Chargers, Falcons going in opposite directions
ATLANTA (AP) — San Diego and Atlanta look like teams headed in opposite directions — no matter what the standings show.
Josh Lambo’s 42-yard field goal in overtime gave San Diego a 33-30 win over Atlanta on Sunday.
It was San Diego’s second straight win, and only second road victory in two seasons. The Chargers (3-4) are still last in the AFC West, but have seen their confidence rise with back-to-back wins, including over defending Super Bowl champion Denver last week.
The Falcons (4-3) have lost two straight, leaving them only one-half game ahead of second-place Tampa Bay in the NFC South. They were hurt by nine penalties for 70 yards and their only turnover — an interception by San Diego’s Denzel Perryman of Matt Ryan’s pass for Julio Jones late in regulation.
The game came down to Perryman’s stop of Devonta Freeman’s fourth-and-1 run in overtime. The stop set up Lambo’s game-winning kick.
Falcons coach Dan Quinn stood by his fourth-and-1 gamble that failed, including his decision to give the ball to Freeman after he was stopped for a loss on first down.
“It was just a message of how much I believe in this team,” Quinn said.
“I just thought we had a good shot. We didn’t execute like we can. We like the call, we just didn’t execute.”
The Falcons blew a 27-10 second-quarter lead.
“Definitely had ’em,” said Falcons cornerback Desmond Trufant. ”... We should have put them away.”
Perryman led with his big plays and his determination to play through a shoulder injury. He remained down on one knee after a few defensive plays, but wouldn’t leave the game.
“I just stuck it out and fought today,” Perryman said, adding he told coach Mike McCoy and his teammates “I was going to give it everything I’ve got.”
Here are some things to know about the Chargers’ win over the Falcons:
RECORD FOR RYAN: Atlanta’s Matt Ryan set an NFL record on Sunday with his 46th game of 200 passing yards or more. Ryan came into the game tied with Hall of Famer Dan Fouts at 45 games. Fouts played for the Chargers.
Ryan began the day leading the NFL in yards passing (2,075) and passer rating (117.9), second in touchdown passes (15) and fifth in completion rate (68.1 percent).
BENJAMIN’S BUDDY: Tyrell Williams proved again there is more than one big-play receiver in San Diego’s offense. The team’s leading receiver, Travis Benjamin, was active but did not start after being listed as questionable with a knee injury which forced him to miss practice early in the week.
Benjamin had four catches for 54 yards while Williams led the team with seven catches for 140 yards.
HOW BIG WAS THE WIN?: Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers said the win was “huge” for the team.
“We haven’t won two games in a row in a long time, we haven’t had a road win in a long time, and we’ve lost a lot of games that have been close,” Rivers said. “A lot of games like this we’ve lost ... close games like this. Somebody has the ball late in the two-minute drive, we’ve lost those games the last two years. ... It will be nice to have a plane ride home with a win for a change.”
BOSA DANCES AGAIN: San Diego rookie Joey Bosa had two sacks — his second two-sack game in his young career. The first-round pick from Ohio State also had two sacks in his Oct. 9 debut against Oakland.
INJURIES: Chargers defensive tackle Caraun Reid was carted off with a left knee injury in the first quarter and did not return. Reid had a teammate fall on his leg on a Falcons completion to tight end Levine Toilolo.
Tevin Coleman led Atlanta with 64 yards rushing, including a 30-yard touchdown run, before leaving with a hamstring injury. Quinn said he had no immediate update on the severity of the injury.
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