Austin Ekeler’s third touchdown of the day, a 7-yard run with 5:01 left in overtime Sunday, lifted the Los Angeles Chargers to a season-opening 30-24 win over the Indianapolis Colts in Carson, Calif.
Starting in place of holdout Melvin Gordon, Ekeler rushed for 58 yards on 12 carries while catching six passes for 96 yards and two scores. Veteran quarterback Philip Rivers hit on 25 of 34 passes for 333 yards and three touchdowns with one interception.
Indianapolis forced overtime with 38 seconds left on a 19-yard touchdown pass from Jacoby Brissett to T.Y. Hilton, followed by a 2-point conversion run from Marlon Mack. It polished off a 16-play, 80-yard drive that consumed 7:52.
In his first start after the sudden retirement of Andrew Luck on August 24, Brissett completed 21 of 27 passes for 190 yards and two scores. Mack ran roughshod on the Chargers’ defense, rolling up 174 yards on 25 carries, including a 63-yard score.
But the Colts never saw the ball in overtime after tying the score, as Los Angeles drove 75 yards on eight plays to earn the result.
Los Angeles initiated scoring with 2:55 left in the first quarter as Rivers connected with Ekeler on a 1-yard touchdown pass, capping an 11-play, 68-yard drive that lasted 6:15.
Indianapolis answered back with a 4-yard scoring strike from Brissett to Hilton at the 10:02 mark of the second quarter, finishing a 14-play, 75-yard march that burned nearly eight minutes. But Adam Vinatieri sprayed the extra-point attempt wide right.
The Chargers controlled the half’s remainder. Rivers hit Keenan Allen in double coverage with a 28-yard touchdown pass with 5:58 remaining, followed by a 40-yard field goal from punter Ty Long — filling in for injured kicker Michael Badgley — with 1:02 on the clock that made it 17-6 at halftime.
Vinatieri converted from 44 yards out less than four minutes into the third quarter, but Ekeler caught a 55-yard scoring strike from Rivers with 8:27 left for a 24-9 advantage. However, Mack zoomed 63 yards off the left side 37 seconds later to bring the Colts back within a score.
Vinatieri also missed two field goals, from 46 and 29 yards.
—Field Level Media