The Los Angeles Chargers travelled to Arizona to take on the Cardinals in week 12. The Cardinals were reinforced this week with Kyler Murray and Marquise “Hollywood” Brown coming back to the lineup.
The Cardinals got Brown involved heavily, leading the team with 8 targets, hauling in 6 of them for 48 yards receiving. Murray had a great day as well, throwing for 2 touchdowns and running for a 3rd.
The Chargers really had very few answers for the Cardinals offense. Arizona rushed 33 times for 181 yards, averaging 5.5 yards per rush on 33 carries. The Chargers also gave up multiple chunk plays to the Cardinals offense.
Meanwhile, on offense the Chargers were very up and down. After doing nothing in the 1st quarter they, somewhat effortlessly, scored 14 points in the 2nd quarter. Then the second half offense fell back into the same woe’s it’s had all season and couldn’t move the ball well at all.
There were also multiple instances of coach Brandon Staley and the Chargers turtling on 4th down calls, opting to punt in situations where analytics (and 2021 Staley) say go for it.
In the 4th quarter the Chargers found themselves down 24 - 17 with just over 6 minutes to play. They needed a touchdown to tie the game up but were on a streak of 19 straight 2nd half possessions without a touchdown. The Chargers drove into Cardinals territory but with just over 2 minutes left, gave up a huge sack and had to punt it back to Arizona.
The defense stepped up huge, with a Michael Davis CB blitz for a sack setting up a 3rd and 16, the defense forced the Cardinals into a 3 and out at the 2 minute warning, while preserving a time out. Giving Herbert and the offense just under 2 minutes, after the punt, with one time out to drive down and score a TD to tie the game.
DeAndre Carter, and a Cardinals penalty, set the Chargers up to make this drive starting at the Cardinals 38 yard line. Hebert hit Gerald Everett for 10 yards on the 1st play, then a dump off to Ekeler got them down to the 20 in 2 plays. However on the next play a great pass to Ekeler down inside the 10 was called back for holding, moving the Chargers back to the 30 with 58 seconds left.
Keenan Allen made a catch and run of 16 yards down to the Cardinals 14, and with a Cardinals injury the clock was stopped for free with 46 seconds left.
2 plays later the Chargers found themselves at 3rd and 7 with 25 seconds left from the 11. Then the Chargers dialed up a perfectly timed screen to get Ekeler the ball who did his thing and got the ball down to the 1 yard line with 18 seconds left.
Herbert hits Ekeler for the TD from the 1. Then Brandon Staley finds his aggressiveness and decides to go for it all and go for 2 points. No going for the tie and overtime.
The Chargers call the perfect play and Herbert his Gerald Everett for a walk in 2 point conversion with 15 seconds left on the game clock.
The Cardinals had 11 seconds and a single time out to get into FG range from their own 32. Their first attempt took 5 seconds off the clock leaving the Cardinals with 6 seconds. Michael Davis breaks up the final attempt and the Chargers win the game!