Herbert rallies Chargers to 25-24 win over Cardinals

GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) — Justin Herbert threw a 1-yard touchdown pass to Austin Ekeler with 15 seconds left, then hit Gerald Everett for a 2-point conversion to give the Los Angeles Chargers a 25-24 win over the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday.

Ekeler just got into the end zone for the TD that moved the Chargers within one, capping a seven-play, 38-yard drive that lasted 1:33. The ball hit the pylon as he dived toward the corner.

That set up a bold call by coach Brandon Staley, who opted for the winning 2-pointer instead of a tying extra point. Herbert hit Everett for a clean catch despite plenty of traffic near the goal line.

Herbert completed 35 of 47 passes for 274 yards and three touchdowns for the Chargers (6-5), who snapped a two-game skid while staying in the thick of the AFC playoff race. Arizona (4-8) has lost four of five, leaving it with almost no shot at making the NFC playoff field.

The Cardinals took a 24-17 lead early in the fourth quarter when Kyler Murray threw a short pass to James Conner for a 6-yard touchdown. The veteran running back had 25 carries for 120 yards, his first 100-yard rushing game in two seasons with the Cardinals.

Murray threw for 191 yards, two touchdowns and an interception and ran for a score after missing the previous two games with a hamstring injury.

Arizona got some big defensive stops in the fourth quarter but the offense couldn't run out the clock. The Cardinals got the ball back with 2:19 left, but went three-and-out while running just 31 seconds off the clock.

DeAndre Carter had a 20-yard punt return, and a 5-yard penalty set up the Chargers deep in Cardinals territory for the winning drive.

Arizona took a 17-14 lead into halftime when Murray ran for a 5-yard touchdown just before the break, capping a 14-play, 75-yard drive.

The Cardinals had their top two receivers, DeAndre Hopkins and Marquise Brown, on the field for the first time this season. Arizona jumped to a 7-0 lead late in the first quarter when Murray threw a pass over the middle to Hopkins, who spun out of a tackle and sprinted to the end zone for a 33-yard touchdown.

Matt Prater's 43-yard field goal on the Cardinals' next drive made it 10-0.

The Chargers quickly cut that margin midway through the second when Herbert threw a 2-yard touchdown pass to Keenan Allen.

After Murray was intercepted, Herbert found Carter for a 33-yard touchdown and a 14-10 lead. Carter finished with seven catches for 73 yards along with the key punt return.


Chargers: WR Mike Williams (ankle) was inactive. ... RT Trey Pipkins III (knee) and C Corey Linsley (concussion) left the game in the second quarter.

Cardinals: WR Greg Dortch (thumb), WR Rondale Moore (groin) and CB Byron Murphy Jr. (back) were inactive. ... Arizona was missing four out its five starting offensive linemen. Left tackle D.J. Humphries (back) was put on injured reserve earlier this week.


Chargers: At Las Vegas next Sunday.

Cardinals: After a bye, host New England on Monday, Dec. 12.


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David Brandt, The Associated Press