The Los Angeles Chargers beat the Cincinnati Bengals, 41-22, in Week 13 of the 2021 season.
The Bengals won the toss and chose to defer, giving Justin Herbert and the Bolts offense the ball to start the game. Chargers return man Andre Roberts got things going with a 48-yard kick return that set the Chargers offense up in prime real estate for their opening-drive. Herbert delivered a 10-yard pass on 3rd-and-9 to Keenan Allen that kept the Bolts' drive alive. A few plays later, Herbert fired deep down field and connected with Mike Williams for a 41-yard reception that put the ball on the Bengals' four-yard line. On fourth down, Herbert connected with Allen in the end zone for a four-yard touchdown pass. Kicker Dustin Hopkins missed the PAT, keeping the score at 6-0 after the nine-play, 55-yard drive.
A few plays into the Bengals' opening drive, OLB Uchenna Nwosu forced a strip sack on Joe Burrow and recovered the fumble at the Cincinnati 29-yard line. The Bolts were stopped on a 3rd-and-16, but were able to capitalize on the turnover with a 43-yard field goal from Hopkins that made it 9-0, Chargers.
On the Bengals' ensuing possession, Burrow fired deep down field for wide receiver Ja'Marr Chase that was bobbled by Chase and intercepted by Michael Davis at the Bolts 27-yard line. A few plays into the Chargers' next drive, Herbert connected with Williams for another deep pass, this one for 47 yards, that brought Williams' receiving yards total to 92 in the first quarter. Herbert connected with Allen a few plays later on a seven-yard touchdown, Allen's second touchdown of the day, and made the score 16-0 after the PAT from Hopkins.
The Chargers defense continued to turn up the heat on the Bengals with another sack, this time from DL Justin Jones for a seven-yard loss on 3rd-and-8. The sack forced the Bengals to punt.
After a series of back-and-forth punts, the Bolts got their offense going again with a deep pass to wide receiver Jaylen Guyton. Guyton was able to haul in the pass for the 44-yard touchdown, Herbert's third touchdown pass on the day made the score 22-0. The Bolts elected to go for the two-point conversion, this time Allen found Herbert in the end zone on a trick play that put the Bolts up 24-0.
A few plays into the Bengals' next drive, Burrow was able to connect with wide receiver Tee Higgins on a 29-yard touchdown pass that gave Cincinnati it's first points of the game. The Bengals missed the PAT after a delay of game penalty on their two-point conversion attempt was called, keeping the score at 24-6 with 7:44 left in the second quarter.
On the Chargers' next drive, Herbert connected with Ekeler on a short pass, but a pair of Bengals defenders forced a fumble that was popped up in the air and caught by Jessie Bates III. Bates III returned the recovery for 46 yards as Herbert made the touchdown-saving tackle at the Chargers' 19-yard line. A few plays later, Burrow was able to scramble into the end zone for a six-yard rushing touchdown that made the score 24-13 with after the PAT.
Herbert was sacked on back-to-back plays forcing a 3rd-and-25 with under two minutes to play in the first half. Herbert fired deep down field, but the pass intended for Joshua Palmer was intercepted by Chidobe Awuzie at the Bengals' 12, but the Bengals couldn't get anything going on that drive and the Bolts led 24-13 as they went into halftime.
The Bengals received the ball to start the second half. Trailing 24-13, Cincinnati put together a 10-play, 45-yard drive capped off by a 48-yard field goal from McPherson that made the score 24-16. Chargers.
On the Chargers' next drive, Ekeler caught a pass for nine yards, but fumbled the ball for the second time on the day. The ball was recovered by linebacker Germaine Pratt at the Bolts' 32-yard. A few plays later, running back Joe Mixon found the end zone for a seven-yard rushing touchdown that made the score 24-22, Chargers. The Bengals elected to go for the two-point conversion but were stopped short by the Chargers just before the goal line.
Late in the third quarter, safety Derwin James Jr. made a big play as a he sacked Burrow for a seven-yard loss on 3rd-and-7. The Bolts were forced to punt the ball away with 45 seconds left in the third quarter and the third quarter ended with the Bengals on their own 43 down 24-22.
OLB Joey Bosa was ruled out of the game after being evaluated for a head injury and Jones was listed as questionable to return with a knee injury.
On the third play of the fourth quarter, Mixon mishandled the handoff and fumbled the ball. Chargers cornerback Tevaughn Campbell came racing in and scooped up the fumble and scored on a 61-yard scoop and score that grew the Bolts' lead to 31-22 after the PAT.
On the Bolts' next offensive drive, an 18-yard pass to Williams and a 33-yard pass to Guyton put the ball down to the one-yard line. Ekeler scored a one-yard rushing touchdown the very next play, for his 15th touchdown on the year, that made the score 38-22 after the PAT.
On the Bengals' next drive, OLB Chris Rumph II recorded the first sack of his career. The Bengals were able to drive down to the Chargers' 15, but their drive was stopped as Chris Harris Jr. intercepted Burrow in the end zone and took a knee for a touchback.
Nwosu recorded another sack on Burrow on the Bengals' next drive. In need of score, the Bengals went for it on fourth down, but the Bolts forced an incomplete pass and gave the ball back to the Chargers on the Bengals' 40-yard line.
The Chargers were able to put together a seven play drive that setup a 43-yard field goal that made the score 41-22 with 1:10 left in the game.
With the win, the Chargers improved to 7-5 on the season.