Posts Tagged ‘Los Angeles Chargers’

Justin Herbert threw for 340 yards and two touchdowns and Austin Ekeler scored three times as the Los Angeles Chargers built a big early lead and held on for a 34-24 win over the Houston Texans on Sunday.

Houston scored 17 straight points to get within three with about 8 1/2 minutes left. The Chargers (2-2) then put together a 12-play, 84-yard drive, capped by Ekeler’s 14-yard reception, to put the game away and snap a two-game skid.

The Chargers faced fourth-and-2 from their 45 when Herbert connected with Ekeler on a 21-yard reception to keep the game-sealing drive going.

Ekeler, who had struggled this season as the Chargers ranked last in the league in yards rushing, had his best game this year, scoring on runs of 10 and 20 yards in the second quarter as Los Angeles raced out to a 21-0 lead.

The banged-up Chargers looked great early, scoring on five of their first six possessions to build a 27-7 lead by halftime despite Herbert still dealing with a rib injury and the team playing without star defender Joey Bosa, who had groin surgery, and top receiver Keenan Allen.

Sunday marked the first time the Texans (0-3-1) had scored in the fourth quarter this season after entering the game having been outscored 30-0 in the final period. But it wasn’t enough to dig them out of the early hole as they remained winless in coach Lovie Smith’s first season.

Davis Mills threw for 246 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions, getting going after halftime after failing to move the offense effectively in the first half. A bright spot for the Texans was the continued strong play of rookie Dameon Pierce, who had 131 yards rushing, highlighted by a 75-yard scoring run in the second quarter.

Herbert topped 300 yards passing for the 19th time, tying the record for such games in a player’s first three seasons. It was his seventh straight 300-plus-yard game on the road.

The Chargers led by 20 at halftime. Mills threw an 8-yard touchdown pass to Rex Burkhead to get Houston within 27-14 late in the third quarter.

Mills found Nico Collins for a 58-yard reception on Houston’s next drive and threw an 18-yard touchdown pass to Brandin Cooks on the next play to cut the lead to 27-21.

Jalen Reeves-Maybin forced a fumble by DeAndre Carter on the ensuing kickoff and M.J. Stewart recovered to give Houston the ball back at the 16.

Mills was sacked and fumbled on second down, but the Texans recovered the ball. They settled for a 40-yard field goal that got them within 27-24.

Things went wrong for Houston immediately when Nasir Adderley intercepted Mills on the third play of the game and returned it 30 yards.

Herbert then connected with Gerald Everett on an 18-yard TD.

The Texans had a chance to cut the lead late in the first quarter, but Ka’imi Fairbairn’s 46-yard field goal attempt sailed wide left.

Ekeler made it 14-0 when he scored his first touchdown of the season on a 10-yard run early in the second quarter.

His second touchdown came when he scampered 20 yards on the next drive to extend the lead to 21-0 three minutes later. That score was set up Mike Williams, who had 120 yards receiving, grabbed a 50-yard reception a play before.

Pierce dashed 75 yards for a touchdown on the first play of Houston’s next drive. It was the third-longest run in franchise history and the longest run by a rookie since Miami’s Kalen Ballage also had a 75-yard run in 2018.

INJURIES

Houston LB Blake Cashman left the game in the first half with a head injury.

METCHIE’S CATCH

Houston rookie receiver John Metchie III, who was diagnosed with leukemia this summer, was on the sideline Sunday as the league promoted cancer awareness with its “Crucial Catch” campaign to encourage early detection and risk reduction.

A video was shown on the stadium’s big screens at the end of the first quarter showing Metchie hosting other people fighting cancer at the stadium this week.

Metchie was diagnosed with acute promyelocytic leukemia. The second-round pick from Alabama is taking time off from football to focus on his health and recovery.

He received a big ovation from the crowd when he waved to fans as he was shown on the big screens wearing a hoodie that said “Intercept Cancer.”

UP NEXT

Chargers: At Cleveland next Sunday.

Texans: At Jacksonville next Sunday.

Trevor Lawrence and the Jacksonville Jaguars not only snapped an 18-game road losing streak, they made a statement with a dominant second half that showed they might be shedding their tag as one of the league’s worst franchises.

Lawrence threw for 262 yards and three touchdowns Sunday in a 38-10 blowout of ailing Justin Herbert and the Los Angeles Chargers.

The 28-point win was Jacksonville’s largest on the road since a 33-3 rout of Minnesota in 2001, when Lawrence was 2 years old.

“I think the way we played you can’t deny that we’re that we’re a really good team. But at the end of the day it doesn’t really matter what it says about us. We know who we are,” said Lawrence, who completed 28 of 39 passes. “We played a complete game and to stack two weeks is big for us.”

James Robinson rushed for 100 yards, including a 50-yard touchdown in the third quarter that proved to be the knockout punch. It was the first of three straight scoring drives by the Jaguars (2-1).

Jacksonville’s road skid was tied for the eighth-longest in league history. The Jags won in the Pacific time zone for the fourth time in 19 trips and beat the Bolts on the road for the first time in six tries.

“It’s everything for this team, and that’s exactly what the guys who have been here a while are talking about,” coach Doug Pederson said. “It’s good to get a road win and to travel across the country like this. Hopefully it’s the start of things to come.”

Riley Patterson kicked three field goals as the Jaguars went over the 30-point mark for the first time since Week 2 of the 2020 season. It also marks the first time since December of 2000 they have won consecutive games by at least 20 points.

Herbert started after being listed as questionable all week with a rib injury. The third-year quarterback passed for 297 yards but turned it over twice, finishing 25 of 45 with a touchdown.

“We just didn’t move the ball as well as we would have liked. Failed to convert on some third downs, didn’t get the ball moving in the first half and just had to play catch-up,” Herbert said.

Besides Herbert being at less than full strength, the Chargers were missing center Corey Linsley, receiver Keenan Allen and cornerback JC Jackson. Two additional starters — linebacker Joey Bosa and offensive tackle Rashawn Slater — were injured during the game.

The Chargers (1-2) had the ball for only 22 minutes and were held to 29 rushing yards.

“Our number one thing is stop the run. That’s what we did today. When we stop the run, we can have fun, so that’s all we did,” Jaguars defensive lineman Dawuane Smoot said.

The Jaguars led 16-10 early in the third quarter and dominated from there. Robinson’s run off left tackle on fourth-and-1 from midfield began the onslaught. It was the longest TD run of Robinson’s career and his second-longest carry overall.

“That really took the air out of us. We played over 40 plays in the first half and I felt that in the second half, I felt like we didn’t have that same energy,” Chargers coach Brandon Staley said. “We didn’t affect the quarterback today. That also had a big impact on the game.”

After the Chargers went three-and-out, Lawrence directed a 14-play, 60-yard drive that took 8:27 off the clock and was capped by a 4-yard pass to Christian Kirk. Evan Engram scored the 2-point conversion to make it 31-10 with 1:15 remaining in the third quarter.

Lawrence completed his second three-TD game in the NFL with an 11-yard connection to Marvin Jones midway through the fourth quarter.

Jacksonville jumped out to a 13-0 lead in the second quarter with 10 points coming off Chargers turnovers. After Devin Lloyd picked off Herbert’s pass on a deflection and returned it 10 yards to the LA 5-yard line, Jacksonville extended its lead to 6-0 on Patterson’s 23-yarder.

The Jaguars found the end zone on their next possession. Five plays after Foyesade Oluokun recovered a fumble by Herbert at the LA 28, Lawrence rolled left and found Zay Jones in the back of the end zone from 14 yards out.

GREAT COMPANY

Lawrence lost his first nine road starts since being the top overall pick in the 2021 draft. Hall of Famer Peyton Manning also lost his first nine road starts before winning in Week 3 of his second season (1999), 27-10 at the San Diego Chargers.

“That’s pretty cool. That’s interesting,” Lawrence said. “To have a win on the road like this is awesome.”

RARE HIGHLIGHT

Herbert reached 900 completions and 10,000 passing yards. He is the fastest in league history to hit the completion milestone.

INJURIES

Chargers: Bosa suffered a groin injury during the first quarter and did not return. … Slater (bicep) went out in the second half. … WR Jalen Guyton suffered a knee injury in the second half.

UP NEXT

Jaguars: At Philadelphia (3-0) next Sunday. Pederson coached the Eagles for five seasons and led them to a Super Bowl title in 2017.

Chargers: At Houston (0-2-1) next Sunday.

Quarterback Justin Herbert was mainly a bystander Wednesday as the Los Angeles Chargers went through their first practice in preparation for Sunday’s game against the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Herbert did some handoffs to running backs but did not do any throwing during the portion of practice open to the media. Herbert suffered fractured rib cartilage after taking a hit during the fourth quarter of Thursday night’s 27-24 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs.

Coach Brandon Staley said Herbert did some light throwing Tuesday but the third-year quarterback’s status remains day-to-day. Herbert was one of three players listed as a limited participant on the team’s practice report.

“He’s had a lot of rest since the last game, but I think the nature of the week is truly going to be a case-by-case, day-by-day basis,” Staley said. “We’re just going to see where his comfort level is, and truly trust him and let him be the guide of where we’re at, and make sure that we are prepared either way.”

Herbert missed only one play after taking a hard hit from Kansas City defensive lineman Michael Danna on a 12-yard completion to Gerald Everett with five minutes to go. He led the Chargers (1-1) on a nine-play, 73-yard touchdown drive the series after he was injured.

Herbert will wear a rib protector but could also receive an injection to deal with the pain. It did not go well the last time that happened to a Chargers quarterback.

In 2020, Tyrod Taylor suffered a rib injury during the Chargers’ opening win in Cincinnati. A team doctor then punctured Taylor’s lung while giving him a pain-killing injection before a game against Kansas City. Taylor went to the hospital, and Herbert found out he was getting his first NFL start less than a minute before kickoff.

Taylor did not file a grievance through the NFL Players Association but sued team doctor David Gazzaniga for medical malpractice. The lawsuit, which seeks at least $5 million in damages, was filed in Los Angeles County Superior Court in May 2021. A trial was scheduled to begin in November but has been moved to next June.

Herbert has made 34 consecutive regular-season starts, seventh among active quarterbacks.

“I think that we have full alignment with Justin, his family, his agents, and the medical professionals. That’s what we’re going to try and do, have alignment that way and trust the process, and, hopefully, get him well soon,” Staley said.

Chase Daniel would be in line to start if Herbert could not go. The 13-year veteran has six career starts, most recently in 2019 for the Chicago Bears.

“My approach (to practice or preparation during the week) never changes regardless of what happens. I think that is what has suited me so well,” Daniel said.

Easton Stick is the third-string QB but has taken only two regular-season snaps in three-plus seasons.

Herbert isn’t the only offensive starter dealing with an injury. Center Corey Linsley (knee) did not practice, while wide receiver Keenan Allen (hamstring) and right offensive tackle Trey Pipkins (foot) were limited.

Starting cornerback J.C. Jackson (knee) also did not practice, and backup tight end Donald Parham (hamstring) was listed as limited.

The Jaguars (1-1) were the first team Herbert beat as a starting QB. He threw for 347 yards and three touchdowns along with rushing for 66 yards and a score as the Chargers won the 2020 matchup 39-29 to snap a four-game losing streak.

Los Angeles Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert is day-to-day after suffering a fracture to his rib cartilage in Thursday’s 27-24 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs, head coach Brandon Staley announced Friday, according to ESPN’s Lindsey Thiry.

Herbert sustained the ailment late in the fourth quarter after taking a hit from Mike Danna. He was able to return to the game after missing one snap, but he was visibly in pain. The superstar passer finished the night with 334 yards and three touchdowns against one interception.

The 24-year-old was taken for X-rays after the game and was seen with his left arm tight to his side. His X-rays were negative, according to NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo.

“We got good news in terms of what the CT scan expressed. I think that is good news,” Staley said Friday, according to USA Today’s Tyler Dragon. “Playing quarterback, you don’t want it to be a fracture to the bones. The fact that it’s cartilage is a good sign.”

Herbert, the 2020 Offensive Rookie of the Year, is off to a hot start to the 2022 season after completing 76% of his passes for 279 yards and three touchdowns in a Week 1 victory over the Las Vegas Raiders.

The 1-1 Chargers host the Jacksonville Jaguars on Sunday, Sept. 25.

Patrick Mahomes threw two touchdown passes, rookie Jaylen Watson returned an interception 99 yards for the go-ahead fourth-quarter score, and the Kansas City Chiefs held on to beat the Los Angeles Chargers 27-24 on Thursday night.

Mahomes finished with 235 yards passing, and Jerick McKinnon and Justin Watson hauled in the TD passes for the Chiefs (2-0), who fell behind 10-0 in the first quarter and spent most of the game playing catch-up.

Jaylen Watson finally put the Chiefs ahead after the Chargers (1-1), answering Matt Ammendola’s tying field goal, marched to the Kansas City 3. Justin Herbert was eyeing tight end Gerald Everett when Watson, a seventh-round pick making his first start, stepped in front of the pass with 10:29 to go and ran nearly untouched the other way to the end zone.

Things became worse for the Chargers (1-1) two series later when Herbert was drilled by Mike Danna delivering a throw. He left the field clutching his side, returned one play later, then threw an incompletion that forced the Chargers to punt.

Clyde Edwards-Helaire promptly split the defense on a 52-yard run to set up a field goal for Kansas City.

Herbert, who finished with 334 yards and three touchdown passes, gamely tried to keep the Chargers alive. He threw a 36-yard dart on fourth down to extend their ensuing possession, then found Joshua Palmer in the back of the end zone on fourth-and-goal to pull Los Angeles within 27-24 with just over a minute to go.

Kansas City recovered the onside kick and ran out the clock on a crucial AFC West win.

The highly anticipated showdown between two of the league’s prolific young quarterbacks, each surrounded by premier playmakers, turned out early on to be a defensive slugfest.

The Chargers held the Chiefs to 13 yards in the first quarter, thanks to relentless pressure from Joey Bosa and Khalil Mack and the fact that Derwin James Jr. was just about everywhere, and kept a team that scored 44 points last week in Arizona off the scoreboard until Mahomes slung a sidearm pass to McKinnon early in the second quarter.

The Chargers fared better offensively, even though go-for-broke coach Brandon Staley opted to play conservatively, twice punting on fourth-and-2 near midfield. Dustin Hopkins kicked an early field goal before Mike Williams, dominating smaller Chiefs defensive backs, put the Chargers in position for Zander Horvath to catch a short TD pass.

Staley finally went for it on fourth down on the opening drive of the second half. And one play after Austin Ekeler picked it up, Williams made a one-handed grab around Chiefs cornerback L’Jarius Sneed to give the Chargers a 17-7 lead.

The game appeared to be getting away from the Chiefs when Mahomes was intercepted by Asante Samuel Jr. on their next possession. But replays showed Samuel didn’t control the ball and the call was overturned, and Mahomes capitalized on his second chance by throwing a 41-yard strike to Justin Watson for a touchdown.

The Chiefs tied it 17-all on the first play of the fourth quarter when Ammendola, who was signed earlier this week to replace the injured Harrison Butker, knocked through a chip shot on fourth down at the goal line.

That set up Jaylen Watson’s pick-6 and the first lead that Kansas City had all night.

PRIME TIME

The game was the first in the $13 billion, 11-year deal between the NFL and Amazon Prime to exclusively stream Thursday night games. Amazon founder Jeff Bezos joined NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell on the sideline before kickoff.

INJURIES

Chargers C Corey Linsley (knee) and RT Trey Pipkins III (ankle) left in the third quarter. … Chiefs WR Mecole Hardman hurt his ankle in the third quarter but returned to the game. Danna left in the fourth quarter with a calf injury.

UP NEXT

The Chargers return home to face Jacksonville on Sept. 25. The Chiefs visit Indianapolis the same day.

Los Angeles Chargers wide receiver Keenan Allen suffered a hamstring injury in Sunday’s win against the Las Vegas Raiders.

Allen sustained the injury in the first half while making a cut and was unable to return.

The Chargers are set to play the Kansas City Chiefs on Thursday in Week 2.

The 30-year-old was leading L.A. with four catches for 66 yards before exiting.

With Allen out, veteran wideout Mike Williams will be the focal point of the Chargers’ passing attack. DeAndre Carter and Joshua Palmer should take on expanded roles.

Justin Herbert threw for 279 yards and three touchdowns, Khalil Mack had three sacks in his Chargers debut and Los Angeles defeated Las Vegas 24-19 on Sunday, spoiling Josh McDaniels’ first game as the Raiders’ coach.

The game was a rematch of last season’s finale, which Las Vegas won on a field goal in the final seconds of overtime to knock the Chargers out of a playoff spot.

Herbert completed 26 of 34 passes and had a 129.4 passer rating despite Keenan Allen leaving with a hamstring injury in the first half and Mike Williams not having a catch until the fourth quarter.

Derek Carr was 22 of 37 for 295 yards and two touchdowns but was picked off three times. He connected 10 times with former Fresno State teammate Davante Adams, who was acquired from Green Bay in the offseason. Adams had 141 receiving yards, including a 2-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter.

All three of Herbert’s TDs went to players added during the offseason. Fullback Zander Horvath, a seventh-round pick, and DeAndre Carter scored in the second quarter to give the Chargers a 17-3 lead at halftime.

Gerald Everett had an 18-yard TD reception midway through the third quarter where he dragged Raiders safety Roderic Teamer the final 3 yards into the end zone to make it 24-10.

Carter and Everett each had three catches. Carter had 64 yards and Everett 54.

Los Angeles has won its last four openers.

The Chargers’ defense also benefited from its new additions. Besides Mack’s standout performance, Bryce Callahan jumped a route on a ball intended for Darren Waller for an interception in the fourth quarter.

It was the second time in his nine-year career Carr was picked off three times and the first since the 2018 opener against the Los Angeles Rams.

TARGETED EARLY

Adams was targeted five times on the Raiders’ opening drive and had three receptions for 54 yards. According to Sportradar, he is the third player since at least 2009 to be targeted at least five times on the opening drive of the season.

The drive ended with Daniel Carlson’s 23-yard field goal to tie it at 3.

INJURIES

Raiders: CB Anthony Averett suffered a thumb injury in the first half and did not return. … S Tre’von Moehrig (hip) was injured in the third quarter and did not return. Bolden (hamstring) and WR DJ Turner (ankle) suffered second-half injuries.

Chargers: Allen had four receptions for 66 yards before his injury. He had a 42-yard catch on the second-quarter drive that ended with Horvath’s 1-yard TD catch that gave the Chargers a 7-3 lead.

UP NEXT

Raiders: Host the Chicago Bears next Sunday.

Chargers: At Kansas City on Thursday night.

The Los Angeles Chargers are signing veteran running back Sony Michel, the team announced Wednesday.

Michel, who reportedly visited the Chargers on Wednesday, lands in Los Angeles after a short stay with the Miami Dolphins. Miami signed the former first-round running back in May but cut him earlier this week.

The 27-year-old made seven starts for the Los Angeles Rams last season and rushed for 845 yards on 208 carries. He spent the first three years of his career with the New England Patriots where he tallied two seasons with 900-plus yards on the ground.

Michel will slot in a Chargers running back group that’s fronted by Austin Ekeler. Los Angeles also used a fourth-round pick on rookie rusher Isaiah Spiller, who was nursing an ankle injury before returning to practice Tuesday. Third-year pro Joshua Kelley and Larry Rountree III round out the team’s backfield.

Los Angeles Chargers cornerback J.C. Jackson underwent ankle surgery and will miss approximately two-to-four weeks, the team announced Tuesday.

Jackson signed a five-year, $82.5-million contract with the Chargers this offseason.

The 26-year-old went undrafted in 2018 but managed to earn a roster spot with the New England Patriots, where he spent the first four seasons of his pro career.

Noted for his ability to snag interceptions, Jackson worked his way into New England’s defensive back rotation and tallied 25 picks. He racked up 58 tackles, 23 passes defended, and eight interceptions in 2021 to earn his first Pro Bowl nod.

Jackson was among the notable acquisitions on defense, which also include Khalil Mack and Kyle Van Noy. He is projected to start at cornerback alongside Asante Samuel Jr. Los Angeles’ depth chart at the position also features Michael DavisTevaughn Campbell, and Bryce Callahan.

The Los Angeles Chargers and star safety Derwin James agreed to a record four-year extension worth $76.4 million, a source told ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

The reported deal will make James the highest-paid safety in the NFL with an annual average salary of $19.13 million. He will also receive $42 million guaranteed and $29 million in the first year of the contract, both records at his position, sources told NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport.

The Chargers announced Wednesday that they had signed James to a multi-year contract.

James was set to earn $9 million this season in the final year of his rookie deal. Pittsburgh Steelers standout Minkah Fitzpatrick previously topped the safety market with a salary of $18.25 million.

The 26-year-old has been staging a “hold-in” while looking for an extension, participating only in walk-through sessions and sitting out padded practices at training camp.

Chargers head coach Brandon Staley said Tuesday he wasn’t concerned about James getting up to speed for the start of the season.

“I don’t worry about Derwin,” Staley said, according to Elliott Teaford of the Los Angeles Daily News. “Derwin has given us no reason to worry. It would be one thing if he wasn’t here, but we see him every day.

“He’s in the best shape of his life. This is the first time in a while he’s had a full offseason with nothing to prohibit him from training. He feels great, so that gives us a lot of confidence.”

The 17th overall pick in the 2018 draft starred as a rookie, earning first-team All-Pro and Pro Bowl honors before struggling with injuries over the next two seasons. He missed 11 games in 2019 due to a foot injury and all of the 2020 campaign because of a knee injury.

But James bounced back last year. He racked up 117 tackles, two interceptions, three forced fumbles, and two sacks in 15 appearances to earn his second first-team All-Pro nomination.