The Chargers celebrate, but Carolina still prevailed. Photo credit: Mike Nowak, Los Angeles Chargers

The Los Angeles Chargers committed four turnovers which the Carolina Panthers converted into 12 points in a 21-16 home loss Sunday at SoFi Stadium.

The Chargers were limited to Austin Ekeler’s 12-yard touchdown run on the second play of the second quarter on their first seven possessions. They committed three turnovers and punted three times on the other six.

After trailing 18-7 at halftime, the Chargers scored on a 41-yard field goal from Michael Badgley with one minute, 18 seconds left in the third quarter and rookie quarterback Justin Herbert’s 14-yard touchdown pass to Keenan Allen with 4:39 remaining. That cut the deficit to 21-16.

Herbert’s pass intended for Allen on a two-point conversion attempt landed incomplete.

The Chargers (1-2), though, got the ball back one final time, on their own 1-yard line with 1:46 to play after long snapper J.J. Jansen downed Joseph Charlton’s 39-yard punt.

The punt was originally ruled a touchback, but upon further review an official reversed the ruling on the field, determining Jansen had control of the ball, stopping the play, according to Al Riveron, the NFL’s senior vice president of officiating.

Five consecutive completions by Herbert and a roughing-the-passer penalty against Carolina defensive end Yetur Gross-Matos advanced the ball to the Panthers’ 44-yard line.

Herbert completed a 21-yard pass to Allen on the next play, then spiked the ball, giving the Chargers a second-and-10 from the Panthers’ 23-yard line with 12 seconds left.

A five-yard false start penalty against offensive tackle Trey Pipkins backed the ball to the Carolina 28. Herbert’s long second-down pass intended for Allen went incomplete.

Herbert completed a pass to Allen at the Panthers’ 14-yard line with two seconds left. Allen attempted a lateral to Ekeler, who was unable to catch the ball, and Carolina defensive end Efe Obada recovered with no time left on the clock.

Herbert completed 35 of 49 passes for 330 yards and one touchdown, one interception and a fumble lost when he was sacked during his second start for the Chargers.

Tyrod Taylor missed his second consecutive game following a pregame injection which inadvertently punctured his lung last Sunday. The shot had been intended to numb fractured ribs sustained in the Sept. 13 opener.

The Chargers out-gained the Panthers, 436-302, led 26-14 in first downs and 31:12-28:48 in time of possession.

This is the sixth consecutive season the Chargers have lost at least two of their first three games. They have only qualified for the playoffs once during that span.

The loss was the Chargers sixth in seven games against Carolina.

– City News Service

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