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Chargers Power Rankings Roundup: Season-saving win over Cardinals keep Bolts alive for final stretch

Some publications gave the Bolts a nice bump after getting back in the win column.

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Syndication: Arizona Republic Joe Rondone/The Republic / USA TODAY NETWORK

The Chargers chances at making this year’s postseason was boosted when they walked out of Arizona with a walk-off victory in the waning seconds. Had they not managed to pull it out in the end, they could have almost surely kissed this year’s playoffs goodbye.

At 6-5, they’re right in the thick of things with the Jets (7-4), Patriots (6-5), and Bengals (7-4).

With that said, let’s go ahead and check out how the Bolts shook out in this week’s roundup.

Yahoo Sports - #11

“Noted “social media quarterback” Justin Herbert put the Chargers on his back to beat the Cardinals. Down six with 1:48 remaining, Herbert went 7-for-8 with a touchdown and a two-point conversion to keep the Bolts in the thick of the AFC playoff picture.” Frank Schwab

Sports Illustrated - #11

“I love this team. What incredible body contortion from Austin Ekeler on the end-of-game touchdown. What a play call for the 2-point conversion. What a call by Brandon Staley, who is feeling the heat and everyone knows it. If they can continue to put one foot in front of the other, they may walk deep into the playoffs and surprise some teams.” - Conor Orr - #12

“Brandon Staley has endured his fair share of criticism during a frustrating Chargers season, but the coach deserves credit for putting faith in his offense in a dramatic 25-24 win over the Cardinals. With his team trailing by one point after a Justin Herbert touchdown pass to Austin Ekeler with 15 seconds to play, Staley sent his attack back on the field for the two-point conversion attempt. The Bolts rewarded their coach’s faith with a perfectly designed and executed completion to Gerald Everett to steal a win and keep pace in the ultra-competitive AFC Wild Card race. Said a smiling Staley of the game-winning play: ‘Smooth like chocolate milk.’ Um ... sure!” - Dan Hanzus

CBS Sports - #12

“That was a potential season-saving victory at Arizona with the late-game drive to win it. Justin Herbert made the plays when he had to have them in that game.” - Pete Prisco

The Athletic - #13

“After back-to-back weeks with a failed attempt at a late game-winning drive, Justin Herbert came through in Sunday’s 25-24 win over the Cardinals, going 6-for-7 for 48 yards and a 1-yard touchdown pass with 15 seconds remaining on his team’s final possession. Then head coach Brandon Staley, who has been decidedly less aggressive than he was a year ago, trusted Herbert to go for two, which the third-year quarterback delivered to Gerald Everett for an easy conversion.”

“‘We just knew he was going to be open,’ said Herbert.”

“The AFC playoff picture is jumbled, with five teams fighting for three spots at either 7-4 or 6-5. With Keenan Allen back and Staley having found his stones again, anything less than Herbert’s first playoff trip would be a colossal disappointment.” - Bo Wulf

Sporting News - #14

“The Chargers made a great escape in the desert, thanks to Justin Herbert and Austin Ekeler overcoming more key injuries around them and the defense providing a late lift in Arizona. They won’t let up in pursuing a wild card behind the Chiefs with the Raiders next.” - Vinnie Iyer

Pro Football Network - #14

“Boy, the Chargers really made that one interesting, didn’t they? It’s amazing that Brandon Staley hadn’t gone for two all season up to this point, but what a time to make that call!”

“Justin Herbert was outstanding against Arizona. The Chargers ran 64 offensive plays, and Herbert had 47 attempts and four rushes. He was the team’s leading rusher with 38 yards.”

“The Chargers have six games left, and only the Dolphins and Titans games are against winning teams. Still, it won’t be easy to make the playoffs in a highly contested AFC.” - Dalton Miller

The Ringer - #15

“The Chargers currently have a 41 percent chance to make the postseason, according to FiveThirtyEight. However, those odds could jump to 62 percent if they beat the Raiders next week. The offensive line and receiver groups are still ravaged by injuries, and the defense is still among the league’s worst. But as we saw in the fourth quarter against Arizona, Justin Herbert always gives the Chargers a chance.” - Austin Gayle

Pro Football Talk - #16

“They may not make it to the postseason. Without Sunday’s walkoff win, they likely would have had no chance.” - Mike Florio

ESPN - #17

“The Chargers bolstered the roster over the offseason with the intention of making a deep postseason run. That goal has largely been derailed because of an overwhelming number of injuries that have resulted in edge rusher Joey Bosa, cornerback J.C. Jackson, left tackle Rashawn Slater and defensive lineman Austin Johnson being placed on injured reserve. However, the Bolts still have a shot at making the playoffs for the first time since 2018, with their chances improving to 60% following a gutsy decision — as coach Brandon Staley opted to go for the 2-point conversion rather than kick an extra point and go to overtime in a Week 12 win over the Cardinals. - Lindsey Thiry