The Los Angeles Chargers picked up their 10th win of the season on Sunday, but it didn’t come easily.
The Cincinnati Bengals, battered and bruised, were more than a game opponent, pushing the Chargers to the brink at StubHub Center. But wins are wins, and the Chargers got one to keep pace with the division-leading Kansas City Chiefs.
The Chargers opened the scoring a with a 14-yard touchdown pass from Philip Rivers to Keenan Allen. They never trailed in the game, but they were also unable to come up with the combination of plays to sink the Bengals.
Jeff Driskel, playing in place of starting quarterback Andy Dalton, kept the Bengals in the game with some gutsy throws and timely plays. Looking at the game stats, the Bengals had more first downs, more total yards and more time of possession.
The difference in the game was a pair of missed two-point conversions.
After John Ross caught a 6-yard touchdown pass with just seconds before halftime, the Bengals pulled to within 14-12. But Bengals’ coach Marvin Lewis chose to chase the points and went for a two-point conversion. It failed.
Late in the game, the Bengals scored a touchdown on a 1-yard run by Joe Mixon after going on a gritty 11-play, 79-yard drive. They needed the two-point conversion to tie the game at 23 apiece, but it was a terrible attempt and the Chargers got a sack on the play.
Much like the game played in London earlier this season against the Tennessee Titans, the Chargers escaped with a victory due to their opponents missing a crucial two-point attempt.
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The Chargers get to 10-3 on the season and are now set up for their Thursday night showdown against the Chiefs in a game that could easily decide who wins the division. With the New England Patriots and Houston Texans both losing Sunday, there’s even an outside chance the Chargers could still earn home-field advantage. Wouldn’t that be wild?
The Chargers were led by Allen, who caught five passes for 78 yards and a touchdown and Austin Ekeler, getting the start for Melvin Gordon, who had 94 yards of total offense and a touchdown as well.
On another note, Mike Badgley set a new franchise record by kicking a 59-yard field goall as time expired in the first half. He made four field goals on the day and if you were going to name a player of the game, it should easily be Badgley.