Final field goal seals fate for Falcons at home against San Diego in 33-30 OT loss
ATLANTA (AP) — Josh Lambo said kicking his game-winning field goal — his fourth of the game — was no more difficult than an extra point.
The hard work, according to the kicker, was handled by Denzel Perryman and San Diego’s defense.
Lambo’s 42-yard field goal in overtime gave San Diego its first road victory of the year, as the Chargers rallied from a 17-point deficit to beat the Atlanta Falcons 33-30 on Sunday.
Perryman, the linebacker still obviously affected by a
shoulder injury that forced him to miss the Chargers’ Oct. 9 loss to Oakland, delivered two key plays late in the game. His interception of Matt Ryan’s pass for Julio Jones set up Lambo’s tying 33-yard field goal with 18 seconds remaining in regulation.
Perryman’s fourth- and-1 stop on running back Devonta Freeman gave San Diego the ball at Atlanta’s 43 for the Chargers’ winning drive.
“Credit the defense,” Lambo said. “Everyone on the team is making my job easy.”
Perryman grabbed Freeman’s legs behind the line for the key tackle on the Falcons’ gamble.
“It was just instincts,” Perryman said. “On fourth- and- 1, it was a no-brainer that they were going to run the ball. ... I just got Freeman’s leg and hung on.”
Falcons coach Dan Quinn stood by the play call even though Freeman lost two yards on a run three plays earlier.
“Just a gut feeling I had,” Quinn said of the fourth-down decision. “Go be aggressive and get that half yard that we needed and when we didn’t get it that was (the loss).”
The Chargers ( 3- 4) trailed 27-10 in the second quarter after the Falcons scored three straight touchdowns.
“There was no panic,” said Chargers coach Mike McCoy. “There was nothing. It was just, ‘Hey, you’ve got to believe in what we’re doing.’ It’s just one play at a time.”
Melvin Gordon ran for 68 yards and two touchdowns and added a 5-yard scoring catch early in the fourth quarter, cutting Atlanta’s lead to 30-27.
Atlanta’s Matt Bryant missed his attempt for a 58-yard field goal on the final play of regulation.
The Falcons (4-3) have lost two straight.
“It’s frustrating,” said offensive tackle Jake Matthews. “We were up big and let it get away.”
Jones had nine catches for 174 yards.
Protest: Five San Diego players raised their clenched right fists as their protest during the national anthem. Standing together on the San Diego sideline, offensive linemen D.J. Fluker, Chris Hairston and Joe Barksdale and linebacker Joshua Perry held up their fists as they stood. Offensive tackle Tyreek Burwell, inactive and not in uniform, also raised his fist as part of the protest.
There were no demonstrations from Falcons players.
Long road: The Chargers had lost 10 of 11 road games. The stretch that began with the final road game in 2014 included losses in San Diego’s first three road games this season.
200 again: Ryan passed for 273 yards for his NFL-record 46th consecutive game with more than 200 yards passing. He threw a 17-yard scoring pass to tight end Jacob Tamme in the second quarter.
Throwback: The Falcons wore black jerseys in what they called a “modern interpretation” of their 1966 uniforms. Due to NFL safety rules which require teams to use only one helmet, they wore their normal black helmets, though they switched to the original Falcons logo. They wore red helmets in 1966.
Injuries: Chargers defensive tackle Caraun Reid was carted off with a left knee injury in the first quarter and did not return. Reid had a teammate fall on his leg on a Falcons completion to tight end Levine Toilolo.
Tevin Coleman led Atlanta with 64 yards rushing, including a 30-yard touchdown run, before leaving with a hamstring injury. Quinn said he had no immediate update on the severity of the injury.
Up next: The Chargers visit Denver next Sunday, while the Falcons play another home game against Green Bay.
Atlanta Falcons running back Tevin Coleman (26) runs into the end zone for a touchdown against the Chargers on Oct. 23.
San Diego Chargers kicker Josh Lambo (2) kicks the game winning field goal against the Atlanta Falcons in overtime of an NFL football game between the Atlanta Falcons and the San Diego Chargers, Sunday, Oct. 23, 2016, in Atlanta. The Chargers won 33-30.