WIN OR GO HOME!
The Chargers came into the game already knowing that the Kansas City Chiefs won their game and the Chargers had no room for error. The Chargers needed to win the game to extend their season and keep their playoff hopes alive.
The Chargers traveled to Cincinnati to face the Bengals who were looking to spoil the Chargers’ playoff hopes. The Chargers opened up the football game FLAT! The first play of the game for the Chargers was an attempted reverse that was fumbled by Vincent Jackson and pinned the Bolts deep at their own 1 yard line. The Chargers had to punt out of their own end zone with the wind blowing hard against them. The punt only traveled 20 yards and the Bengals were in business.
The Bengals took the short field and Carson Palmer hit Jermaine Gresham for a big gain up the middle. Palmer and Gresham hooked up later in the drive for the touchdown pass up the middle to quickly place the Bengals up 7-0 on the Chargers.
The Chargers gave the Bengals the ball back on a Mike Tolbert fumble. Tolbert was LIT UP on the play and suffered a neck injury, where Tolbert had to be taken off the field on a stretcher. The Bengals were able to convert that possession into a touchdown with a Palmer pass to the corner of the end zone to Jerome Simpson to place the Bengals up 13-0. The extra point was missed.
The Chargers looked like they were going to make a strong push in the second half after a field goal and a Ryan Mathews run for a 23 yard touchdown. The Chargers were as close as 10-13 but were not able to stop the Bengals from putting TDs on the board. The Bengals added a touchdown catch from Jordan Shipley and the game ender was a 59 yard pass to Simpson where Antoine Cason got BURNED and was not ready for the play to start. Bernard Scott then added another score. The Chargers added a garbage TD with a Philip Rivers pass to Kelley Washington. Bengals 34 – Chargers 20.
The Chargers can now put this nightmare season to rest. It was a season of special teams gaffs and fumbles and injuries. With the loss, the Chiefs clinched the AFC West Title and will make the playoffs. The Chargers no longer have an opportunity to make the playoffs this season. It is especially frustrating when the Chargers are in the top 5 in both offense and defense, but could not overcome their mistakes.
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