Chargers qualify for postseason with victory over Colts
The Los Angeles Chargers clinched a postseason place with a 20-3 win over the Indianapolis Colts on Monday night, as Justin Herbert passed for 235 yards and Austin Ekeler ran for two scores.
The Chargers (9-6) qualified for the playoffs for the first time since the 2018 season with their third straight victory.
Nick Foles took over as Indianapolis’ starting quarterback this week, going 17-for-29 for 143 yards and three interceptions. In addition, he was sacked seven times. Matt Ryan was benched after the Colts lost a 33-0 halftime lead in a 39-36 overtime loss against the Minnesota Vikings on December 17.
In its fifth straight loss, Indianapolis (4-10-1) was restricted to 173 total yards.
The Chargers failed to get a first down on their first three possessions. But on their fourth, they marched 70 yards in 13 plays and took a 7-0 lead on a 1-yard touchdown run by Ekeler with 8:41 left in the second quarter.
In the first quarter, the Chargers intercepted two passes, including one by All-Pro safety Derwin James, who had missed the previous two games due to a quad injury. With 5:19 remaining in the first half, James made a helmet-to-helmet tackle on Ashton Dulin. Dulin was later ruled out with a concussion after James was banned from the game. With 4:21 remaining in the half. Chase McLaughlin finished the drive with a 46-yard field goal, cutting the margin to 7-3. Cameron Dicker’s 24-yard field goal as time expired gave the Chargers a 10-3 lead at halftime.
On the Chargers’ first defensive series of the second half, Asante Samuel Jr. intercepted the third pass. And Dicker converted with a 21-yard field goal for a 13-3 lead with 6:01 left in the third quarter. With 8:20 remaining in the game, Ekeler scored on another 1-yard run to increase the advantage to 20-3.
Running back Jonathan Taylor, the NFL’s best rusher last season, was placed on injured reserve last week after suffering a high ankle sprain early in the loss to Minnesota. —Media at the Field Level