Chargers’ 2-point conversion stuns Cardinals in thrilling comeback victory
The Los Angeles Chargers didn’t want a tie to send the game to overtime. Head coach Brandon Staley, known for his aggressive nature, went for a two-point conversion after an Austin Ekeler touchdown that led to a thrilling, 25-24 come-from-behind victory over the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday.
It was a punt fest in the fourth quarter until Justin Herbert and the Chargers’ offense found themselves on the Arizona 38-yard line and just under two minutes to play down 24-17. A touchdown was needed to keep the game alive.
Herbert went to work, finding tight end Gerald Everett for a 10-yard gain, then Keenan Allen on a 16-yard play to put the Chargers in the red zone. From there, Herbert found Ekeler, who fell just short of the goal line with 18 seconds left to play. It seemed inevitable that Ekeler was going to get the ball right back, and he did to make it 24-23.
But the Chargers know that playoff implications came on the road this week. They were an even .500 coming into this week and fighting for a wild card with the Kansas City Chiefs pulling away in the AFC West.
So, Staley drew up the two-point conversion instead of sending this one to overtime, and Everett was the man Herbert found in the end zone.
The Cardinals had just 15 seconds to make a miracle happen, but quarterback Kyler Murray, back after dealing with a hamstring injury the past two games, found both of his pass attempts incomplete, and the Chargers stole the victory from Arizona on the road and rejoiced.
Herbert finished the game with three touchdown passes, going 35 for 47 for 274 yards while being sacked four times. And he spread the ball around with seven Chargers having a catch in this one, none more than Ekeler with 11 for 60 yards.
Allen had the first touchdown catch of the game, getting a ball just two yards out to put the Chargers on the board. On the next drive, DeAndre Carter, the team’s leading receiver with 73 yards on seven receptions, went 33 yards to make it 14-10 Los Angeles in the second quarter.
Murray and the Cardinals’ offense were working well throughout this game, but turnovers stymied them in the first half. Despite going into halftime with a 17-10 lead, it could’ve been more if James Conner didn’t fumble on the team’s first drive and Murray didn’t throw an interception that would set up that Carter touchdown for the Chargers.
A missed field goal by Matt Prater would start the second half for Arizona, leading to the Chargers tying it up with Cameron Dicker knocking one in from 26 yards out. However, Murray and the Cardinals would capitalize on an 11-play drive that saw Conner bust into the end zone to make it 24-17.
The end result, though, is something the Cardinals have struggled with all season: they can’t put teams away.
Murray finished with 191 yards on 18 of 29 with two touchdowns and one interception, while rushing for 56 yards on seven carries with a touchdown on the ground, in his return.
Marquise Brown also returned for the Cardinals after coming off the injured reserve and made more of an impact than expected with six catches for 46 yards.
Moving to 6-5 now, the Chargers will face their AFC West rival, Las Vegas Raiders, next Sunday in a crucial road matchup. Meanwhile, the Cardinals, now 4-8, will mull things over during their upcoming bye week.