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Chargers Ride Defense to 20-3 Win Over Colts


The Bolts have won three straight and are going to the playoffs.

Here's a recap of the Chargers 20-3 win over the Colts in Week 16.

First Quarter

Derwin James, Jr., Keenan Allen and Sebastian Joseph-Day were the Chargers captains. The Chargers won the toss and elected to defer. The Bolts began on defense and started hot by forcing a three-and-out to open the game, and DeAndre Carter's 16-yard punt return set the offense up at the 34-yard line. But the offense also went three-and-out as the run game was stuffed on a 3rd-and-1 attempt to force a punt. The teams then traded turnovers. Michael Davis snagged an interception off Nick Foles and returned it near midfield, but Justin Herbert was picked off on a third-down pass on the ensuing Chargers possession. James, who missed the past two games, nabbed an interception of his own with an acrobatic leaping grab to make it three straight possessions with a turnover.

The Bolts offense couldn't convert the turnover to points as they punted, but the defense held firm as Kenneth Murray, Jr., sacked Foles on third down. The Chargers picked up their first first down of the game and were approaching Colts territory as the first quarter ended.

Second Quarter

The Bolts converted on third down for the first time of the game to get into Colts territory, but went backward when Herbert was sacked on the ensuing play. But the Chargers offense stayed on the field on 3rd0and-13 when Mike Williams gained 16 yards. Williams then took a screen for 18 yards to get into the red zone. The Bolts then faced third-and-1 at the Colts 3-yard line before Herbert gained two yards on a QB sneak. Austin Ekeler then waltzed his way into the end zone on a 1-yard touchdown run for his 15th total touchdown of the season.

The Bolts defense then suffered a big loss when James was ejected after a hit on an Indianapolis player. The defense limited the Colts to a field goal on the drive and led 7-3 with just over four minutes to go in the second quarter. The Chargers offense moved across midfield on the ensuing possession as they hit the 2-minute warning facing a third-and-1 at the Colts 48. The Bolts then dialed up a razzle-dazzle play that ended with Herbert hitting Allen for 25 yards down the left sideline. The Chargers faced first-and-goal at the 9 but settled for a 24-yard field goal from Cameron Dicker. The Chargers led 10-3 at halftime.

Third Quarter

The Bolts began the quarter looking to end their touchdown drought that stretched back to Week 5. It didn't happen on the opening drive as a holding call thwarted the series and led to a punt. But the Bolts defense forced another takeaway as Asante Samuel, Jr., intercepted Foles and took it to the Colts 26.

But the offense, despite staying on the field and converting on a fourth-down pass, managed only a field goal and a 13-3 lead with 6:01 left in the third quarter. The Chargers defense, meanwhile, kept up their stellar performance, especially on third downs. Khalil Mack sacked Foles on the next Colts drive — his eighth sack of the year — to keep Indianapolis without a third-down conversion in the game. The Bolts then fumbled on their ensuing drive as the Colts took over deep in Chargers territory. Indianapolis faced fourth-and-1 at the 12-yard line when the quarter ended.

Fourth Quarter

Foles' QB sneak was stopped short on the first play of the fourth quarter as the Colts turned the ball over on downs. The Chargers then put together a lengthy drive that ended in points. Williams caught a big 16-yard pass to move the chains before Ekeler took over on the ground, eventually powering his way in for a 1-yard score. The Bolts took a 20-3 lead with 8:20 left in the fourth quarter.

The Bolts defense then put the finishing touches on another exceptional game by forcing another failed third-down for the Colts offense, bringing them to 0-for-9 on the night. The Chargers then got off the field on fourth down, too, as the offense took over near midfield. But the unit punted it away after the drive didn't go anywhere. The Chargers defense didn't allow the Colts to convert on a 10th third-down try. The teams traded possessions the rest of the way but it ended with a 20-3 Chargers win that secured a postseason berth for the Bolts, who moved to 9-6 with the third straight win.

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