It was a play that completely swung the game around.
With the Carolina Panthers up 10 at San Diego's goal line with 11:00 remaining in the game, Cam Newton fired left for Kelvin Benjamin. Instead of a touchdown to his number one receiver, it was recently promoted Chargers cornerback Trovon Reed making the catch as he cut in front of the wideout for the interception.
Reed's momentum forced him to the ground, but he popped back up, darted and weaved his way for a 100-yard pick-six. Just like that, San Diego went from giving up points to cutting it to a 26-22 Carolina lead with the extra point pending.
Only the return never happened.
It wasn't only Reed's momentum that took him to the ground but Benjamin as well as after the review, officials wiped the pick-six off the board and gave the Bolts possession at their own four-yard line. Three plays later, Philip Rivers was sacked for a safety, resulting in a seven-point swing in a game San Diego eventually lost 28-16.
While end zone interceptions are huge plays, Reed admitted it was deflating to see the touchdown come off the board.
"It was a bang-bang play, and to have it called back was real frustrating not just for me, but the whole team," he said. "It would have been big for the team, and that's the bigger part…. (Personally) it was my first career interception. To get a pick-six and have it called back (was tough). I'm just trying to do whatever I've got to do to help this team win (and) turn it around. I want to be part of that."
Originally a wide receiver at Auburn, Reed asked to transition to cornerback his senior season. He spent time this past offseason with the Seattle Seahawks before joining the Chargers' practice squad in October. Then, in late November, he was promoted to the active roster, seeing mainly special teams duty in the first two games after the bye.
However, after Craig Mager suffered a stinger and elbow injury early in the first quarter, Reed was thrust into extensive action on defense. He did not disappoint, and the Chargers showed how much they believe in the young cornerback as he guarded the Panthers' number one receiver in the red zone.
While Reed boasts confidence and swagger, it's ironic that his impressive performance came after the week he had.
"On Wednesday I had a bad practice," he said. "(Defensive Backs) Coach (Ron) Milus told me, 'That's not the Trovon I know.' So I tried to give him the Trovon he knows today…. I appreciate Coach Milus for believing in a kid who just showed up five weeks ago, and putting me out there with the game on the line against a Pro Bowl receiver. I just appreciate the opportunity."
It's clear he is making the most of that opportunity, even in defeat.
"What a great pick," Head Coach Mike McCoy said. "That was huge for us at that time of the game to keep us in it. (It was) a big play on his part. Huge play. To jump in front of (the receiver) and get the interception and keep them from scoring. I think he got settled in as the game went along. I'm happy for him and the way he made the play… He's a player that when you watch the practice film, you think he's playing a game. There's a lot of energy; he loves to go out and practice. You really like the way he plays the game. You go out in practice and it looks like he's playing a game. He gets so excited. I love his attitude when he comes to work."