He was about to get busy successful a soccer sport, one other soccer sport, his third of this season.
However within the moments instantly prior, Cameron Dicker was simply busy.
Kicking right into a observe web on the Chargers’ sideline, the rookie was so centered on his preparation that he may need been the one particular person in SoFi Stadium who didn’t see the play everybody was speaking about afterward.
With the rating tied within the closing seconds, quarterback Justin Herbert led the Chargers on the decisive drive, one which included a rolling-out 35-yard completion to Mike Williams.
“I just heard people yell,” Dicker defined later. “So I looked over and, ‘Oh, we’re way down there.’ It was a cool thing.”
Cool, like Dicker himself. Two snaps after the Williams reception, Dicker nailed a 43-yard discipline objective with 4 seconds remaining to raise the Chargers to a 17-14 victory.
The winner was Dicker’s second as a Charger and third within the NFL. He had one for Philadelphia in Week 5 earlier than becoming a member of his new crew a month later as an harm alternative.
“A game-changer, for sure,” Williams referred to as Dicker. “A true game-changer.”
With the victory, the Chargers improved to 8-6 and leap-frogged Miami and New England into sixth place within the AFC. They path Baltimore by one sport for the convention’s prime wild-card spot.
Their massive transfer was made potential as a result of the 4 groups closest to the Chargers within the standings all misplaced during the last two days.
“It’s winning time right now,” linebacker Drue Tranquill stated. “We got three games left. We gotta win out. We like where we’re at.”
The victory Sunday was the Chargers’ second in a row over a crew with a successful file, one thing they hadn’t achieved till beating the Dolphins, additionally at residence, in Week 14.
Just like that win, this one was highlighted by a protection that all of the sudden has emerged after a season-long efficiency that might precisely be described as uneven.
The Chargers held the Titans scoreless from early within the second quarter till the sport’s closing minute. They pressured seven punts, stopped Tennessee on eight of 11 third downs and sacked Ryan Tannehill 4 instances, all within the second half.
Bullying operating again Derrick Henry carried 21 instances for 104 yards, however his longest effort went for under 13. The Titans produced simply two performs that gained greater than 18 yards.
Sebastian Joseph-Day and Breiden Fehoko had tackles for loss and Nasir Adderley had an interception. Tranquill completed with a game-high 10 tackles, together with a key fourth-quarter sack.
“Our defense won us the game today,” coach Brandon Staley stated. “They gave us a chance. I’m really proud of the way that group’s coming together.”
Staley’s defenders have been so feisty that they bought after extra than simply the Titans. They bought after each other, too. Tennessee’s second-to-last drive started with an eight-yard run by Henry when miscommunication left an excessive amount of house up entrance. After forcing the Titans to punt, the protection retreated to the sideline to debate the scenario.
“We had a heated exchange … linebackers and D-line were getting after each other a little bit,” Tranquill stated. “But it’s just the competitive greatness in this group. … It’s all love. We’re all brothers. We got the ‘dub.’ That’s all that matters.”
Requested for his model of the occasions, defensive lineman Morgan Fox smiled and stated he and his teammates have been merely sorting by way of the small print, noting the excessive requirements the protection has for itself.
Then he smiled once more and added: “I wouldn’t call it heated. I would call it friendly banter. That wasn’t heated. I’ve been in heated. That wasn’t heated.”
After enjoying so properly for therefore lengthy, the Chargers’ protection wilted on Tennessee’s closing drive. The Titans went 74 yards in 11 performs, scoring the tying factors on a one-yard run by Tannehill and Randy Bullock’s further level with 48 seconds left.
As Tennessee was shifting for the equalizing rating, Staley used all three of his timeouts to protect what clock he may. There have been 44 seconds remaining when his offense took over at its 23-yard line.
To that stage, the afternoon had been largely a wrestle for Herbert, who dedicated two interceptions and, throughout one stretch, led seven consecutive possessions that produced no factors.
Each of the Chargers’ touchdowns got here on the bottom — a one-yard run by Joshua Kelley within the first quarter and a three-yarder by Austin Ekeler within the fourth. The Chargers additionally punted seven instances and completed 4 of 13 on third down.
However Herbert then accomplished three consecutive passes for 57 yards, together with the 35-yard strike to Williams, to convey Dicker’s proper leg into play. Later, Staley would name poise Herbert’s “biggest trait.”
“That’s what you need to be a contender,” Tranquill stated of the crew’s third-year quarterback. “And we certainly have it in him.”
With each crew round them within the standings dropping, the Chargers practically gave away what unfolded as a shocking alternative to grab management of their postseason destiny.
Then Herbert fired deep to Williams, and the Chargers gained a sport that grew to become their seventh in a row determined by one rating.
“Chargers football, man,” Ekeler stated. “It doesn’t always have to be like that, right? We need to convince ourselves of that.”