After losing back-to-back games by five combined points, including a 27-24 overtime setback at Tennessee last week, the Los Angeles Chargers finally got into the win column yesterday with a 28-24 win at Minnesota as one-point road underdogs.
However, it was a bittersweet win for L.A. because it lost seven-year veteran wide receiver Mike Williams to a torn ACL, according to a source for ESPN’s Adam Schefter.
Williams will miss the rest of the season. In the Chargers’ first three games, the Clemson product had 19 receptions on 26 targets for 249 yards and one touchdown.
In 13 games last year, Williams had 63 catches for 895 yards and four TDs. He caught 76 balls in 2021 for 1,146 yards and nine TDs.
In 88 career games, Williams has 309 receptions for 4,806 yards and 31 TDs.
Minnesota, which fell to 0-3 straight up and 0-2-1 against the spread, trailed 21-10 until Kirk Cousins found K.J. Osborn for a 36-yard TD pass with 3:01 remaining in the third quarter.
Then the Vikings took the lead with 11:20 left on a 52-yard TD pass from Cousins to Justin Jefferson, who had seven catches for 149 yards and one TD.
But the Chargers answered and took the lead back on Justin Herbert’s 30-yard scoring strike to Joshua Palmer with 8:05 remaining.
On Minnesota’s next drive, it went 73 yards in 13 plays and had a first-and-goal opportunity after Cousins found Jefferson for an eight-yard gain to L.A.’s 3. But the Vikings gained just one yard on the next three plays to set up a fourth-and-goal at the 2 with 2:57 left.
Cousins’s pass to Jefferson on fourth down fell incomplete. Herbert found Keenan Allen for a 13-yard gain on the next play. A three-yard run by Joshua Kelley on first down took the clock down to the two-minute warning.
On second and 7, Kelley lost three yard and Minnesota burned its second timeout. Then on third and long, Herbert found Allen for a 10-yard gain to set up fourth and inches with 1:51 left after the Vikings took their final timeout.
On his own 24, L.A. head coach Brandon Staley elected to go for it. In doing so, he probably set himself up for what would’ve been a well-deserved pink slip this morning.
The fourth-down play resulted in no gain when Kelley was stuffed at the line of scrimmage.
Minnesota got a first down when the Chargers were flagged for illegal use of the hands on a 3rd-and-11 play. Three plays later with 41 seconds remaining, Cousins connected with T.J. Hockenson for a nine-yard gain to L.A.’s 6 on a fourth-and-five play.
At this point, Minnesota showed little sense of urgency. Once the clock had dripped to around 25 seconds left and the Vikings still weren’t anywhere close to getting the next play off, they should’ve just spiked the ball, huddled up and given themselves a chance to get organized for three shots at the end zone.
Instead, the next snap didn’t take place until there was about 15 or 16 seconds remaining. Cousins tried to find Hockenson but the ball was tipped and then intercepted by Kenneth Murray to seal the victory for the Chargers.
Herbert was spectacular, completing 40-of-47 passes for 405 yards and three TDs without an interception. Allen had 18 catches for 215 yards, while Williams had seven receptions for 121 yards and one TD before getting injured.
Rookie Quentin Johnston, L.A.’s first-round pick out of TCU, will see increased playing time with Williams out. Johnston had two catches for 10 yards at Minnesota. In three games, he has only five receptions for 26 yards.
As of early Monday afternoon, most books had the Chargers installed as 5.5-point home favorites vs. Las Vegas in Week 4. The total was 47.5 points and the Raiders were +200 on the money line.