Chargers’ mishaps prove too costly as they fall to Bengals 24-19

Mark Zerof-USA TODAY Sports

SAN DIEGO–The San Diego Chargers made few mistakes too many as the Cincinnati Bengals took advantage of the opportunities and the game winning 24-19.

After the defense provided a solid three-and-out on the opening drive, Keenan Allen went back to received the punt and muffed it, giving the Bengals the ball at the 19-yard line. Two plays later Andy Dalton found his number one man A.J. Green for a leaping touchdown to make it a quick 7-0 lead.

A Josh Lambo field goal on the following possession cut the deficit to four and then both teams would end up coughing up the ball. 

Donald Butler made his presence on the Bengals third possession as he stripped Jeremy Hill for the first of his two fumbles on the day, but San Diego couldn’t capitalize on the turnover.

On third and two the following drive, Philip Rivers dropped back to pass as Wallace Gilberry beat Orlando Franklin off the line to force a sack fumble and Cincinnati jumped on top of it. However, Mike Nugent missed a 36-yard field goal keeping the Chargers withing four.

Rivers led a nine play, 60-yard drive that gave Lambo a 32-yard field goal, but the Bolts faltered yet again.

The next possession, Dalton found Marvin Jones seperated from Brandon Flowers for a 45-yard touchdown pass bringing the score to 14-6 just before halftime. 

San Diego opened the half with a beautiful drive eclipsed by another Stevie Johnson touchdown, which brought the Chargers back within a point. The touchdown gave Rivers the franchise record for passing touchdowns with 255.

The next drive the Bengals went with a toss right to Jeremy Hill, but he mishandled the football and Jimmy Wilson recovered it, giving the Bolts great field position.

After a sack and a quick three-and-out, Lambo had the opportunity to take the lead on a 43-yard field goal, but missed wide left and that would be the turning point. Dalton led his troops down the field and hit Tyler Eifert in the back of the end zone to make it 24-13 Bengals.

Although there seemed to be some miscommunication on the field, Flowers was the primary coverage man on all three touchdowns given up on Sunday. Not something seen from the No.1 corner too often. 

Rivers would find Malcolm Floyd for a 40-yard last gasp touchdown, but the Chargers ended up failing the two-point conversion as Allen was tackled short of the goal line. Cincinnati took three minutes off the clock on their next possession and gave the Bolts one last chance for victory.

After a nice completion to Danny Woodhead, Rivers made a questionable decision as he tried to hit Floyd across the middle where he was surrounded by defenders. The ball was intercepted as San Diego just had too many errors to recover from.

The Bolts travel to Minnesota to take on the Vikings Sunday at 10:00 a.m..  

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Maxim Garshman

Maxim Garshman is a Bay Area native who now calls San Diego home. He has an expert voice on all things NHL and NFL, and currently works as the Chargers beat writer for Sports Out West.


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