Michael Davis intercepted a pass in the closing minute and Michael Badgley hit a 43-yard field goal on the final play of the game as the Los Angeles Chargers earned a 20-17 victory Sunday to eliminate the Atlanta Falcons from playoff contention at Inglewood, Calif.
Chargers rookie quarterback Justin Herbert was 36 of 44 for 243 yards and two touchdowns, giving him eight games this season with multiple TD passes. Herbert had just one touchdown pass combined over his previous two games after a run of seven consecutive games with two or more.
Austin Ekeler and Keenan Allen each had nine catches for Los Angeles (4-9), while Ekeler added 79 yards rushing on 15 carries. The Chargers bounced back after an embarrassing 45-0 defeat to the New England Patriots at home last weekend.
Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan was 21 of 32 for 224 yards but was intercepted three times, all in the second half.
Calvin Ridley had eight catches for 124 yards for Atlanta (4-9), while Ito Smith carried the ball 11 times for 42 yards. Todd Gurley, playing in his first game in Los Angeles after he was cut by the Rams, had 19 yards on six carries.
The Chargers turned two of their second-half interceptions into points. Davis intercepted Ryan and returned it to the Chargers’ 41-yard line with 36 seconds remaining. Herbert then drove the team to the Atlanta 25-yard line in the closing seconds to set up Badgley’s game winner.
The Chargers also turned Rayshawn Jenkins’ interception in the third quarter into a 12-yard touchdown pass from Herbert to Tyron Johnson that tied the game 17-17.
The Falcons used the element of surprise to jump on top in the first half.
After the Chargers took a 7-0 first-quarter lead on a Herbert TD pass to Allen, the Falcons answered with their own unconventional TD pass. Wide receiver Russell Gage lined up at quarterback and fired a perfect 39-yard scoring strike to Ridley down the middle of the field to tie the game 7-7 in the opening quarter.
After the teams traded field goals in the second quarter, the Falcons took a 17-10 lead into the half on Ryan’s 9-yard TD pass to Laquon Treadwell with just under five minutes remaining before the break.
–Field Level Media