Michael Badgley kicked a tie-breaking 22-yard field goal with eight minutes, 56 seconds to play as the Los Angeles Chargers overcame a 10-point fourth-quarter deficit to defeat the Cincinnati Bengals, 16-13, Sunday in the 2020 season opener for both teams at Cincinnati.
The Bengals had a chance to re-tie the score, driving from their 18-yard line to the Chargers’ 3, but had an apparent touchdown nullified by an offensive pass interference penalty and Randy Bullock missed a 31-yard field goal attempt wide right on the next play with two seconds left.
Badgley’s third field goal came eight plays after linebacker Nick Vigil recovered a fumble by Cincinnati halfback Joe Mixon at the Bengals’ 24-yard line.
The Chargers tied the score on rookie Joshua Kelley’s 5-yard touchdown run with 12:23 remaining, culminating a 10-play, 55-yard drive that consumed 4:09. Tyrod Taylor completed all three of his passes of the drive for 25 yards, including a 16-yard completion to Jalen Guyton, the first reception of his two-season, four-game NFL career.
The Chargers were held to two Badgley field goals in their first nine possessions when they punted four times, three times after three plays, turned the ball over on downs twice and Badgley missed a 50-yard field goal attempt wide right on the opening series of the second half.
The Chargers outgained Cincinnati, 362 yards to 295 and led 30:10-29:50 in time of possession. Both teams had 19 first downs in the game played at Paul Brown Stadium with no fans present because of restrictions related to the coronavirus pandemic.
Taylor completed 16 of 30 passes for 208 yards in the Chargers first official game since Dec. 31, 2005 when someone other than Philip Rivers was their starting quarterback. On Feb. 10, the Chargers announced they and Rivers mutually agreed that he would enter free agency and not return to the team for the 2020 season, eventually signing with the Indianapolis Colts.
Joe Burrow completed 23 of 36 passes for 193 yards with one interception in his NFL debut. The 2019 Heisman Trophy winner and first choice in the 2020 draft ran 23 yards on the Bengals’ fourth possession for their lone touchdown. It was Cincinnati’s longest play.
Bullock kicked 50- and 43-yard field goals in the third quarter to increase the Bengals’ lead to 13-6.
Badgley kicked a 24-yard field goal 7:10 before halftime, five plays after Taylor’s 37-yard pass to Mike Williams, the Chargers’ longest play, and a 9-yard unnecessary roughness penalty against Cincinnati safety Jessie Bates gave them a first down on the Bengals’ 9-yard line.
Badgley’s 43-yard field goal as time expired in the first half cut the deficit to 7-6.
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