Chargers takeaways: Playoffs inside attain after win over Arizona

The Chargers scored a landing and two-point conversion within the closing 20 seconds Sunday to defeat Arizona 25-24 at State Farm Stadium.

The fourth-quarter comeback was the tenth of quarterback Justin Herbert’s profession and the game-winning drive his twelfth.

At 6-5, the Chargers are ninth within the AFC. They have the identical file at as New England and path Cincinnati and the New York Jets by a sport. They play Sunday at 4-7 Las Vegas, a 40-34 winner in additional time Sunday in Seattle.

A couple of observations from the Chargers’ last-gasp win:

One of many final to know: As dramatic as his closing landing was, operating again Austin Ekeler didn’t even understand he had reached the top zone till he appeared up on the scoreboard because the Chargers have been huddling with 15 seconds to go.

Ekeler initially concluded that the officers had dominated him quick and the Chargers have been about to line as much as take one other shot.

“I thought we were still trying to score a touchdown,” he admitted later. “I was like, ‘OK, boys, we gotta score. Come on.’ ”

Ekeler managed to hit the entrance pylon with the ball as he was being dragged down by Cardinals’ linebacker Isaiah Simmons. The closest official, nonetheless, didn’t make an preliminary sign.

Do-all Derwin does it once more: Security Derwin James Jr. brought on the sport’s solely two turnovers, forcing James Conner to fumble within the first quarter and intercepting a move thrown by Kyler Murray within the second.

The Chargers did not capitalize on the fumble, which was recovered by Sebastian Joseph-Day, however turned the interception right into a landing as they got here again from a 10-0 deficit to take a 14-10 lead.

Chargers security Derwin James Jr. (3) intercepts a ball supposed for Arizona Cardinals vast receiver Pharoh Cooper.

(Rick Scuteri / Related Press)

“I thought Derwin James was fantastic in the game,” coach Brandon Staley mentioned. “[He’s] just our heart and soul on defense.”

James finished with eight tackles, third on the team behind Alohi Gilman (10, a career best) and Drue Tranquill (nine). Gilman started in place of the injured safety Nasir Adderley (thumb).

Staley also praised the play of cornerback Michael Davis, who finished with six tackles, two passes knocked away and his first career sack — in his 84th NFL game.

Davis was listed as questionable Friday because of a knee injury.

Run ‘D’ run down again: Defensively, the Chargers did have some struggles. They surrendered 181 rushing yards and an average of 5.3 yards per attempt. Arizona also converted seven of its first 10 third downs.

Conner finished with 120 yards in 25 attempts and Murray had 56 in seven rushes. The Cardinals had three running plays that gained at least 18 yards each.

“Didn’t do a good enough job on the quarterback,” Staley said. “That was disappointing.”

Staley also wasn’t pleased with two failures in the red zone, the Chargers giving up a five-yard touchdown run to Murray 12 seconds before halftime and a six-yard scoring pass from Murray to Conner early in the fourth quarter.

“We’re a better unit than that,” Staley said.

The Chargers are 29th against the run and 26th on third down for the season.

The defense did rise up when it really mattered, holding Arizona scoreless on its final four possessions.

Especially special teams: The Chargers’ improved special teams play in 2022 continued with a few key moments late.

Punter JK Scott pinned Arizona at its 10-yard line with 2:19 remaining. The Cardinals used only 31 seconds on three plays and punted the ball back.

That punt was the one that resulted in DeAndre Carter’s season-best 20-yard return, setting up the offense for its game-winning drive.

The Chargers' DeAndre Carter (1) runs for a touchdown as Arizona's Isaiah Simmons (9) pursues.

The Chargers’ DeAndre Carter (1) runs for a landing as Arizona’s Isaiah Simmons (9) pursues. Carter had profession highs in catches and yards receiving, and arrange the deciding landing with a season-long 20-yard punt return.

(Rick Scuteri / Related Press)

Then, after scoring, Cameron Dicker executed what Staley referred to as a “mortar kick,” booting the ball to the Arizona 13 and forcing Pharoh Cooper to return it. The play took 4 seconds, leaving the Cardinals’ offense with solely 11 seconds.

Working on close to empty: The Chargers’ incapability to maintain a operating assault will apparently be a season-long story line. They completed with 65 yards in solely 13 makes an attempt.

Herbert was simply their best runner, totaling 38 yards in 4 carries. Their three operating backs mixed for 27 yards in 9 makes an attempt. The Chargers rank thirtieth within the league, averaging 85.8 dashing yards per sport.

Having suffered fractured rib cartilage in Week 2, Herbert’s mobility had been impacted till the previous few video games. He was a keen runner Sunday and rushed for 23 yards on one play and 15 on one other scramble.

These two positive aspects have been the Chargers’ longest on the bottom for the sport.

In his personal phrases: “It’s wild. We can’t put a finger on why it’s happening. Finally, we took advantage and made enough plays to move the dang ball down there and get it in the end zone.” — Ekeler on the Chargers’ second-half scoring points.