Michael Badgley kicked a tie-breaking field goal as the Los Angeles Chargers overcame the Cincinnati Bengals, winning their season opener 16-13 on Sunday.
The Chargers narrowly held off the Bengals at Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati with no fans in attendance due to COVID-19 restrictions.
The Bengals had a chance, driving from their 18-yard line to the Chargers’ 3, but had an apparent touchdown nullified by an offensive pass interference penalty.
Randy Bullock missed a 31-yard field goal attempt wide right on the next play with two seconds left.
Badgley’s third field goal, at 22 yards, came eight plays after linebacker Nick Vigil recovered a fumble by Cincinnati halfback Joe Mixon.
The Chargers had tied the score on rookie Joshua Kelley’s touchdown with 12:23 remaining, culminating a 10-play, 55-yard drive.
Quarterback Tyrod Taylor completed all three of his passes in the drive for 25 yards. They included a 16-yard completion to Jalen Guyton for the first reception of his four-game NFL career.
The Chargers were held to two Badgley field goals in their first nine possessions. They punted four times, three times after just three plays, and turned the ball over on downs twice.
Badgley also 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 in time of possession.
Taylor completed 16 of 30 passes for 208 yards in the Chargers first game since Dec. 31, 2005 with someone other than Philip Rivers as their starting quarterback.
On Feb. 10, the Chargers announced that had mutually agreed that Rivers would enter free agency. He signed with the Indianapolis Colts. The Colts lost their first game with him Sunday, 27-20.
Joe Burrow completed 23 of 36 passes for 193 yards with one interception in his NFL debut with the Bengals. The 2019 Heisman Trophy winner and first choice in the 2020 draft ran 23 yards on the Bengals’ fourth possession for their lone touchdown.
Badgley kicked a 24-yard field goal seven minutes before halftime, five plays after Taylor’s 37-yard pass to Mike Williams. 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.
The Chargers play their first game at the new SoFi Stadium in Inglewood on Sept. 20 against the Kansas City Chiefs. Their co-tenant, the Los Angeles Rams opened play at the stadium Sunday with a 20-17 win over the Dallas Cowboys.
– City News Service