By Cameron Buford, whatsgoodinsports.com
The Atlanta Falcons come into SoFi Stadium in week 14 of the season with 4 wins and 8 losses. The Chargers have an equally dismal record at 3 wins and 9 losses. Seven of the 10 matchups between these teams have ended up being decided by one score or less and the hometown Chargers have a shameful 4 and 16 record in such games. Subsequently, both of these teams are playing spoiler for the remainder of the season.
After the Chargers kicked off to start the game, they immediately forced the Falcons to punt and then went down to score a TD on a Justin Herbert to Keenan Allen pass to cap off their initial drive of the game. That sequence hasn’t happened very much this season. The Falcons capitalized on a trick play, that had their Wide Receiver Russell Gage line up at quarterback and throw a pass to their young Wide Receiver, Calvin Ridley.
After the teams traded field goals, the Falcons drove 75 yards before Matt Ryan hit Laqoun Treadwell for his first touchdown pass of the game in the second quarter. The Bad clock management issues that have plagued the Chargers in multiple games, reared their ugly head yet again at the end of the half. For whatever reason, they decided to run the ball inside 20 seconds and were not able to stop the clock or get their field goal team on the field, to kick a field goal just before the end of the half.
As if he didn’t have anything to do with the play call at the end of the half, Chargers Head Coach Anthony Lynn repeated what we’ve heard before, “We cannot run the ball in the situation!” When asked about that clock management mishap that’s caused them 3 points right before halftime.
Capitalizing on their first takeaway of the game Justin Herbert lead the Chargers on a 13 play 80-yard drive, on what would’ve been their go-ahead touchdown. Be that as it may, Tyron Johnson’s 12-yard touchdown reception tied the game up for the Chargers. This also happened to be Herbert’s 8th game, in his rookie season, with 2 or more touchdown passes.
8th-year veteran Jahleel Addae intercepts a Matt Ryan pass to give the Chargers the ball at the Falcons 25-yard line, with 3:46. Herbert shortly returned the favor with an interception of his own, before 4th-year cornerback Michael Davis registered the third interception of the day for the Chargers. When asked about that play he said, “18 was Matt Ryan’s got to guy all day today; so I trust my instincts and I got the pick.” When asked to elaborate on the way he played the ball coming out of his break, he emphasized, “I’m a Jack Boy, we take s**t.”
When I asked Justin Herbert about their game-winning drive he replied by telling me that, “it was huge for us, it’s one of those drills that we practice all the time. Unfortunately, we didn’t get it done the first time, but we did when we got there the second time.” That third interception repositioned the Chargers and would open up the opportunity for Justin Herbert to get the first game-winning drive of his career. Though they ultimately need, Place Kicker, Michael Badgley’s to make a 43-yard field goal with seconds remaining on the clock to seal the game.
In this game, Keenan Allen has surpassed Antonio Brown (622) for the most receptions by a player in their first 100 career games since 1970. His teammate Austin Ekeler amassed 9+ targets in his 3rd straight games, which became is the longest streak by LAC RB since at least 1992. Justin Herbert finished the game with 2 touchdown passes that made him the 4th quarterback to reach 25 plus touchdown passes in their rookie season behind Baker Mayfield, Russell Wilson, and Payton Manning.
Head Coach Anthony Lynn was visibly relieved with the victory during his post-game press conference because he knows the value of winning the turnover margin. As his teams are 20-3 in games with a positive turnover margin. For weeks Lynn had been telling anyone that would listen how resilient his team is, when asked about this he responded by saying, “they shock off last week; didn’t let one game beat them twice; they played good complimentary football today; the defense did a heck of a job with those turnovers.”
Although the end of the half clock management caused them a few points, the Chargers benefitted from a team win on Sunday vs the Falcons. The Special team got a big kick return that led to points and their 3 interceptions on defense, helped to ice the game for the Chargers. Kindly share your thoughts on the Chargers comeback win, by reaching out to me on Twitter @whatsgoodnsport or forward any suggestions on what topics or angles you’d like to see discussed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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