In recent years, the Los Angeles Chargers and Atlanta Falcons have both struggled to finish games and come out on top in high-leverage situations. So, Austin Ekeler’s fumble in field goal range with less than a minute to go, closely followed by a TaQuon Graham fumble on the return, was a fitting sequence for the two franchises.
Justin Herbert erased the yardage lost on the fumble with a 22-yard completion to Josh Palmer, and Cameron Dicker converted his 37-yard field goal attempt as time expired to secure a 20-17 victory that sent Los Angeles to 5-3 on the season.
Offensive spotlight: The Falcons came into this game with a clear advantage over the Chargers' run defense, and they pressed that advantage. Atlanta ran on 55% of their offensive snaps and averaged 6.7 yards per run play. That was over a yard higher than Los Angeles’ league-worst 5.6 yards allowed per run play entering the week.
Cordarrelle Patterson led the way in attempts with 13 carries for 44 yards and two touchdowns, but there were four different players who carried the ball at least five times for Atlanta — Patterson, Tyler Allgeier, Caleb Huntley and Marcus Mariota. The Falcons’ 34% conversion rate was their highest of the season.
Defensive spotlight: Pass rush remains a problem for the Falcons, who were credited with pressure on just five of Herbert’s 45 dropbacks today. Part of that can be attributed to all the quick game the Chargers run on offense, but it’s not as if generating pressure is a new issue for Atlanta. Their 22% pressure rate entering the week ranked 31st in the NFL, ahead of only the Chicago Bears, and Atlanta ranked last in the league in pressure rate across the 2020 and 2021 seasons.
Grady Jarrett led the defense with six pass-rush wins today, but at some point, Atlanta is going to have to find some long-term pieces around him.
Rookie spotlight: Patterson’s return from injury coincided with Allgeier’s most productive game of the season in his first year out of BYU. He carried the ball 10 times for 99 yards — including a 44-yard run early — and caught his lone target for 24 yards. Today, 67 of Allgeier’s 99 rushing yards came after contact.
It was also another solid showing for Jamaree Salyer, Los Angeles’ fill-in at left tackle for Rashawn Slater. Salyer was charged with just two quarterback hurries in 45 pass-blocking snaps in a matchup against one of the weaker edge rushes in the NFL.
Offensive line spotlight: The two starters on the right side of Atlanta’s offensive line were two of the three-highest graded offensive linemen in this game, per PFF’s first run of analysis. Kaleb McGary had a strong showing in the run game, and he and Chris Lindstrom combined to allow no pressures on 27 pass-blocking snaps. Lindstrom is already starting to cement his status as one of the better right guards in the NFL, and McGary is in the midst of his best season as a professional.
|Justin Herbert||13.1||30 / 43||245||5.7||1||1||0||82.0|
|Marcus Mariota||7.6||12 / 23||129||5.6||0||0||2||68.9|