Top Plays: No. 3-1
3. Rivers hits Travis Benjamin on 4th down
Why was Rivers an MVP favorite after this game? For plays just like that: Great throw in a critical situation. Not only is this probably the best throw from Rivers all season, but it’s the reception that gave the Chargers a chance to win the AFC West.
Why Rivers decides to throw into a ridiculously tight window to a receiver notorious for doing not much well when Hall of Fame tight end Antonio Gates is wide open half a second later on the left side is beyond me. Who cares?
Considering how the clock wound down, the much deeper pass to Benjamin here over the shorter but safer option in Gates may have actually preserved time for the Chargers to get their eventual touchdown. Down28-21, Rivers makes the most impressive throw of the year in the biggest game the Chargers had played since…well, Pittsburgh two weeks before.
But that takes nothing away from the fact that the entire organization needed its star quarterback to make this play, and in the game of the year, he did.
2. Desmond King sparks the Chargers on Sunday Night Football
Long live the King.
It’s not the game-winning score, and it’s not even the game-tying score. But King’s return with 12:52 left in the fourth quarter gave the Chargers a legitimate shot at winning this game, having been down as much as 16 points earlier in the game.
The play means everything to me, as a fan:
- The Chargers truly had found a punt returner after the previous two (Benjamin, J.J. Jones) had cost them big games before (Benjamin vs Patriots, Jones vs Chiefs).
- King further made himself a hero to the team by cementing himself as a dual-threat player in two phases of football.
- The joy the Chargers fans around me felt was something I hadn’t seen since the Seattle Seahawks upset in 2014.
- My fantasy team got points (always a win).
The former fifth-round selection is currently one of the highest rated players at both cornerback and returner this season and is easily a fan-favorite after less than two seasons with the team.
You’ll rarely get fired from your job if you make yourself important enough, and King has established himself as one of the most versatile (and best) draft picks in the Tom Telesco era.
1. Come on, you know what it is…
— NFL Update (@MySportsUpdate) December 14, 2018
“YOOUUU’RREEE HEEEERREEE…THERE’S NOOOOOOTHHIIIING I FE-…”
It’s the easiest play made on the list, and the simplest decision Rivers had all year. But if you didn’t jump, run, yell, and maybe even cry a bit when you saw Mike Williams make this grab, find another team to root for.
In my opinion, no play over the past six seasons under Telesco has been as important as this one. Chargers aren’t clutch? Nope, you can take that away. Rivers can’t lead his team to a fourth-quarter victory? 29-28 with four seconds left in the game. Can’t beat the Chiefs? Broke a nine-game losing streak, this one on the road.
There’s more than enough said about this game and this moment, and nothing that I can add to one of the best wins I’ve seen in years. The two-point conversion play to Williams is the top play of the season by far, and one that will resonate with this fan base for years to come.
There are my Top 10 Plays of the 2018 season. If I missed any of your favorites, feel free to comment them below and let me know what I skipped over. Have yourselves a wonderful New Year’s celebration, and let’s go cheer on a Chargers Wild Card victory next week. Bolt up!