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Chargers Steal Road Victory With Game-Winning Field Goal

The Los Angeles Chargers snapped their two-game losing streak Sunday afternoon after defeating the Philadelphia Eagles 27-24 at Lincoln Financial Field. A 29-yard, game-winning field goal from kicker Dustin Hopkins decided the outcome in a close contest that saw six lead changes and three ties.

Quarterback Justin Herbert turned in a near-perfect game, finishing 32-for-38 passing for 356 yards and two touchdowns. He also had a crucial touchdown run from eight yards out early in the fourth quarter. Whenever the Bolts needed a big play in this game, they leaned on their sophomore signal-caller and Herbert delivered. Seeing this production is a welcome sight for Chargers fans who have watched their franchise quarterback struggle in his last two outings.

Herbert needed a bounce-back game after posting two of the worst performances of his young career. Against the Baltimore Ravens and the New England Patriots, Herbert posted a combined QBR of 16, the worst mark in the NFL during that span. His three touchdowns and three interceptions were also extremely uncharacteristic. The former first-round pick had a 13-3 touchdown to interception ratio through the first five weeks.

Against the Eagles, Herbert practically matched his output from the prior two weeks combined. His first pass of the day went way over the head of his intended receiver, but he quickly gathered himself. He went on to toss strike after strike, delivering well-timed and catchable balls to his pass-catchers. After two abysmal showings, Herbert was easily the best player on the field and was a true difference-maker against the Eagles.

Speaking of difference-makers, receiver Keenan Allen also had himself a day. Utilizing his silky-smooth route running ability, Allen torched the Eagles defense for 104 yards and 12 receptions. His longest gain only went for 18 yards, but Herbert kept coming back to KA13, continually taking the yards presented to them. The Philadelphia defense allows the highest completion rate in the league but is absolutely elite when it comes to yards per catch. By design, this defense gives up a lot of catches but is very good at rallying to the football and limiting yards after the catch. Allen was unable to break off a huge play but silently killed the Eagles, averaging 8.7 yards per touch and finishing with his third game of the year with 100+ receiving yards.

Allen finished with a game-high 13 targets while Mike Williams finished second on the team in targets with five. Williams was mostly bottled up but did add two catches for 58 yards, including a 49-yard highlight-worthy bomb from Herbert. With his defender draped all over him, Mike Dub put his body on the line and completely laid out to secure the ball. The Chargers top two receivers dominated the target share but Herbert also showed a lot of love for his tight ends in this game.

As a unit, the Los Angeles tight end group combined to catch all 11 targets sent their way for 126 yards and two touchdowns. 13-year veteran Jared Cook tallied four catches for 48 yards and although he didn’t have a touchdown, he did catch a crucial two-point conversion that erased a missed extra point attempt from Hopkins. Former XFL product Donald Parham added three catches for 39 yards and a very impressive touchdown catch. Herbert hit Parham in the flats who quickly turned upfield, shrugged off a would-be tackler, and waltzed into the endzone. Typically used for his blocking prowess, Stephen Anderson proved that he can also make an impact in the passing game. Anderson totaled four catches for 39 yards, recording the first touchdown of his Chargers career in the first quarter.

While the Chargers offense centered around Herbert and the passing game, the Eagles offense relied almost completely on their rushing attack. Los Angeles entered the weekend with the NFL’s worst rush defense and on Sunday they continued to get beaten up on the ground. The Eagles gashed the Bolts for 176 rushing yards and two scores as they averaged 4.5 yards per carry. Running back Jordan Howard led the way with 71 yards and a touchdown.

In an attempt to fix the Chargers rush defense woes himself, nose tackle Linval Joseph had a fantastic day. Joseph totaled a season-high nine tackles, including eight solo stops, and appeared unblockable at times. He continuously beat his man off the line and created tremendous pressure from the interior. When he couldn’t make the play, Joseph did a great job of clogging run lanes and allowing his teammates to clean up the rest. Los Angeles still has not figured out a surefire way to slow down opposing run attacks, but Joseph is sure to be an important part of that game plan moving forward.

A big matchup to monitor coming into this game was the banged-up Chargers secondary versus the speedy receiving corp of the Eagles. The Bolts played without starting cornerbacks Michael Davis and Asante Samuel Jr. while backup safety Alohi Gilman, who has logged serious snaps the past few weeks, also sat out due to injury. The rest of the Los Angeles secondary, led by Chris Harris Jr. and Tevaughn Campbell, played valiantly and held the Eagles to just 155 yards passing.

While that number may sound impressive, it is a bit misleading. One of the biggest reasons that number is so low is because the Eagles did not NEED to throw in this game. They were able to churn out chunk plays running the ball whenever they needed. When forced into 3rd-and-long situations, the Eagles fared extremely well and were able to efficiently pass the football when necessary. Overall, Philadelphia went 8-for-12 with a 66.7 percent third-down conversion rate. Quarterback Jalen Hurts only attempted 17 passes during the entire game. Still, he completed 11 of those passes and a majority of those went for first downs. Rookie receiver DeVonta Smith was Hurts’ favorite target as the former Alabama teammates connected for five catches, 116 yards, and a 28-yard touchdown.

Although far from a perfect performance, the Chargers got it done in crunch time and moved back into the win column. The result against the Eagles combined with a Las Vegas Raiders loss this week, moves the Bolts back into the top spot in the AFC West standings. Los Angeles will look to build off its most recent win as they return home to SoFi Stadium next week for a matchup against the Minnesota Vikings. 

Los Angeles Chargers Donald Parham. Photo Credit: Mike Nowak | Los Angeles Chargers

Los Angeles Chargers Donald Parham. Photo Credit: Mike Nowak | Los Angeles Chargers

Zac Alfers

Author Zac Alfers

What’s up! I’m Zac Alfers, a passionate multimedia journalist who will be covering the LA Chargers. I’ve been working in sports for the past six seasons and I am absolutely thrilled to be joining the LAFB Network. I was born in San Diego and have been a diehard Bolts fan since day one, as well as a proud San Diego Padres fan. In 2007, I moved to the Bay Area and fell in love with the “We Believe” Warriors. Golden State is now my NBA team. I also closely follow the Oakland Athletics, the San Jose Sharks, and I am a huge fan of the UFC.

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