If you happened to do a double-take after the clock hit zero in tonight’s presentation of Monday Night Football, I don’t blame you. You’re not the only one feeling like you’re suffering from a bad case of deja vu.
One week after the Chargers blew a 17-point against the Buccaneers in Tampa Bay, the Bolts once again let a 17-point lead slip away on Monday night as they fell 30-27 in New Orleans despite Justin Herbert having the best game of his young career.
On the Bolts’ second drive of the game, Herbert threw the first of his career-high four touchdown passes on Monday after escaping pressure to the right before firing a dart at Keenan Allen who was able to drag his feet before being tackled out of bounds. Michael Badgley would unfortunately shanked the PAT right but the Chargers still held an early 6-0 lead.
The touchdown was Allen’s final catch of the night as he would exit soon after with back spasms.
After the Saints kicked a field goal to end the first quarter, the Chargers took advantage of a roughing-the-kicker call, which helped extend a drive headed for a three-and-out, and turned it into a four-yard touchdown for Mike Williams.
After trading three-and-outs, the Chargers defense was able to get a rare Drew Brees - this one in the form of a Brees interception - as Nasir Adderley snagged an overthrown pass and returned it all the way back the Saints’ one-yard line. They would capitalize on the takeaway with a one yard-touchdown pass to Hunter Henry, which brought their lead to a seemingly-comfortable 17 points.
But before the half was over, Brees orchestrated a masterful eight-play, 51-yard drive which culminated in QB sneak by Brees to make it 20-10 heading into the midway point.
The Saints had all the momentum in the second half with Brees and Co. scoring the first 10 points on the other side of the break before the Chargers were able retaliate.
A field goal and a touchdown toss to tight end Jared Cook evened the score at 20-20. All the pressure in the world was on the shoulders of Herbert, but it showed no signs of fazing him. It took just four plays before Herbert found a streaking Williams up the right sideline for a 64-yard touchdown to give them back the lead at 27-20 with a little under four minutes left in the game.
While it seemed bleak, the Saints were up for the task. They marched 73 yards in eight plays before backup quarterback Taysom Hill ran in the game-tying touchdown with 52 seconds left on the clock.
The Chargers did everything they needed to in order for them to have a chance at winning this game. On the final drive of regulation, Mike Williams skied over a pair of defenders to haul in a 29-yard pass which put them within field goal range at the New Orleans 39.
All Badgley had to do was knock a 50-yard kick through the uprights and the game would have been won. It didn’t seem like such a tall task, especially for the guy who set the franchise record with a 59-yarder against the Bengals in 2018. But then again, Badgley had only made 2-of-5 attempts from 50+ yards, and this one was unfortunately added into the miss column. With enough distance, Badgley’s kick “doinked” off the right upright and ricocheted into the end zone below.
Overtime was on tap.
The Saints went nine plays to begin overtime, easily carving up the Chargers’ zone defense with little chunk plays before held on third down L.A.’s 18-yard line. Will Lutz converted the 36-yard field goal to give the Saints the lead with Herbert on deck once more with his team within a score late in a game.
After a timely roughing-the-passer penalty the begin the drive, the Chargers weren’t able to secure another first down as a fourth-down catch by Mike Williams came to a halt just a foot shy of the first down line.
The Chargers fell to 1-4 on the season in a game where Herbert became the youngest rookie quarterback to throw for four touchdowns on Monday Night Football, joining Lamar Jackson, Patrick Mahomes, and Dan Marino. He finished with 264 yards passing and zero turnovers for the first time in his four starts.
Justin Jackson led the team with 71 rushing yards on 15 carries while Mike Williams led them in receiving with five catches for 109 yards and the his first two touchdowns of the 2020 season. Uchenna Nwosu and Joey Bosa each recorded a sack on Brees.
The Chargers will enjoy their bye week next Sunday before they’re back home in SoFi to take on the Jaguars on October 25.