Elliott kicks Eagles past reeling Chargers
CARSON, Calif. — Philadelphia Eagles kicker Jake Elliott knows the truth about his position: you’re only as good as your last effort.
But it in Elliott’s case, it’s his last six kicks.
Elliott kicked four field goals and Carson Wentz threw for a touchdown as the Philadelphia Eagles defeated the Los Angeles Chargers 26-24 at the StubHub Center on Sunday.
The Eagles (3-1) won their second consecutive road game while the Chargers (0-4) have lost nine straight dating to last season and 27 of 36 contests.
Elliott, a rookie, was an unlikely star for the second week in a row. After setting a franchise record with two late clutch kicks, including the 61-yard, game-winning field goal against the New York Giants, he was on target again. All four of his attempts on Sunday were from at least 40 yards, with a long of 53.
“I’m just taking it one kick at a time,” Elliott said “Now I have to forget about this one and prepare for another game.”
The Eagles can’t dislodge their memory from last year. It’s the one that has them losing tight games which derailed what could have been a successful season.
“We lost the close ones last year and that was why we didn’t make the playoffs,” Philadelphia center Jason Kelce said. “The fact that we are closing games out is a good sign. But we have to keep going.”
The Chargers are tobogganing in the opposite direction. While they lost by 14 to the Chiefs, their other losses have come by three, two and two points
“It’s been a tough stretch,” quarterback Philip Rivers said. “To say the least.”
Something else that’s clear: the Eagles ran the ball down the Chargers’ throat. Philly rushed for 214 yards, with LeGarrette Blount’s 136 yards on 16 carries leading everyone.
“They give you a lot of underneath stuff, but it’s hard to go down the field on them,” Kelce said. “So you have to run the ball.”
Conversely, the Chargers’ ground attack remains stuck in the muck, able to total just 58 yards. Melvin Gordon was held to 22 yards on 10 rushes.
“We do need to run the ball better,” Rivers said.
Eagles left tackle Jason Peters said the Chargers faded as the game lengthened.
“They wore down in the third quarter going into the fourth quarter,” he said.
Hunter Henry’s 4-yard touchdown catch pulled the Chargers to within two points with six minutes remaining. Wendell Smallwood’s 2-yard plunge in the fourth quarter had forged a 26-17 Eagles lead.
Austin Ekeler’s 35-yard scoring run in the fourth quarter produced his first NFL touchdown and sliced the Chargers’ deficit to 19-17.
Los Angeles’ Keenan Allen paced the receivers with 138 yards on five catches.
“We did some good things, but it just wasn’t enough,” Rivers said. “We have to be more consistent.”
Elliott kicked his third field goal late in the third quarter from 47 yards for a 19-10 advantage.
When Elliott nailed a 53-yarder, it supplied a 16-7 edge.
Rivers clicked with Tyrell Williams for a 75-yard touchdown on a crossing route in the second quarter that got the Chargers back in the game. It was Rivers’ first scoring pass since the third quarter of Week 2.
Chris Long ran down Rivers for a sack and forced a fumble, which was recovered by Derek Barnett. Wentz hit Alshon Jeffery from 8 yards out for an early 7-0 lead.
The Eagles inflated their cushion to 10-0 on Elliott’s 45-yard field goal in the first quarter’s final seconds.
Elliott’s second field goal, from 40 yards, pushed Philadelphia ahead 13-0 midway through the second quarter.
NOTES: Eagles DT Fletcher Cox (calf) and CB Ronald Darby (ankle) were unable to play. ... DE Brandon Graham played in his 100th regular-season game. ... Chargers LB Chris McCain (elbow) and LG Matt Slauson (arm) exited the game. ... Former Chargers QB Ryan Leaf was in attendance as a guest of NFL commissioner Roger Goodell. It was Goodell’s second game in Carson. ... Sunday was the last of three straight home games for the Chargers. Three of their next four games are on the road.