The Los Angeles Chargers improved to 10-3 for the first time since 2009 due to their 26-21 win over the Cincinnati Bengals.
Offense: Keenan Allen – Week after week, Keenan Allen continues to make plays and he came up big again in the win. He finished the game five of nine for 78 yards and a touchdown, the opening score of the game. His longest catch went for 37, where he extended to make the grab. The catch was the opening play of a drive that ended in a 32-yard Chargers field goal. In the game, Allen also hit the 1,000-receiving yard mark on the season – the third time the wideout has done that in his career.
Defense: Darius Philon – When the team needed Darius Philon the most, he came up big by sacking Jeff Driskel on a Cincy two-point conversion attempt in the fourth quarter. Philon's play negated the attempt, and any hopes the Bengals had of tying the Bolts. He finished the game with two tackles and a tackle for loss.
Unsung Hero: Michael Davis – 2018 is Michael Davis' second season in the league, and he's been making plays to show sophomore improvement. He had a key fourth down stop in the third quarter that turned the ball over on downs. The stop proved crucial as 11 plays later when Michael Badgley kicked a 31-yard field goal to make it 20-12, Chargers. He also had a tackle on Cody Core on third down on the final play of the game to keep the wideout in bounds to let the clock run out and give the Bengals no shot at a fourth down play. Davis had six total tackles in the victory.
Stat of the Game
On his first catch of the game, Keenan Allen eclipsed 1,000 yards on the season for the third time in his career. It marks the first back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons by a Charger since Vincent Jackson (2008-09).
Play of the Game:
If you make a 59-yard field goal, it's got to be recognized as the play of the game. Following an offsides that gave the Chargers an untimed down, Head Coach Anthony Lynn showed confidence in his rookie kicker by trotting him out there for the long attempt. Michael Badgley drilled the kick, which is the longest in franchise history as the Bolts took a 17-12 lead at the half.
The Bengals made it competitive in the fourth quarter and scored a touchdown with 1:54 left to bring the score within two. Cincinnati attempted a two-point conversion, but Darius Philon busted through the line to sack Driskel and end any shot at tying the game.
It Was Over When:
Cincinnati got the ball back with :43 seconds left in the game needing a touchdown to win. After an incomplete first down pass, Driskel stepped back on 2nd-and-10 from his own 23 with 39 seconds left. However, Uchenna Nwosu powered through for a sack good for a loss of nine. The Bengals went for it on third down with 18 seconds left, however couldn't convert and time expired, giving the Bolts the five-point victory.
"It was a tough win. Guys showed grit. They showed good mental toughness…. (Cincinnati) was dangerous, and we got out of here with a win today. I'm thankful for that." – Head Coach Anthony Lynn
"You've got to go out there with that kind of confidence. If you're going out there thinking you're going to miss it, you probably shouldn't be kicking it. Going out there was a way for us to steal momentum from them at the end of the half. Going into the second half with more points, it definitely was good for us to get those points at the end of the half." – K Michael Badgley
"Bend don't break (is the staple of our defense). I know you hear it a lot, but that's kind of what we live by; bend don't break. We don't want to bend, but if it happens, we just don't break." – LB Jatavis Brown
Odds and Ends
The Bengals outgained the Chargers in total yardage 295 to 288. The Bolts held a 203-151 edge through the air, however Cincinnati held a 144-85 advantage on the ground.
Philip Rivers finished the first quarter with 104 yards and a touchdown while completing all seven passing attempts for a perfect 158.3 passer rating. It was the 11th time in his career to post a perfect passer rating in the opening quarter of a game.
Michael Badgley finished the game with 14 points to bring his career total to 62, passing Dennis Partee for the most by a Chargers kicker through seven career games.
Kyle Emanuel, Uchenna Nwosu and Joey Bosa all posted sacks in the win. It was Bosa's fourth of the season, and with it, he reached 27 for his career to pass LB Billy Ray Smith for 10th in team history.
Joey Bosa and Mike Pouncey served as today's honorary captain.
Inactives for the Chargers included Trevor Williams, Melvin Gordon, Chris Landrum, Cole Toner, Sean Culkin, Dylan Cantrell and Brandon Mebane.
View the best of the Bolts as they take on the Bengals at ROKiT Field at StubHub Center for Week 14's matchup.