By LARRY LAGE
AP Sports Writer
Los Angeles Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers (17) walks off the field in the second half of an NFL football game against the Detroit Lions in Detroit, Sunday, Sept. 15, 2019. Detroit won 13-10. (AP Photo/Duane Burleson)
Los Angeles Chargers head coach Anthony Lynn, left, and Detroit Lions head coach Matt Patricia talk after an NFL football game in Detroit, Sunday, Sept. 15, 2019. Detroit won 13-10. (AP Photo/Rick Osentoski)
Detroit Lions cornerback Darius Slay (23) celebrates his interception against the Los Angeles Chargers in the fourth quarter of an NFL football game in Detroit, Sunday, Sept. 15, 2019. (AP Photo/Rick Osentoski)
Los Angeles Chargers punter Ty Long (1) reacts to missing a field goal as Detroit Lions defensive back Dee Virgin (30) reacts in the second half of an NFL football game in Detroit, Sunday, Sept. 15, 2019. (AP Photo/Duane Burleson)
Los Angeles Chargers running back Justin Jackson (22) runs the ball as Detroit Lions outside linebacker Christian Jones (52) defends in the second half of an NFL football game in Detroit, Sunday, Sept. 15, 2019. (AP Photo/Rick Osentoski)
Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford (9) throws in the first half of an NFL football game against the Los Angeles Chargers in Detroit, Sunday, Sept. 15, 2019. (AP Photo/Duane Burleson)
Los Angeles Chargers defensive end Joey Bosa (97) and Isaac Rochell (98) celebrate in the first half of an NFL football game against the Detroit Lions in Detroit, Sunday, Sept. 15, 2019. (AP Photo/Duane Burleson)
Detroit Lions kicker Matt Prater (5) reacts to missing an extra point in the first half of an NFL football game against the Los Angeles Chargers in Detroit, Sunday, Sept. 15, 2019. (AP Photo/Duane Burleson)
Los Angeles Chargers defensive back Brandon Facyson (28) brings Detroit Lions wide receiver Kenny Golladay (19) down after a reception in the first half of an NFL football game in Detroit, Sunday, Sept. 15, 2019. (AP Photo/Duane Burleson)
Los Angeles Chargers running back Austin Ekeler (30) scores on a one-yard touchdown run in the first half of an NFL football game against the Detroit Lions in Detroit, Sunday, Sept. 15, 2019. (AP Photo/Duane Burleson)
Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford (9) throws against the Los Angeles Chargers in the first half an NFL football game against the Los Angeles Chargers in Detroit, Sunday, Sept. 15, 2019. (AP Photo/Rick Osentoski)
Los Angeles Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers throws in the first half of an NFL football game in Detroit, Sunday, Sept. 15, 2019. (AP Photo/Duane Burleson)
DETROIT (AP) Matthew Stafford and Darius Slay had a lot to do with the Los Angeles Chargers leading the Lions for three-plus quarters.
And, both players bounced back in the final minutes to lift Detroit to a 13-10 victory Sunday.
Stafford threw a go-ahead, 31-yard touchdown pass to Kenny Golladay midway through the fourth quarter and Slay made an interception in the end zone with 1:03 left.
Detroit (1-0-1) overcame Stafford's two interceptions, Slay getting outplayed by Keenan Allen and Matt Prater missing an extra point and a field goal.
''I'm doing this team a disservice if I shut down after two picks,'' Stafford said.
The Chargers (1-1) were in a position to attempt a 45-yard field goal to tie the game, but Philip Rivers tried to force a pass to Allen and Slay picked it off.
Allen had his way with Slay for much of the day, making eight catches for 98 yards.
''I feel like I was putting on a clinic and then to come down to the last play and he makes a play,'' Allen said.
The Lions failed to make plays on both sides of the ball in the opener, blowing an 18-point lead in the fourth quarter and settling for a tie at Arizona. Stafford converted a third-down pass to Jesse James with just under a minute left - a week after a timeout was called just before Stafford completed a pass that could've sealed a win over the Cardinals.
During much of Detroit's home-opening game, though, it looked as though the franchise would have to wait at least another week to earn a win.
Austin Ekeler leaped over the goal line for a 1-yard TD on the Chargers' second drive.
Detroit scored a TD on the ensuing possession with a screen pass that Kerryon Johnson bobbled before securing and sprinting for a 36-yard reception, but Prater muted some of the cheers by missing an extra point to the left. Prater also missed a 40-yard field goal to the right in the second quarter.
The Chargers went from their 3 to the Detroit 21 in 1:16, setting up Ty Long's 39-yard field goal as time expired in the first half to give them a 10-6 lead.
Stafford threw a long pass up for grabs in the end zone early in the third quarter and cornerback Casey Hayward came down with it. Stafford had thrown 181 passes without an interception, which was the NFL's longest active streak.
The Chargers had two TDs negated by flags on the next drive and a penalty by Detroit gave Los Angeles the ball at the 1. Ekeler tried to dive into the end zone again for a score, but rookie Jahlani Tavai forced him to fumble and linebacker Devon Kennard recovered it.
Los Angeles got in position to score again in the third, but Long missed a 39-yard field goal by hitting the left upright. The punter was filling in for kicker Michael Badgley, who missed a second straight game with a groin injury.
Stafford helped the Chargers keep their lead on the next possession, trying to force a deep pass to Marvin Jones and getting it easily picked off by safety Rayshawn Jenkins.
''I felt like that third quarter, it was right there for us to blow the doors off,'' Rivers said. ''And then we kept letting it stay at 10-6.''
Los Angeles opted to attempt a 41-yard kick instead of going for it on fourth-and-1 at the Detroit 23 and Long couldn't convert on the field goal early in the fourth quarter.
Detroit coach Matt Patricia chose to pass, instead of kick, on a fourth-and-1 on the ensuing drive and Stafford converted on a pass to Jones to set up his go-ahead throw to Golladay on the next snap.
''That was a laser,'' Patricia said, reflecting on Stafford's throw to Jones. ''I don't know if Marvin caught it or if it just stuck in his chest.''
Rivers converted a third-and-10 with a 12-yard run early in the next drive for his longest run since the 2014 season before getting picked off.
HE SAID IT
''There's a lot of bad football in September,'' Patricia said.
Chargers: Rivers was 21 of 36 for 293 yards and an interception. Ekeler finished with 67 yards receiving and 66 yards rushing for his second straight game with 100-plus yards from scrimmage.
Lions: Stafford was 22 of 30 for 245 yards with two TDs and two interceptions. Golladay had eight receptions for 117 yards. Johnson had 88 yards from scrimmage.
Chargers: CB Michael Davis (hamstring) was inactive. S Adrian Phillips left early in the fourth quarter with a forearm injury.
Lions: OT Taylor Decker (back) and LB Jarrad Davis (ankle) were inactive.
Chargers: Host Houston on Sunday.
Lions: Play at Philadelphia on Sunday.
Los Angeles Chargers backup kicker Chase McLaughlin did about as well as could be expected on Sunday as he was able to knock through one of the two field goal tries he was given. His other attempt glanced off the left upright, skittering across the end zone. McLaughlin shouldn't be expected to have much of a future with LA, but with primary kicker Michael Badgley still considered week-to-week with a groin injury, he may have a little play. Unfortunately, LA's offense has struggled mightily as of late, so even if McLaughlin does get the job for a while, he's probably not interesting to the vast majority of the fantasy community.
Coming off of a bye and facing one of the league's most generous defenses, the stars seemed to be aligned for Miami Dolphins quarterback Josh Rosen to show his true talent in Week 6. Rosen was instead benched to start the fourth quarter after throwing for just 85 yards on 15-of-25 passing, leading Miami to only three points before departing with zero touchdowns and two interceptions. While head coach Brian Flores did confirm after the game that Rosen is still the starter, the second-year quarterback on his second team just simply isn't viable in any format. Rosen should be left on the waiver wire again next week, as he and the Dolphins have a tough matchup against a stingy Buffalo defense.
For the third straight week, Los Angeles Chargers wide receiver Keenan Allen was effectively neutralized. Allen caught just three passes for 33 yards as Pittsburgh basically removed him from the action. This now makes three straight games in which Allen has been held under 50 yards receiving, and LA has gone on to lose two of those matchups. It appears opposing defenses are starting to key in on Allen as a catalyst for the offense, and the Chargers haven't been able to make them pay in the process. Allen got off to a quick start this season and looked like he'd be in the running for the top wideout in the league, but now it's just up in the air whether he's worthy of starting week in and week out.
Los Angeles Chargers safety Rayshawn Jenkins was able to provide a moment of happiness for Chargers fans on Sunday when he made a beautiful diving stab to snatch an interception away on a deep pass. Jenkins' play helped act as a catalyst to allow LA to get back into the game when they were down by three touchdowns, and the offense was able to turn the change in possession into a touchdown a few minutes later. Jenkins and the rest of the Chargers Defense played a decent game against Pittsburgh and their third-string quarterback getting his first ever start, but they still struggled to generate any pressure on the quarterback. After a second straight loss, they'll need to step it up over the next few weeks if they want to stop the slide.
Los Angeles Chargers wide receiver Mike Williams was Philip Rivers' favorite target on Sunday night, but he was only able to haul in half the throws. Rivers struggled mightily from the pocket, but Williams worked well as an outlet while No. 1 wideout Keenan Allen seemed to be focused on by the defense. Williams finished with 72 yards receiving, and while he didn't find the end zone, he came up just short on multiple occasions. The return of Hunter Henry will only further cut into Williams' targets in most games, but now that teams have seen LA's offense struggle two weeks in a row when Allen was neutralized, Williams may see an uptick as a way to try to counteract how teams scheme for the Chargers.
The Denver Broncos Defense had their best game of the season so far, as they blanked the Tennessee Titans in a shutout win. The Broncos were all over the field, forcing seven sacks and three interceptions while holding the Titans to just over 200 yards. This is has been the most impressive performance from the Denver Defense this year, but they have no easy task ahead of them as they face the lethal Patrick Mahomes led Kansas City Chiefs in Week 7.
Los Angeles Chargers running back Austin Ekeler was already expected to see a drop in usage due to the full return of Melvin Gordon, but he was further buried when the team was suddenly down 14 points before the end of the first quarter. While Ekeler has the ability to be a star, and he showed that ability in the first few games of the season, he's held down by the situation he's in. Gordon will see the majority of carries, and Ekeler will easily become a victim of circumstances. This game isn't enough to predict his entire future since the whole team played terribly, but anyone still holding on to Ekeler should be very concerned about what lies ahead.
Los Angeles Chargers tight end Hunter Henry was everything people thought he would be and more. Henry was basically the only bright spot for the Chargers on Sunday night as he snagged eight of the nine passes sent in his direction and tallied 100 yards and two touchdowns. Henry showed off some incredible awareness on his first touchdown catch, getting his second foot down just centimeters from the back line of the end zone. His second was a bit easier, mostly because Pittsburgh went into a very soft defense since LA was down by two touchdowns with less than 90 seconds left in the game. It's highly unlikely Henry can put up these kinds of numbers every week, but Philip Rivers has wonderful history with his tight ends. Henry is a good target for fantasy owners.
Denver Broncos wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders had his game shortened this afternoon as he exited with a knee injury. Before leaving the contest, Sanders only managed to haul in one catch for zero yards. It is not believed that the veteran receiver's injury is serious, and despite having a short week ahead of him there is a chance that Sanders returns to action next week against the Kansas City Chiefs.
Los Angeles Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers played poorly on Sunday as the Chargers lost to the Steelers. Rivers was responsible for turnovers on back-to-back drives in the first quarter when he overthrew Melvin Gordon on a backwards pass that was recovered and returned for a touchdown and had a tipped pass intercepted four plays later. With the Chargers in a 14-0 hole before the end of the first quarter, Rivers settled down and racked up a ton of yards through the air, finishing with 320. Unfortunately, the team wouldn't actually get on the board until the end of the third quarter, and Rivers would float a desperation pass at the end of the fourth quarter that would be intercepted to end the comeback. Rivers did tally a pair of passing touchdowns on the day, but his poor play was a major reason why LA lost on Sunday.
Los Angeles Chargers running back Melvin Gordon was a bit of an afterthought in Sunday's game against the Steelers. He was likely a major part of the original gameplan, but before the offense could run their 11th play from scrimmage, they had already turned the ball over twice and were down 14 points. At that point, the gameplan changed and Philip Rivers was tapped to air it out. Gordon would only touch the ball seven more times for the rest of the game. To compound his uselessness, Gordon wasn't very productive in his limited touches, but it's hard to figure out who to pin the blame on when the offensive line is a mix of bad players and backups who are in because of injuries and the running back is still getting his sea legs under him. Don't be surprised if there are more growing pains ahead.
Called upon in the fourth quarter to take over an offense that had thus far been stagnant, Miami Dolphins quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick almost pulled out Miami's first win of the season in Week 6 before ultimately losing to the Washington Redskins 17-16. Fitzpatrick entered the game and led the Dolphins on two touchdown drives, including an 11-yard touchdown pass to Devante Parker with six seconds left in the game that put the Dolphins down just 17-16. Electing to go for two, Fitzpatrick found an open Kenyan Drake in the flat but Drake was unable to haul the pass in, ensuring that Miami keeps on rolling towards 0-16 and the number-one pick in the draft. Even with the near-heroics, head coach Randy Flores says Josh Rosen will remain the starter going forward, making Fitzpatrick unplayable in fantasy until further notice.
Denver Broncos tight end Noah Fant disappointed against the Tennessee Titans on Sunday afternoon, posting an abysmal stat line. The rookie tight end managed only two catches for 16 yards on the game, a part of what has been a lackluster rookie season thus far for the first-round draft pick. Fant has struggled to find a consistent role in Denver's lacking passing attack, but the volume and playing time continues to be present. Fant lines up against the Kansas City Chiefs next week on Thursday night.
Denver Broncos kicker Brandon McManus had his best game to date this afternoon against the Tennessee Titans. The seasoned Bronco connected on all three of his field-goal attempts, hitting from 31, 48, and 53 yards out. He also hit on his lone extra-point try. McManus continues to be a solid option on a weekly basis to leave in your kicker spot and you can trust him to get you points.
Denver Broncos wide receiver Courtland Sutton continues to see high volume in the Broncos offensive scheme and is becoming the clear number one receiver in the team's system. Life, Death, and Courtland Sutton receiving over seven targets, this narrative stayed true in Week 6 as Sutton had eight balls thrown his way and hauled four in for 76 yards receiving. The young buck hopes to continue his successes next week against the Kansas City Chiefs in a divisional matchup on Thursday night.
Los Angeles Rams tight end Tyler Higbee caught three balls for 25 yards in the Week 6 loss to the San Francisco 49ers. The Rams only threw for 78 yards in a miserable game. Higbee actually led the team with those 25 yards receiving. He just doesn't produce enough to crack the lineup. Keep him on the bench against the Atlanta Falcons next week.
Los Angeles Rams tight end Gerald Everett caught just two passes for nine yards in the Week 6 loss to the San Francisco 49ers. The Rams only threw for 78 yards as a team. Everett was targeted five times. He'll have a better matchup against the Atlanta Falcons next week, but he falls back to a high-end TE2 that may not make the fantasy lineup.
The Los Angeles Rams Defense allowed 20 points, recorded two sacks and picked off one pass against the San Francisco 49ers in Week 6. The Rams will have a so-so matchup against the Atlanta Falcons in Week 7. However, the Rams' unit hasn't been productive enough to hold onto at this point.
Denver Broncos quarterback Joe Flacco posted one of his worst fantasy performances of the season thus far in Week 6, continuing his struggles this season. Denver has seemed to figure out how to win games in the last two weeks, and unfortunately for Joe Flacco owners, the passing game doesn't seem to be that solution. The veteran signal-caller threw for only 177 yards and zero touchdowns alongside one interception. The Broncos continue to lean on the run game, leaving a daunting matchup for Flacco's stock as they face off against the Kansas City Chiefs on Thursday evening.
Arizona Cardinals running back Chase Edmonds had five carries for 34 yards and caught two balls for 33 yards and a touchdown in the Week 6 win over the Atlanta Falcons. Edmonds pitched in even with running back David Johnson (back) handling a full workload. Edmonds needs to be owned, but he's not likely to see enough work to continue to be in the flex discussion. The Cards have a solid matchup against the New York Giants next week, which could give Edmonds another chance to contribute.