Chargers-Colts score, takeaways: Justin Herbert shines, Nick Foles flops as Los Angeles clinches playoff berth

Everything was setting up for the Chargers to stumble again. With a chance to clinch a playoff spot against the slumping Colts on Monday night, Los Angeles couldn’t get deep in the Week 16 prime-time finale. Stars safety Derwin James was ejected early for an illegal hit. And quarterback Justin Herbert fumbled the ball, giving Indianapolis momentum in the final quarter. doesn’t matter. Because Nick Foles’ first Colts’ latest QB performance went about as poorly as possible. Feasting up front, getting enough of Herbert’s production to beat Brandon Steele’s AFC West rival Lucas Oil 20-3 and, more importantly, clinch a spot in the postseason.

The Colts, who fell to 4-10-1 with their fifth straight loss under interim coach Jeff Saturday, made things close for a while but ultimately couldn’t match LA, which has never trailed in a contest.

Here are some additional highlights from Monday night’s Chargers win:

Why did the Chargers win?

They have someone who can throw the ball. The Chargers got a “W” because of their signal caller on a night that would have cost Indy LA a playoff spot without a third-string QB behind a bad line. Justin Herbert had a decent hit in the bottom of the infield. Austin Ekeler was erratic on the ground, but once again vital, as he fed Keenan Allen (11 catches, 104 yards) to keep LA’s door knocking, and it was Herbert’s laser that saved the day. Brandon Staley’s defense was just as important as Nick Foles getting behind him frequently and star defensive end Derwin James playing reasonable ball in the second half despite being sidelined in the first half. By the end of the night, six different players had thrown sacks, with cornerback duo Asante Samuel Jr. and Michael Davis leading the way.

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Why did the Colts lose?

The offensive line came alive again, yielding seven sacks and nine QB hits. But, unfortunately, nothing ruined them except Nick Foles. His big-play mentality was a revolving door idea for the Colts under center, but his timing and decision-making were questionable all night. When he wasn’t gobbling up LA’s front, Foles was pushing unwitting targets out of the gate, giving the Chargers three touchdowns (almost more). Matt Ryan or Sam Ehlinger may not have been better, but they couldn’t be worse. It’s a shame, too, because the offensive collapse wasted another solid night for Gus Bradley’s defense, which played fast and aggressive up front and in the back.

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Turning point

The Colts held the ball in their hands and committed too many turnovers, but were still within 10 deep in the game. To get even closer, and maybe even redeem their sloppy offensive night, they rallied for a fourth-and-1 from the Chargers’ 12-yard line to set up the final kickoff. But Nick Foles’ QB came up short and Drue Tranquill stuffed the game, giving the ball back to Herbert and Co., who immediately went on a 12-play TD drive to seal the decision.

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Game performance

It would have been even better if Keenan Allen had stayed, but Herbert’s laser trick gave LA a 10-3 lead before halftime. And the Chargers QB has proven to have one of the best cannons in the game.

What’s next

The Chargers (9-6) return home on New Year’s Day to host the Rams (5-10), who blew out the Broncos on Christmas Day and prompted Denver to fire coach Nathaniel Hackett. Meanwhile, the Colts (4-10-1) will go on the road for a cross-conference game against the Giants (8-6-1), who are looking to secure a spot in the NFC final despite falling to the Vikings on Saturday. wild card spots.


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