Despite Austin Ekeler's second consecutive strong performance and a strong showing by their run defense, the Los Angeles Chargers lost to the Detroit Lions, 13-10, in Week 2.
"It felt like we were moving the ball," said Ekeler. "We were rolling, especially in that second half. But (we) just (came) up empty handed. You got to score points in this league."
Ekeler, who caught the game-winning touchdown in overtime in Week 1 against the Colts, followed up his 154-total yard performance with 133 total yards Sunday, including a touchdown where the 5-foot-9 running back jumped over four Lions defenders.
Ekeler, in tandem with Justin Jackson who had 59 yards rushing on seven carries total, created problems for the Lions defense. But their performance was not flawless, as Ekeler fumbled the ball at the Lions' 1-yard line midway through the third quarter.
Ekeler wasn't the only Charger racking up yards, as quarterback Philip Rivers connected with wide receiver Keenan Allen all afternoon to the tune of eight receptions for 98 yards. "We made a ton of plays," Rivers said. "But when you have two turnovers in the red zone and two touchdowns called back, you're asking for it."
One of those plays came in the closing moments of the first half when Rivers threw deep to a diving Mike Williams for a 47-yard completion, setting up a 39-yard Ty Long field goal with time expiring in the half.
Williams, who didn't practice Wednesday or Thursday and was a game-time decision for Sunday's game, had three receptions for 83 yards.
"Mike played with a lot of heart," head coach Anthony Lynn said. "Yes, he had a sore knee and we didn't know how much he could play. But he came in and helped us today."
The Chargers had multiple opportunities to extend their lead, but holding penalties called back touchdowns from Ekeler and Jackson in the third quarter.
"Even though the mistakes we made and the touchdowns that got called back, I still felt good about the way we were moving the ball. But you just can't do that against good teams and win," Lynn said.
After the Chargers defense limited the Lions to six points through the first three quarters thanks to interceptions from Casey Hayward Jr. and Rayshawn Jenkins, Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford connected with Kenny Golladay for a 31-yard touchdown to take the lead in the fourth quarter.
"We (were) right in a position to win that game," said Hayward Jr. "They made a play on offense and a play on defense and that's what won those guys the game. We have to find a way to make those plays on our end, especially in crunch time."
The Chargers only allowed 94 yards rushing and 3.4 yards per carry on the afternoon.
"I thought we played better defensively," Lynn said. "We worked at it this week and it was good to see that it paid off against a good running team."
Linebacker Thomas Davis Sr. led the defense with 12 tackles, upping the 36-year-old's total to 26. It marked the first time Davis Sr. has had back-to-back games with 10-plus tackles since 2015.
The Chargers play next against the Houston Texans on Sunday at 1:25 p.m. PT from ROKiT Field at Dignity Health Sports Park.