SAN DIEGO — It's a good thing the San Diego Chargers have an extra day off this week because Coach Don Coryell might need it just to cool off.
The coach, incensed over several calls by officials that went against his team in Sunday's 21-17 loss to the Minnesota Vikings, was in far from good humor Monday.
His comments were terse. His mood was foul.
"We played good enough to win but we didn't," Coryell said. "We just have to play better and overcome some of these problems we've had the last three weeks. We overcame them in the Kansas City game, but we weren't able to do it in the Seattle game or this last game."
Those "problems," Coryell said, come in black in white stripes and control the football game.
The biggest play that Coryell thought was blown came in the second period and led to Minnesota's first touchdown. Cornerback Danny Walters was charged with pass interference at the Charger 1 as he reached up to deflect a pass intended for Anthony Carter.
Under revised National Football League rules, defensive backs have as much right to the football as receivers. Three television replays showed Walters was in the right, but the referee called it differently.
"I have a lot of comments but none that I really should make. The thing that irritates me is that players get blamed for penalties and are criticized, chastised by everyone and, in some cases, they are not at fault. The official goes unnamed. Nobody makes an issue of it. They say 'I'm sorry' when the film comes up
"The players get blamed, the coaches get blamed, the officials go unnamed," Coryell said. "I think everybody who makes a mistake should be criticized for it publicly. We are. Why shouldn't they be?"
But Coryell tried hard not to make bad calls an excuse for the loss. A supporter of televised instant replays to check questionable calls by officials, he declined the opportunity to criticize the league for shelving the idea last week.
"I'm just trying to take some pressure off some players," Coryell said.
Even with Sunday's loss and the Chargers record at 3-4, Coryell said San Diego still has a shot at the AFC West title.
"We still have a lot of division opponents to play," he said.
In the next four weeks, the Chargers play the division co-leading Denver Broncos and Los Angeles Raiders two times each. Inarguably, it is the hardest and most crucial part of the Chargers schedule.