The Washington Post

Defense falls short


Washington’s defense, which is expected to be the strength of the team, struggled to get off the field all afternoon. The Chargers set the tone on the opening possession with a 75-yard touchdown march, one of Los Angeles’s five drives of at least 10 plays, and finished with a 12-minute advantage in time of possession. If not for a couple of Chargers turnovers in the red zone, including one on a fumble that appeared to be an incomplete pass, the final score could have been much worse.

The Chargers were 14 for 19 on third down, including 4 for 4 on a 15-play drive that took the final 6:43 off the clock. Defensive coordinato­r Jack Del Rio’s unit had no answer for Justin Herbert, who completed 31 of 47 passes for 337 yards with one touchdown and one intercepti­on.

Herbert was at his best with Los Angeles protecting a fourpoint lead in the fourth quarter. After Washington Coach Ron Rivera decided to punt on fourth and seven from the Los Angeles 40-yard line, the reigning offensive rookie of the year made sure Heinicke wouldn’t touch the ball again.

On third and 16 from the Los Angeles 12, he found Keenan Allen for a 17-yard gain. Two minutes later, he found KJ Hill Jr. open over the middle for a 19-yard gain on third and three. The nail in the coffin was another completion over the middle to Allen.

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