do it alone.

The exploits of quarterback Michael Vick and company were wasted by an awful defensive performance that resulted in a 33-30 loss to San Diego at Lincoln Financial Field.

"The whole defense needs work," Eagles defensive coordinator Billy Davis said.

"We said it after last week when we were happy with our performance and we said it this week when we came up short. There is still a lot of work to be done.

"Week one was a picture and this painted another picture for us. We have to work our tails off and get these things fixed."

Sunday's picture was ugly.

Chargers quarterback Phillip Rivers had so much time in the pocket, he could have sipped iced tea with one hand while throwing passes with the other and not spilled a drop.

Barely touched and rarely rattled, he completed 36 of 47 passes for 419 yards and three touchdowns with no interceptions. Rivers' passing yards were the third-most ever allowed by the Eagles. Detroit's Jon Kitna threw for 446 yards in 2007 and San Francisco's Joe Montana had 428 yards in 1989.

"It was a combination of a (poor pass rush and shoddy coverage)," Eagles coach Chip Kelly said. "I think you've got to try to make (Rivers) uncomfortable and I think at times he had too much time. When you have a quarterback as talented as Phillip, that's going to hurt you."

Injuries hurt the secondary.

Cornerback Bradley Fletcher missed the game with a concussion. Brandon Boykin started in his spot and Brandon Hughes played in the slot. But Hughes sat out part of the second half with a strained hamstring, forcing Davis and Kelly to move safety Patrick Chung to cornerback and use Nate Allen and rookie Earl Wolff at safety.

"That was just who was available at that point in time," Kelly said. "There aren't any safeties on the street. You're not going to find anybody hanging out on the street corner that's going to be able to play safety for you. So we're going to play with the ones we've got."

Chargers tight end Antonio Gates repeatedly found holes in the Eagles' defense to catch eight passes for 124 yards. Wide receiver Eddie Royal caught three touchdown passes.

Eagles cornerback Cary Williams struggled, committing three pass interference penalties.

"You have to tip your hats to those guys," Williams said. "Phillip Rivers is a tremendous quarterback who has proved that year in and year out. Sometimes when you play a great quarterback, this happens."

Lousy tackling, which has been a problem for the Eagles in recent years, was evident against the Chargers.

Chargers running back Ryan Mathews burst through large holes to rush for 73 yards on 16 carries (4.6 yards per carry).

About the only positives for the Eagles' defense were the two forced fumbles by Boykin and linebacker Trent Cole, respectively.

"We have to be able to get off the field on third down and we didn't do that today," Cole said. "It hurts, but we just have to go back, fine tune some things and get them fixed. It's not like we have a bad team. We have a good team. We just have to execute and get off the field."

Next up is Kansas City and former Eagles coach Andy Reid on Thursday night. The Chiefs knocked off Dallas 17-16 on Sunday.

"It was tough to swallow giving up so many points today," said Eagles linebacker Connor Barwin, who had the Eagles' only sack against the Chargers. "Thankfully, we play Thursday, so we can get this bad taste out of our mouths soon."

Contact David Weinberg:

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