It’s finally here. Wildcard Weekend.
The Chargers are on the road in Baltimore against the Ravens, they win the toss and elect to defer.
The Chargers come out on defense very strong. Derwin has pressure multiple times. Looks like Gus Bradley has finally given up on Jahleel Addae deep, first defensive series Addae was in the box every play with Rayshawn Jenkins back deep. The Chargers are able to force a quick punt. Defense looks ready to rock.
The offense starts out the day with a 3 and out. First play kind of broke down and Keenan Allen can’t get open underneath, next 2 plays are a jet sweep to Travis Benjamin for 8 years then a swing pass to Benjamin for -2. The offense is looking pretty conservative through 3 plays. With Melvin Gordon averaging 5.1 ypc this season it’s concerning they didn’t hand it to him on 3rd and 2.
Firs play of the Ravens nest series is a fumbled shotgun snap resulting in a 15 yard loss for Baltimore. The Ravens hand the ball off on the next play and fumble again! Melvin Ingram punches it out and Adrian Phillips, 1st team All Pro Adrian Phillips, recovers it. 1st down LA from the 15 of Baltimore.
1st down, Chargers handoff to Gordon for 4 yards, but the Ravens finish the play with a personal foul, 1st and goal from the 7. Chargers stick with gordon for 2 more plays down to just outside the 1. 3rd and goal, however Melvin Gordon is down on the field and has to come out and head to the locker room. Handoff to Austin Ekeler is a 3 yard loss, Michael Badgley puts in through from 21 yards. 3-0 Chargers.
The Chargers Defense continues to look like they believe in themselves. They force 2 more TFL and a sack from Joey Bosa on a 5 play offensive series from Baltimore. The Ravens OL is getting obliterated. The Ravens get off a punt with not very much hangtime and Desmond King has a big return immediately back into Ravens territory at the 42.
Ken Wisenhunt looks like he didn’t make any adjustments in the last few weeks. The offense is still underneath passes and delayed handoffs. The Chargers, with great starting field position again, only manage 7 yards of offense on this drive. Luckily Michael Badgley, who has been an amazing find by Tom Telesco’s staff (finally), drills a 53 yard FG, which is the 2nd longest post season FG in Chargers history. 6-0 Chargers.
End of Quarter 1: 6 - 0 Chargers
Chargers D is firing on all cylinders. They force another 3 and out here by completely dominating the LOS and shooting gaps and the edge. Ravens are forced to punt again, this time an amazing 59 yard punt pins the Chargers on their own 10 yard line.
The offense starts out on the wrong foot with a 3 yard loss on a handoff to Melvin Gordon, who’s thankfully back in the game, however facing 3rd and 6 from their own 14, Rivers finds gordon for a 20 yard pass down the sideline. Rivers, facing pressure, breaks off his longest run of the season for 7 yards, but the Chargers offense fizzles out on a bad pass from Rivers to an open Mike Williams that falls incomplete on 3rd and 2. Punt again.
Lamar Jackson finds a hole to start the next possession for the Ravens. 14 yards down the field and an easy 1st down. However, next play Jackson has a high pass to Moore, Casey Hayward breaks it up and Adrian Phillips comes down with the interception. Defense all day.
Philip Rivers and the offense get a free 1st down to start the next drive when on 3rd and 1 the Ravens get flagged for 12 men. Chargers are back in Ravens territory again, however Rivers winds up taking a 6 yard sack. Tony Romo, who is doing the broadcast, points out that the Ravens are having a ton of success blitzing at Austin Ekeler. Rivers connects with Keenan Allen for 12 to get to a 3rd and 4, when Rivers finds old man Antonio Gates for the 1st. The drive fizzles out at the Ravens 22 yard line and Michael NOT-Badgley drills a 40 yard FG. 9-0 Chargers.
Ravens go 3 and out again, Lamar Jackson is now 2/8 for 17 yards an Interception, 2 Fumbles and a Sack at the 2 minute warning. Could we see Joe Flacco after halftime? Baltimore gets off another punt which Dez King fair catches at the Chargers 26. One last drive before the half.
Rivers methodically guides the Chargers down the field. Completions to Gates and Mike Williams for good first downs keep the Chargers rolling. Rivers doing a masterful job calling this offense and even draws the Ravens offsides. A few swing passes to Austin Ekeler as well and the Chargers are at the Ravens 35 yard line with 25 seconds and 3 TO’s left. Also of note, Eric Weddle left the game and went into the locker room after he twisted his ankle on a blitz. 3rd and 7 from the 32 yard line with 15 seconds left. Chargers into the wind right now need more yardage to attempt a FG. Chargers dial up a perfectly timed WR screen to Keenan Allen who picks up 10 yards to the 23 yard line and take the TO. 8 seconds left, looking at a 41 yarder from here. Austin Ekeler takes the draw play 6 more yards to the 16 yard line. 4 seconds left and a 34 yard attempt and Badgley drills it again, 4/4 on the day now. 12 - 0 Chargers.
Halftime: 12 - 0 Chargers
Chargers come out of the second half with a big return from Desmond King. King returned the ball all the way to the Baltimore 26 yard line. Rivers and the offense take the field, Weddle back in for the Ravens. Chargers again fail to get anything going on offense and Michael Badgley is back out for a 41 yard attempt. This time the luck runs out a bit, Badgley’s kick is blocked and the Ravens are able to get the ball back. Pretty inexcusable for the Chargers to come away with 0 points after that return from King.
This defense continues to eat. Chargers force a 3 and out off back to back sacks from rookie DT Justin Jones and Melvin Ingram. The defense looks ready to will this team to the next round. Flacco has his helmet on now on the sideline for the Ravens.
Chargers get the ball back but draw their first flag of the game on the punt with a hold. Chargers start from their own 21. Ekeler gets a 6 yard carry then the Chargers quickly grab their second flag with a false start from Mike Williams. Rivers gets the ball to Virgil Green who tries to get extra yardage for the 1st down and coughs up the football to the Ravens. Awful momentum swing.
Ravens have the ball the deepest they’ve had all day, 1st and 10 from the Chargers 21. The Chargers D continues to be stingy however, limiting the Ravens to only 6 yards of offense, however with the great starting field position, the Justin Tucker is able to drill an easy 33 yard FG. 12 - 3 Chargers.
Los Angeles still can’t get the offense moving. Rivers and Co go 3 and out, and the Donnie Jones punt is blocked then only travels 11 yards. Momentum is swinging hard in Baltimore’s direction.
Ravens’ next possession starts out in the wrong direction when Lamar Jackson breaks free on a big run, however Ronnie Stanley tackled Melvin Ingram and draws a hold. Chargers D again tightens things down and forces a 50 yard attempt from Justin Tucker. Tucker, who is normally automatic, and in fact had never missed in the post season, shanks it wide right for a miss. Chargers catch a break.
Chargers take over at their own 39 yard line. Chargers quickly get a 3rd and long, but Rivers is able to find Gates again for the 1st. Then Rivers connects with Mike Williams for the longest offensive play of the game, 28 yards downfield with a beautiful pass and beautiful catch. Melvin Gordon then has a great carry to give the Chargers first and goal from the 2. 1st attempt, Gordon gets bottle up for a 1 yard loss. Chargers line up in a heavy goal line package then run a play action pass to FB Derek Watt. Rivers underthrows it but Watt corrals it and tries to roll into the endzone. Call on the field is short of the goal line, but the replay makes it look like it might be a TD. End of the 3rd. 12 - 3 Chargers.
End of the 3rd Quarter: 12 - 3 Chargers
Chargers throw the red flag to review the play. Everyone in the announcing booth thought it was a TD, and so do all of us, however the officials say no TD. Not only that, then they take a full yard away from the Chargers. The next play is a run by Gordon. He is tackled, reaching for the goal line. Call on the field is a TD Chargers, but the ball popped out at the goal line and there is an official review. Somehow, the refs find enough video evidence to overturn this play and say Gordon was down at the 2 inch line. 4th down. Chargers decide to go for it and Melvin Gordon gets into the endzone standing up! Lynn decides to go for 2 to make it a 17 point, 3 score game. Just like the Chiefs game, Mike Williams winds up alone, with no Raven within 15 yards of him in the endzone. 20 - 3 Chargers.
Ravens decide to stick with Lamar Jackson, the Ravens fans booing. Lamar takes a sack on 1st down and the crowd in Baltimore boos louder. Lamar narrowly escapes another sack and throws it low for another incompletion. 3rd play, Melvin Ingram gets another sack and the Ravens offense gets boo’d off the field.
Ravens defense is looking down and unmotivated. The Chargers start moving the ball downfield including another 7 yard run from Rivers for a 1st down this time. Rivers took a shot on the play but stands up and gives a 1st down signal. Thats my quarterback! LA’s offense continues to burn the clock. Chargers make it to the 29 yard line and fail to convert on a 3rd and 10. Ravens brought everyone and Rivers took a shot but overthrew Tyrell Williams. Badgley out for his 5th attempt of the day and sails it through from 47 yards. 23 - 3 Chargers. 9:09 left in the game.
Chargers D continues to pressure Lamar Jackson. He picks up decent yardage on a scramble after narrowly avoiding a sack but then is sacked the next play by Issac Rochelle. on 4th and 11, the Ravens get a free play when Joey Bosa jumped, Lamar completes it deep to Willie Snead for 29 yards and a huge 1st down all the way to the 31 of LA. Next play is a 31 yard TD pass to Michael Crabtree. Casey Hayward blew the coverage and gave up an easy TD. Great pass from Lamar. 23 - 10 Chargers with 6:33 left. Baltimore with 3 TOs, LA has 2.
Ravens attempt the onside kick. Chargers recover, however a flag on the kick, illegal formation on Kyle Emanuel. 5 yard penalty and Baltimore is allowed to re-kick. Keenan Allen fields a fast ground ball kick. 6:29 left.
Austin Ekeler takes the first handoff 6 yards then goes down to a knee to keep the clock moving. 2nd hand off goes for no gain, 3rd and 4 now and the snap will come at just under 5 minutes. Chargers call a strange screen to Keenan Allen that goes for no gain, Baltimore burns their 1st time out to stop the clock at 4:55. Donnie Jones boots it a touch too far and it rolls into the endzone. 4:47, Ravens with 2 TOs from their own 20.
Lamar takes hard pressure on the 1st play and throws it incomplete. 2nd play is a screen but they dont get out of bounds, 3rd and 6, clock moving. Ravens get a 1st down on another screen, then another quick 9 yard pass. Clock at 3:45 at their own 43 yard line. Ravens get another 1st down on another keeper, clock still moving. Ravens kill the clock with a spike at 3:21 on the 50 yard line. Worst play of the game for the defense happens here. Huge huge pressure on Lamar, running for his life, throws it back across his body. Derwin James takes the gamble jumping to tip or intercept the ball but Lamar had just enough on it to complete it to the RB who rumbles all the way down to the Chargers 11.
Back to back plays Lamar now throws it at Michael Davis, who breaks up both of them, almost intercepting the 1st one. Lamar now finds the TE Andrews for a completion down to the 8 yard line. Again on 4th down, Lamar buys time with his legs and finds Michael Crabtree at the goal-line. He’s ruled down at the half yard line, but a challenge is likely coming. Challenge goes the Ravens way, and it was the right call based on the tape. It looked like a push off, but you can’t rely on that. 23 - 17 Chargers.
Chargers get the ball with 1:57 left. 1st play is a 2 yard run by MG3, 1:51 and Baltimore burns their 2nd time out. Gordon gets 2 more yards. 1:47 left, Ravens use their final TO. 3rd and 6, Chargers need a TO to secure the win. Chargers call an outside run to Gordon who executes perfectly, however they call holding on Russel Okung, 1:41 left, Ravens cant stop the clock. 3rd and 15. Chargers get a 9 yard pass compete. 4th and 7 but the clock will be under 1 minute at the punt. Chargers call TO at :54.
Donnie Jones boots it to the Ravens 34 yard line. :45 left on the clock. D has been killing it all day, here we go.
1st play, 12 yards to the TE. Ravens cant get set quickly and spike the ball at :28. Chargers rushing 4, and Uchenna Nwosu STRIPS LAMAR JACKSON!!! MELVIN INGRAM RECOVERS!! GAME OVER!!! WE WANT THE PATRIOTS!!!!