By Tim Peterson
(Inglewood) – Michael Badgley kicked a 37-yard field goal with 41 seconds left to give the Chargers a 19-16 win over Denver Sunday in their home finale at SoFi Stadium. It was the seventh field goal of the game and fourth for Badgley for the game winner.
The Broncos got the ball ball back at their own 25 yard line and moved it out to midfield but Mike Williams picked off a Drew Lock hail Mary attempt at the goal line as time ran out to ice it.
The Chargers led 13-0 at the half but Denver battled back to get even late in the fourth quarter.
The Chargers scored first on a 37-yard field goal by Badgley which was set up by long opening kick off return by Nasir Adderly to the Denver 39.
The Broncos drove deep into Chargers territory on their first possession but Lock was intercepted in the end zone by Casey Hayward Jr.
Early in the second quarter Brandon McManus missed a 37 yard field goal for Denver.
The Chargers then marched 73 yards on nine plays. Justin Herbert hit Austin Ekeler on nine-yard touchdown pass to give LA a 10-0 lead with 9:45 left in the quarter.
Badgley booted a 43- yard field goal on the Chargers next series for a 13-0 lead.
The Chargers took the 13 point lead into the half.
After the teams exchanged punts in the third quarter Denver drove down to the Charger 12 yard line before being stopped. McManus kicked a 30-yard field goal for the Broncos first points of the game with just over five minutes remaining in the third quarter.
The Chargers moved the ball all the way down to the Broncos two-yard line only to be stopped on third down early in the fourth. After a five-yard penalty Badgley kicked a 25-yard chip shot to make it 16-3.
The Broncos answered with a 50-yard boot by McManus to make it 16-6 with 11:18 left in the fourth quarter.
After the Chargers were forced to punt, Lock scored on a one-yard run to cap an 11 play, 72-yard drive and the Broncos were down by just three at 16-13 with 6:31 left.
The Broncos got even on their next possession as McManus booted his third field goal of the day from 52 yards out with 2:42 left in the fourth.
The Chargers got the ball back at their own 25 with 2:42 remaining and marched down to the Denver 19 yard line to put Badgley in position. He was up to the task as he drilled it through the uprights for his fourth of the afternoon.
Lock’s hail Mary was all Denver had left and Williams, the wide receiver who was in the game to protect for this exact scenario, came down with the ball.
“I thought it was a hard fought game and a good team win. It took all three phases to win that game and we needed them playing the Broncos. We knew it was going to be physical,” said Chargers head coach Anthony Lynn. “Our defense bended but did not break. Our offense made plays when they needed to make plays. I credit all three phases for that win and I thought the players hung in and did a good job”
The Chargers won their third straight and improved to 6-9 on the year while the Broncos dropped to 5-10.
For the Chargers Herbert completed 21 of 33 for 253 yards and a touchdown. Williams caught four passes for 54 yards and Ekeler three for 23 and the score. Ekeler also added 45 yards on the ground.
Lock was 24 of 47 for the Broncos for 264 yards but also threw the two interceptions. Daesean Hamilton hauled in five passes for 77 yards and former Charger Melvin Gordon led the rushing attack with 79 yards on 16 carries.
The Chargers will finish the regular season next Sunday at Kansas City.