Through three quarters of play, it looked as if neither the Detroit Lions or San Diego Chargers wanted to win at Ford Field on Sunday. Punts, flags, and missed field goals dominated the first 45 minutes of action.
While most of the same would continue in the last quarter of play, the Lions found success on both the offensive and defensive side of the ball late in the game.
Lions WR Kenny Golladay, who had a game-high 117 yards on eight catches, caught the go-ahead touchdown on a 31-yard connection from QB Matthew Stafford with 7:21 remaining to take a 13-10 lead.
Despite the stadium rocking following the touchdown, QB Philip Rivers and the Chargers would respond on the ensuing drive.
On 3rd and 10 from its own 20-yard line, Rivers ran up the middle for a gain of 12 yards to keep the Chargers’ drive alive. Rivers would then connect with WRs’ Mike Williams for 18 yards and Keenan Allen for 11 yards on 3rd and 5 deep in Lions territory with less than four minutes remaining.
After the Chargers took a five yard penalty for delay of game, the biggest play of the game came on a 3rd and 19 at the Lions 28 yard line.
With no one open, Rivers forced a ball into double coverage in the end zone that was ultimately intercepted by DB Darius Slay.
The turnover, which was Rivers only one of the game, proved costly. Despite having all three timeouts remaining, the Lions were able to run out the clock with RB Kerryon Johnson and TE Jesse James hauling in a crucial seven-yard catch on 3rd and 6.
For the Lions, the victory was an encouraging sign after blowing a 18-point second half lead in its week one tie against the Cardinals. The team was able to overcome miscues from Stafford who threw two interceptions and kicker Matt Prater who missed an extra point and a field goal.
Johnson, who had an up-and-down week one, showed flashes and finished with 88 total yards and had a 36-yard receiving touchdown in the victory. WR Marvin Jones Jr. hauled in five catches for 43 yards.
After a dramatic come-from-behind against the Colts win in week one, it was a let down for the Chargers in game number two. Despite 133 total yards and a touchdown from RB Austin Ekeler and eight catches for 98 yards on a game-high 15 targets from Allen, the Chargers wounds for the most part were self-inflicted. There’s no better example of this then the team’s play in the second half.
What would’ve been a 60-yard touchdown run by RB Justin Jackson was called back due to a holding penalty on WR Dontrelle Inman. Only two plays later, a 22-yard touchdown run from Ekeler was nullified by an illegal block from OT Sam Tevi.
Next, a defensive pass interference call in the end zone set up the Chargers in a prime position to extend its lead to a two score game with the ball at the one yard line. However, Ekeler fumbled on the ensuing play, resulting in a Lions recovery deep in its own territory.
To make matters worse, it’s very clear the team’s missing starting kicker Michael Badgley. Ty Long, who took over for the injured Badgley, missed two straight field goal attempts one from 39 yards and another one from 41 yards on back-to-back possessions in the second half.
The Chargers (1-1) will look to bounce back at home against the Houston Texans (1-1) next Sunday afternoon.
The Lions (1-0-1) travel to Philadelphia to take on the Eagles (1-0) in week 3.
No shenanigans, just football.