The Chargers came out agains the Rams led by an efficient offense paired with a defense that stood tall when it matter most. Justin Herbert and the offense were clean — in and out of the red zone — and that led to backups playing most of the fourth quarter en route to a 31-10 victory over the Rams inside SoFi Stadium.
Justin Herbert completed 75 percent of his passes and a pair of touchdowns while Austin Ekeler totaled 161 yards and a pair of rushing scores.
Defensively, Kyle Van Noy recorded his fourth sack in as many games as the defense registered three sacks and harassed Baker Mayfield for most of the game.
The Chargers now head into the season finale next week against the Broncos with 10 wins and will look to get to 11 before they start their journey into the postseason.
For a complete quarter-by-quarter recap of tonight’s game, check it all out below.
Seems like every week the Chargers have won the coin toss and deferred. This week was no different.
The Rams began with two chunk runs by Cam Akers. After allowing the first down, the Chargers defense stiffened and were able to shut the door on Baker Mayfield with a sack by Morgan Fox.
Justin Herbert and the Chargers offense managed a similar drive before a holding penalty (Donald Parham) on third-and-one killed the drive and forced their first punt of the day.
Akers broke loose for a 42-yard run to bring the Rams to the Los Angeles 22-yard line. After a missed DPI call on Mike Williams the previous drives, the referees missed a clear hold on Nasir Adderley which allowed Akers to turn the corner. Tough, but you have to fight through the officials some weeks.
The defense stood tough once again to hold the Rams to a field goal. With a little over 60 seconds remaining in the opening period, the Rams held the lead 3-0.
Before the quarter came to an end, Herbert hit Mike Williams for a 26-yard gain and Joshua Kelley took a carry for 12 yards to put the Bolts in business at the Rams’ 37-yard line.
On the other half of the break, it took the Chargers just three plays to find the end zone. A 20-yard pass to Williams brought the offense to the 10-yard line and Ekeler did the rest by bowling over defenders into the end zone. With 13:40 remaining in the first half, the Chargers were up 7-3.
The Rams took advantage of another chunk play with Mayfield hitting Van Jefferson for a 39-yard gain. The Rams offense then sputtered and knocked themselves out of field goal range with an intentional grounding penalty called on an incomplete third-and-six pass attempt. They punted from the Chargers’ 41 and managed to pin the Bolts at their own 10.
Lightning struck again for the Chargers offense as they went 90 yards in just five plays, mostly thanks to a season-long 72 yard run by Ekeler straight into the end zone for his second touchdown of the day. With 8:25 remaining in the second quarter, Ekeler had four carries for a whopping 98 yards rushing.
The Rams responded behind a strong connection from Mayfield to Jefferson. After the duo got their unit down to the 23-yard line, Malcolm Brown went untouched up the middle for a touchdown. While the defense looked to be completely out of place on the play, the Rams were aided by another massive hold on Drue Tranquill.
Watch Drue Tranquill. It doesn't get much more blatant. https://t.co/JhzvXLcwcW— Michael Peterson (@ZoneTracks) January 1, 2023
Williams added to his highlight reel on the ensuing drive with an incredible one-handed catch up the left sideline that helped get the Chargers deep into Rams territory. After having first-and-10 at the Rams’ 22, the Chargers couldn’t find a completion on three attempts which forced Cameron Dicker’s first field goal of the night.
Both teams headed into the locker room with the Chargers holding a 17-10 lead.
The Chargers began the third quarter with an 11-play, 75-yard drive that culminated in the offense finally scoring a touchdown in the third quarter, breaking the 10-week streak dating back to week four. Herbert fired a laser to Gerald Everett between a pair of Rams defenders to push their lead to 14 points.
Kyle Van Noy stripped Mayfield on a third down inside Chargers territory for his fourth sack in as many games. However, the Chargers failed to move the ball forward at all and swiftly punted it back to the Rams.
Drue Tranquill got into the backfield for a big tackle for loss one the Rams’ next drive. That, combined with a false start penalty, effectively killed their drive and the ball went back to the Chargers.
Time expired in the quarter with the Chargers driving at the Rams’ 36-yard line.
Herbert and the offense pushed their lead to 21 points with a nice pitch-and-catch to Donald Parham for the tight end’s first touchdown of the season. After holding the Rams to another three-and-out, the Chargers decided to hold some of their starters out, including Justin Herbert and Austin Ekeler.
Both teams went on to trade several scoreless drives as time eventually expired on a 31-10 win for the Chargers.
Justin Herbert finished the night with 212 yards on 21-of-28 passing with two touchdowns.
Austin Ekeler carried the ball 10 times for 122 yards and a pair of touchdowns.
Mike Williams led all pass-catchers with seven receptions for 94 yards.
Drue Tranquill led the defense with nine tackles, including two tackles for loss. Morgan Fox and Sebastian Joseph-Day, both former Rams, each recorded a sack on the night.
The Chargers will be on the road in Denver for the season finale next Sunday. Kickoff time will be announced later this week.