The Los Angeles Chargers tried to keep up their postgame playoff celebration private.
No such luck. After shaking arms and strolling off the sector in Indianapolis, avid gamers jogged through a tunnel to blaring music, high-fives and hugs and headed proper right into a first-time locker room scene for lots of of these Chargers — a playoff celebration.
Austin Ekeler scored on two 1-yard runs and Los Angeles clinched its first postseason berth since 2018, intercepting Nick Foles 3 instances to beat the overmatched Colts 20-3 on Monday night.
“We’re in it, now let’s go win it!” one participant screamed sooner than reporters had been allowed into the locker room.
The bash included second-year coach Brandon Staley handing a sport ball to proprietor Dean Spanos, whose group earned its second playoff spot since 2014, relatively lower than a 12 months after a brutal extra time loss at Las Vegas in remaining season’s finale sport saved LA out of the postseason.
Justin Herbert threw for 235 yards and Cameron Dicker made two transient topic targets for the Chargers (9-6), who gained their third straight after getting the help they needed this weekend from Las Vegas, Miami, New England and the New York Jets. When all 4 misplaced, the Chargers merely needed a win to clinch a playoff spot, they normally did their half.
“It’s been a while,” receiver Keenan Allen talked about after catching 11 passes for 104 yards, his sixth straight 100-yard sport on the freeway. “The playoffs are certainly not assured, so everytime you get in, it feels good. Now the season begins.”
Indy (4-10-1) misplaced its fifth straight under interim coach Jeff Saturday, though this was a additional ho-hum defeat than the sooner two, when it gave up 33 fourth-quarter components to Dallas and blew a 33-0 halftime lead at Minnesota.
Foles, making his first Colts start, squandered two first-quarter scoring possibilities by throwing picks, wound up getting sacked seven situations and went 0 for 10 on third down.
As regular, though, Indy’s third starting quarterback of the season was solely part of the issue.
“We started out, thought we had some pictures early nevertheless clearly the turnovers harm you and dissuade you to keep up doing it,” Saturday talked about. “We ran the ball correctly, nevertheless when it’s second-and-14, it’s exhausting to catch once more up. I believed we ran the ball efficiently nevertheless couldn’t stick with it.”
Herbert moreover struggled early until Ekeler scored the primary components of the game collectively along with his transient TD run midway through the second quarter.
The Colts took advantage of two personal foul calls that led to the ejection of Skilled Bowl safety Derwin James to drive for his or her solely ranking of the game, a 46-yard topic objective by Chase McLaughlin.
Nevertheless that was it for the Colts. Dicker’s two kicks made it 13-3, and Ekeler’s second scoring run sealed the victory.
Ekeler had 18 carries for 67 yards, grew to become the fourth participant in 15 years to achieve on the very least 15 TDs in back-to-back seasons and needs but yet one more catch to publish the sixth 100-catch season by a working once more in league historic previous.
Whereas Herbert went 24 of 31 and his three-game streak of 300-yard video video games ended, the numbers didn’t matter. The win did.
“It was strong to lose to the Raiders on the end (remaining 12 months),” Herbert talked about. “The blokes in that locker room deserve this. So it’ll be thrilling to have that chance.”
Foles was 17 of 29 for 143 yards and threw his remaining interception inside the third quarter. The Large Bowl MVP after the 2017 season with Philadelphia was sacked seven situations in his first NFL start since Dec. 26, 2021, with Chicago.
The Colts have already fired offensive coordinator Marcus Brady and coach Frank Reich and have benched quarterback Matt Ryan twice. Ryan was inactive behind Foles and backup Sam Ehlinger on Monday night.
Group proprietor Jim Irsay addressed the way in which ahead for his group all through an interview that aired on ESPN’s pregame current. Irsay talked about Saturday generally is a candidate to keep up the job subsequent season.
“I’ll go into it open-minded, and I will be looking out for among the finest path for us to win,” Irsay talked about. “Jeff I think about is a powerful candidate so, clearly, he’s aggressive for that. Chris Ballard will be our primary supervisor and the quarterback, it’s very lots up inside the air correct now on what path we’ll be going.”
James returned after missing two video video games with a quadriceps hurt, nevertheless he didn’t even make it through the first half.
Two performs after being often known as for a facemask when Michael Pittman Jr.’s helmet received right here off, James was flagged for hitting a defenseless receiver with the crown of the helmet and was ejected with 5:18 to play. The hit despatched Colts receiver Ashton Dulin to the locker room, and Dulin was finally dominated out with a concussion.
Staley talked about James moreover entered the concussion protocol, together with that the helmet-to-helmet hit was unintentional.
“He made an aggressive play nevertheless he didn’t intentionally go for the helmet,” Staley talked about.
Chargers: Return home to face the Rams in Sunday’s Battle of Los Angeles.
Colts: Shut out their freeway schedule with a New 12 months’s Day journey to the New York Giants.