The final few drives went just about as expected in a game featuring the Los Angeles Chargers and the Atlanta Falcons. The final four drives ended as follows: Matt Ryan interception, Justin Herbert interception, Ryan interception and Michael Badgley 43-yard field goal. The kick was enough to give the Chargers the 20-17 Week 14 victory.
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Story of the Game
The Falcons’ offense started off strong, punting the ball on its opening drive and then not again for the rest of the first half. Without star wide receiver Julio Jones, Calvin Ridley stepped up in a big way. The second-year stud caught eight of his 11 targets for 124 yards. Ridley’s touchdown reception came on a trick play where fellow wide receiver Russell Gage connected with him for the 39-yard score. The former Alabama product averaged 3.65 yards per route run against the Chargers' secondary — his second-highest mark of the season.
On the other sideline, Justin Herbert secured his third NFL win. He managed to bounce back after being shut out against the Patriots in Week 13. The rookie signal-caller outdueled Ryan and completed nine passes of 10-plus yards to Ryan’s seven. Herbert was able to hit the big plays, and the Oregon product flashed more precision than he ever has in his young NFL career, posting his highest completion percentage in a game (81.8%).
Herbert’s top two targets were Keenan Allen and Austin Ekeler, each of whom caught nine passes on the day. Ekeler added 79 yards on the ground to his 67 yards through the air. The Chargers' featured back produced seven plays of 10-plus yards.
Cornerback Michael Davis was the savior for the Chargers following the lone Herbert interception late in the fourth. He picked off Ryan with 36 seconds left to set up the game-winning Badgley field goal. Rayshawn Jenkins and Jahleel Addae also intercepted Ryan in the contest.
The two first-round picks for the Chargers and the Falcons, A.J. Terrell and Kenneth Murray played the most snaps among rookie defenders. Terrell led the Falcons in tackles (14), and Murray recorded four himself. Linebacker Mykal Walker played only 16 snaps but recorded a tackle for loss or no gain.
On the offensive end, Herbert connected with fellow rookie K.J. Hill once for a 4-yard gain. Herbert finished with 243 yards through the air — his 10th outing with 240-plus passing yards season.
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