Dustin Hopkins made four field goals, including a 39-yarder with 2:38 left in overtime, and the Los Angeles Chargers rallied to beat the Denver Broncos 19-16 on Monday night.
Hopkins, who injured his hamstring during the first half, grimaced as he kicked the ball and fell to the ground before being picked up by teammates. The nine-year-old was inactive for last week’s game against Cleveland with a quadriceps injury.
The Chargers have won three straight to improve to 4-2. They are tied with Kansas City atop the AFC West.
The game appeared headed for a tie until Denver’s Montrell Washington muffed JK Scott’s punt at the Broncos’ 32-yard line. It was picked off by Deane Leonard at the Denver 28-yard line.
Washington looked for a fair catch, but Denver safety PJ Locke didn’t hear Washington and tried to block Ja’Sir Taylor when Locke ran into Washington.
Justin Herbert, who finished 37 of 57 for 238 yards and an interception, passed to Mike Williams for 9 yards to bring Hopkins closer.
Russell Wilson was 15 of 28 for 188 yards and a touchdown for the Broncos (2-4), who dropped the game in overtime for the second straight week.
Denver jumped out to a 10-0 lead with scores on its first two drives. Brandon McManus had a 51-yarder midway through the first, and Wilson found a wide open Greg Dulcich for a 39-yard touchdown with 1:49 left in the quarter.
Wilson was able to escape the pressure, jump into the pocket and throw the ball up the right side to the rookie tight end, who caught it at the LA 15 and went untouched into the end zone for his first NFL touchdown. Dulcich, a third-round pick out of UCLA, was activated before the game after starting the season on injured reserve with a hamstring injury.
On the play before Dulcich’s score, Wilson eluded sack attempts by Khalil Mack and Chris Rumph II, scrambled right and connected with Jerry Jeudy for a 37-yard completion.
Dulcich’s TD was the Broncos’ first at 87 minutes, 54 seconds.
The Chargers answered on their ensuing possession, putting together a 15-play, 82-yard drive that was capped by Austin Ekeler’s 6-yard run up the middle, with Los Angeles linemen helping him over the goal line. The Chargers converted all four of their third-down opportunities — including Ekeler’s TD — on a drive that cut 7:40 down.
After a Denver three-and-out, Los Angeles tied the game at 10 on Hopkins’ 37-yard field goal with 53 seconds left in the half.
The Broncos weren’t content to run out the clock, though. KJ Hamler hauled in a 47-yard pass to the LA 28. Denver got to the Chargers 9 before McManus was good for a 27-yarder.
The Chargers tied the game on their first drive of the third quarter when Hopkins split the uprights from 31 yards out.
The teams traded field goals in the fourth quarter. McManus was good for 48 yards after Baron Browning picked off Herbert. The Chargers answered with Hopkins passing from the 35.
IT IS OVER
Herbert’s 26-game TD pass streak was snapped.
The teams combined for 19 penalties and a record 240 yards. The Broncos were flagged 10 times for 151 yards, marking the 24th time since 2000 that a team has drawn more than 150 penalty yards, according to TruMedia.
The Broncos had four pass interceptions for 87 yards.
Ron Torbert’s team was conservative entering the game. In their four previous contests this season, they averaged 12 punts for 92.8 yards.
Wilson’s first nine completions were to nine different players. According to the NFL, he is the first player to complete his first nine attempts of the game against nine different receivers since at least 1991, when play-by-play data was first recorded.
Shooters: RB Joshua Kelley suffered a knee injury in the first quarter and did not return. C Will Clapp, who started after Corey Linsley was inactive due to illness, left the game in the fourth quarter but returned.
Broncos: Host the surprising New York Jets on Sunday.
Chargers: Host the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday.