By Tim Peterson
(Carson) – The Chargers got close in the fourth quarter but couldn’t get over the hump in a 26-24 loss to Philadelphia Sunday before a sold out crowd of 25, 374 at StubHub Center.
The Chargers cut the lead to two with 6:44 left in the contest on a two-yard touchdown pass from Philip Rivers to Hunter Henry. But the Eagles were able to run out the clock on the final possession driving down to the LA 14 and forcing the Chargers to use all of their timeouts.
The Chargers, now 0-4, have lost three of those games by a total of seven points.
“Never in a million years did I think we’d be here at 0-4 but we are. I look at football in four quarters, just like the game. And we just stunk the first quarter of our season,” said Chargers Head Coach Anthony Lynn. “We’ve got three quarters left to figure some things out and get this thing turned around. There’s going to be a lot of evaluating going on tonight and into tomorrow and some things are going to change. But we’re going to get this figured out and get this thing moving in the right direction.”
The Chargers coughed it up on their first possession as Rivers was hit, the ball popped loose and Derek Barnett fell on it at the Eagle 32.
The Eagles then marched 68 yards in eight plays with Carson Wentz hitting Alshon Jeffery on an eight-yard touchdown pass for a 7-0 lead.
After the Chargers kicked it away again, the Eagles went 65 yards on 11 plays before stalling at the LA 28. Jake Elliott booted a 45-yard field goal to put the Eagles up 10-0 at the end of the first quarter.
In the second quarter the Chargers were forced to punt again. Philadelphia promptly drove down to the LA 22, where Elliott kicked a 40-yard field goal for a 13-0 lead with 6:42 left in the second quarter.
Ten seconds later, literally, on the first play of the series Rivers found Tyrell Williams in stride on a 75-yard touchdown strike to cut the Eagles lead to 13-7. Williams got behind the Philadelphia secondary and waltzed into the endzone.
The Eagles responded with a 53-yard Elliott field goal to push the lead to nine with 4:08 left in the second.
The Chargers got the ball on their own 23 with 56 seconds left in the half and drove all the way down to the Eagle 10-yard line. The key play was a 52-yard pass from Rivers to Keenan Allen down to the Philly 32. Younghoe Koo kicked a 28-yard field goal as the clock hit zeroes on the first half to make it 16-10.
The two teams exchanged punts to open the third quarter.
Jake Elliott kicked his fourth field goal of the day, this one from 47 yards out, to put the Eagles up 19-10 with 55 seconds left in the third quarter.
Austin Ekeler capped a seven-play, 75 yard drive with a 35-yard touchdown run early in the fourth to bring the Chargers within two at 19-17.
On the next possession, LeGarrette Blount broke off a 69-yard run shedding Charger tacklers along the way, to set up a two-yard touchdown run by Wendell Smallwood with 9:14 left in the fourth quarter.
The Chargers answered immediately with an eight-play, 75-yard drive. Rivers hooked up with Keenan Allen on a 50-yard pass play down to the Philadelphia 11-yard line to set up the two-yard TD pass to Henry who hauled it in one-handed while falling out of the back of the endzone. Originally he was ruled out of bounds but after review it was a touchdown and LA was within two.
The Eagles then chewed up the clock converting three times on third down to ice it.
“Today we needed to score three more points.There’s no answer to give that can make it change. We just have to keep on going. I don’t know any other way,” Rivers said. “We need to come in tomorrow and prepare for the next one like we’re 4-0.”
Rivers finished 22 of 38 for 347 yards and two touchdowns but the Chargers managed only 58 yards on the ground. Blount rushed for 136 yards on 16 carries for the Eagles and Wentz threw for 242 yards and a score on 17 of 31 completions.
Next up for the Chargers is a road game against the New York Giants as they look for their first win. Philadelphia improved to 3-1 with the victory.