Chargers Lose Another Crowd and Another Game

Eagles come in to Carson with more fans and leave with a win

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell made the trip to StubHub Center for Sunday’s game between the Chargers and Eagles.

He spent time on the field before the game with Chargers owner Dean Spanos and Eagles owner Jeff Lurie. Goodell also shook hands and signed autographs for fans … most of them wearing Eagles green.

The crowd was once again decidedly pro-visiting team and despite the claim of a sellout (the announced attendance was 25,374) there were several empty seats. It stands to reason that Goodell was in Carson to see for himself just how bad the reception for the Chargers in Los Angeles has been.

What he saw was a stadium full of visiting team’s fans booing so loudly that Carson felt like West Philadelphia and the default home team fans went home happy when the Eagles beat the Chargers 26-24.

The Chargers got the ball first and just like their last home game against the Chiefs the opening drive ended with a Philip Rivers turnover. Rivers was chased down from behind by Chris Long, who stripped the Chargers quarterback of the ball and the Eagles recovered.

Philly marched right down the field and scored on an 8-yard touchdown pass from Carson Wentz to Alshon Jefferey. After that they relied on Mr. 61. In their next three possessions the Eagles got field goals from Josh Elliott of 45, 40, and 53 yards. Those all had to seem like chip shots for Elliott, who won a game a week ago with a 61-yarder.

The Bolts got on the board with just one play. Rivers hit Tyrell Williams right down the middle of the field for a 75-yard touchdown to cut the lead to 13-7. The Bolts also got a short field goal from Younghoe Koo at the end of the first half so the Eagles led 16-10 at the break.

Another Elliott FG made it 19-10 and in the 4th quarter we saw a pretty cool moment. Austin Ekeler, an undrafted rookie running back from tiny Western State in Colorado, took off on a 35-yard touchdown run. It was his first career NFL score and it cut the lead to 19-17.

The momentum was stopped two plays later. Eagles running back LeGarrette Blount took ran roughshod over the Chargers defense, breaking multiple tackles on a 68-yard run to the Bolts 3-yard-line. Blount spent most of his day bouncing off of guys wearing white uniforms but this run coaxed out what was likely the loudest cheer of the day.

The Chargers defense made three straight stops but on 3rd down defensive lineman Darius Philon was called for illegal hands to the face, giving Philly a new set of downs. Finally running back Wendell Smallwood jumped in from the 2-yard-line to extend Philly’s lead to 26-17.

That’s when it started to look like a shootout. Rivers connected with Keenan Allen on a 50-yard catch and run then found tight end Hunter Henry in the back of the end zone. Henry made a tremendous one-handed catch along the line for a 4-yard TD, cutting the lead again to 26-24 with 6:44 to play.

The ensuing possession was borderline perfect for the Eagles. They converted a trio of 3rd downs with running plays and forced the Chargers to use all their time outs, then got into victory formation for the final snaps of the game.

The only team to ever make the playoffs after starting 0-4 was the 1992 San Diego Chargers. In this year’s AFC West a repeat is likely impossible.

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