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Game Recap: Chargers Beat Bengals, 16-13


The Los Angeles Chargers start the year 1-0 after a 16-13 win over the Cincinnati Bengals Sunday at Paul Brown Stadium.

First quarter

The Cincinnati Bengals lead the Los Angeles Chargers 7-0 after one.

The Chargers started the game on defense, forcing a three-and-out on the opening drive. On the defense's second series, linebacker Drue Tranquill was carted off with a left ankle injury.

Los Angeles forced three punts in the opening quarter, but so did Cincinnati. Rookie quarterback Joe Burrow rushed 23 yards for the game's first touchdown on the Bengals' fourth possession.

The Chargers committed five penalties in the quarter and generated three first down on offense. Tyrod Taylor was 5-of-11 for 49 yards. Defensive tackle Jerry Tillery got his first sack of the 2020 season.

Second quarter

The Bolts started the second quarter by turning the ball over on downs after attempting to go for it on 4th-and-2 from the Cincinnati 39.

However, on the Bengals' ensuing offensive series, the Chargers defense continued to bring pressure. Uchenna Nwosu sacked Burrow on first down for a loss of three. Two plays later, Joey Bosa met his old teammate in the backfield to force a Bengals punt.

The Chargers offense got into the red zone after Taylor found Mike Williams deep for a 36-yard connection on third down. The Bengals red zone defense held but the Bolts got on the board courtesy of a 24-yard field goal attempt from Michael Badgley.

With just over a minute left in the first half, the Bolts went for it again on fourth down, but failed to convert. However, they got the ball back after Cincy went three-and-out. Taylor hit Hunter Henry for a gain of 33 to take the ball to the Bengals 37. Three plays later, Badgley kicked his second successful field goal of the day to make it 7-6 in favor if the Bengals at the half.

The Chargers outgained the Bengals 232-88 total yards in the first half. Additionally, the defense had three sacks and held Cincinnati to just five first downs.

The Chargers will get the ball to start the second half.

Third quarter

A pair of Randy Bullock field goals (50, 42 yards) were the only points of the third quarter, extending the Bengals' lead to 13-6. Michael Badgley missed a 50-yard field goal with 11:43 left in the quarter.

The Chargers got contributions from a couple of rookies. Joshua Kelley had a 26-yard rush, while Joe Reed's 46-yard kick return set L.A. up at their own 45-yard line. Four plays later, the Chargers have gotten down to Cincinnati's 33-yard line to open the fourth quarter.

Fourth quarter

The Chargers started the fourth quarter in Cincy territory and capped it off with a touchdown from rookie running back Joshua Kelley, the first of his NFL career.

On the next Bengals drive, running back Joe Mixon fumbled and the ball was pounced on by Bolts linebacker Nick Vigil, who joined the team in free agency after four seasons with Cincinnati. Linebacker Denzel Perryman forced the fumble on the running back. The Bolts then took the first lead of the game, 16-13, off a field goal.

The Bengals began driving, but Burrow attempted a shovel pass to Gio Bernard, but it was picked off by Melvin Ingram with just over five minutes to go. 

While the Bengals got the ball back and got into the red zone, their kicker missed the game-tying field goal at the very end to make the Chargers 1-0 on the 2020 season.

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