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Three Takeaways: What Did It Take to Win the "Track Meet" Against the Browns?

herbert postgame FTP

Below are three takeaways from the postgame press conferences from the Week 5 win with Brandon Staley, Justin Herbert, Mike Williams, and Austin Ekeler.

A fight in the fourth

The Los Angeles Chargers entered the fourth quarter down six, 27-21, to the Browns, which was an impressive feat after Cleveland scored 17 unanswered in the second and third quarters up until that point.

But the fourth quarter was a different beast as the Chargers and Browns traded touchdowns with the Bolts ultimately scoring 26 points to storm back and win the 'track meet' game against Cleveland.

Running back Austin Ekeler, who had three touchdowns of his own in that quarter, explained the mentality that kept the Chargers going on Sunday.

"This is the NFL, we gotta continue to go," Ekeler said. "We have another chance, as long as we have time, and we can get a stop we have a chance. That's what it came down to today and we actually ended up competing and converting."

Wide receiver Mike Williams was on the receiving end of the first Chargers touchdown in the fourth and explained the leadership that quarterback Justin Herbert showed in their comeback win and how he just 'puts the ball where it needs to be' in clutch moments.

"Just the look in his eyes," Williams said. "You know every time he came in the huddle, he was like, 'We gotta score every time we touch the ball.' And we were like, 'Yeah, we got you' and that's what we wanted to do."

Herbert, who threw for a career best 398 yards with five total touchdowns on the day, talked about the team's ability to win these close games in their journey to a 4-1 start on the year.

"We are learning how to win games," Herbert said. "I think that has been huge for us. Over the past couple of years, we've let a couple get away, but the NFL is tough. Winning games in the NFL is not easy. You have to find a way because all of them are going to come down to two minutes late in the game; repping that in practice and experiencing that helps us."

Faith on fourth down

Head coach Brandon Staley proved that no fourth down is too big as the Bolts converted on all three of their fourth down attempts on Sunday.

Staley gave credit to the game offensive coordinator Joe Lombardi called.

"I felt like [Offensive Coordinator] Joe Lombardi was fantastic today," Staley said. "I can't say enough about him and our entire offensive staff. Our guys are executing well in those 'got-to-have-it' situations. We needed it today. We needed all those plays, and I'm really proud of our offensive football team today"

A pivotal moment in Sunday's win for the Chargers was a gutsy call to go for it on 4th-and-2 from the the team's own 24-yard line in the third quarter. The call paid off as it kept the drive alive.

Later in that drive, the Chargers faced a 4th-and-7 from the Cleveland 22 and Herbert connected with Keenan Allen for a gain of 12. Those plays were key to setting up Herbert to score a nine-yard rushing touchdown on that drive which cut into the Browns' lead.

Herbert talked about the decision to go for that fourth down in his own territory.

"I don't know how many coaches would have made that [decision], I know ours did though," Herbert. "He believed in us, and I believe in him. That entire offense, I believe in those guys and those guys upfront, they blocked super well today and that's a tough defense front that we're going up against and I thought they handled them pretty well."

Ekeler talked about his mindset when going for it on fourth down and the trust that goes into executing those plays.

"I believe that we have, and we've proved that we have the guys that can get it done." Ekeler said. "It's different for sure…this is almost like a make-or-break play, they all are like that but on fourth down it really is so it's like here we go. It's a two-way street, Brandon [Staley's] been gaining more trust and Joe [Lombardi] has been gaining more trust in our ability to go for it on 4th-down because we convert. As long as we keep doing that, you're probably gonna see it throughout the entire year."

Career day for Williams

Williams showed once again the talent he is for the Bolts on Sunday.

He continued to light up the stat sheet with a career high 165 receiving yards and two touchdowns to go along with it.

Staley explained to get the win, they 'needed all 165 today' from Williams.

"This guy's a fantastic receiver," Staley said. "He's a complete receiver, the guy can beat you in the deep part of the field, he can beat you in the first or second level, he can move throughout the formation. What you're seeing is a guy that when you need to win, he can. The guy's a clutch player and I'm just really proud of him."

Williams said he was 'surprised' to find himself so wide open on his 72-yard and 42-yard-deep touchdowns and was just thinking three words while the ball was in the air, 'don't drop it.'

He also discussed what's been the reason he's been executing at such a high level.

"I'd probably say just getting a lot more opportunities," Williams said. "That's the main thing, just to get the ball in my hand, make plays. That's the main thing getting a lot more opportunities, make plays."

Ekeler talked about what type of player Williams has been for the Chargers and the versatility he shows every game day.

"This guy's a beast man," Ekeler said. "We call him 'Big Mike' … Early on in his career he was dealing with some injuries so we didn't really see I feel like the full potential of him and now he's coming back into the season healthy and it's looking good…he's got these big tree trunk arms and stiff arms people and gets around the edge…he's just showing, hey man 'I can go short, I can go long,' he's gonna be a threat anywhere on the field."

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