Without Corey Linsley the offense struggled yet again. It really does all start up front for the Chargers and with Linsley out things did not look good. To add insult to injury, down late in the 4th quarter, backup center Will Clapp also went down with an injury.
The offense was inefficient all game, which was compounded by playing against a very good Broncos defense. However, another injury was also effecting the Chargers all game, and that was Kicker Dustin Hopkins sustaining a hamstring injury on the first extra point attempt. He continued to kick throughout the game but basically collapsed on the field after every FG attempt.
On defense, the Chargers had an awful first half but then tightened things up and really put the clamps on the Broncos in the 2nd half. JC Jackson wound up getting benched at half time and Mike Davis came in and provided some really good defense in his place. In fact the defense as a whole played much better in the 2nd half. It was really the first time all season they’ve come out stronger after halftime and that was good to see.
Possibly the worst part of the game was the officiating. It was equally bad against both teams and it was just awful. Impactful penalties were getting poorly called all game and it really, really hurt both teams.
In the 4th quarter the Chargers tied it up with about 4 minutes left, and the defense forced the Broncos to kick the ball back for a game winning drive attempt from Herbert and the offense. Drue Tranquill had a perfectly timed and perfectly executed blitz up the middle to force the punt.
The game winning drive attempt got off to a slow start that ate up a lot of clock for not a lot of yardage initially. They made it to their own 40 yard line with only 38 seconds left. Things basically stalled there and the Chargers wound up having to settle to play overtime football. It was a mix of weird play calling and Herbert being seemingly gun shy.
The Broncos won the toss and received in overtime and the Chargers were able to force a 3 and out. If anyone is clear of blame in this game, it’s the defense. They more than did their job for the 2nd half and overtime.
The Chargers started their OT possession moving backwards with a holding penalty. On second down Herbert threw an amazing bomb that, if the Chargers had a challenge, might have been a catch, but was ruled out of bounds. They wound up going 3 and out and punting back to the Broncos.
The Chargers defense came back strong AGAIN and forced a second 3 and out in overtime to force a second punt.
Nobody wanted to win the game. Chargers got the ball back and again, couldn’t move the ball.
However. On the punt back, Ja’Sir Taylor had the best special teams play by a Chargers player in a long time. He waited to be blocked by a player in front of the player catching the ball, then pushed that player directly into the returner to cause a muffed punt. The Chargers recovered, basically in field goal range already.
The Chargers lost yardage on 2 plays back to back then with half the Broncos in his face, Justin Herbert connected with Mike Williams to set up a 39 yard FG attempt.
Dustin Hopkins, who’s been dealing with an injury all game, is asked to kick a 39 yard FG.
AND HE DRILLS IT!! CHARGERS WIN IN OT!!!!!