Detroit Lions, Los Angeles Chargers head into Sunday meeting trying to hold onto late leads
By LARRY LAGE
AP Sports Writer
DETROIT — The Los Angeles Chargers and Detroit Lions got off to solid starts in their openers, building double-digit leads in the second half before blowing them and going to overtime.
Los Angeles led Indianapolis by 15 points midway through the third quarter and salvaged a victory on Austin Ekeler’s third touchdown with 5:01 left in the extra period.
“You won, but there’s a still a feeling that we weren’t at our best and that’s a heavy feeling,” Chargers defensive coordinator Gus Bradley said.
Detroit failed to keep an 18-point lead in the fourth quarter at Arizona and wound up in a tie.
To make the setback sting even more for the Lions, they made an ill-timed decision with 2:47 left. With the play clock winding down, Matthew Stafford snapped the ball just after a timeout was called and completed a third-and-5 pass that would have picked up a first down and put Detroit in a favorable position to win.
Stafford appeared to scream, “trust me,” on the sideline because the 11-year veteran wanted the coaches to let him manage the game.
“I’m not too worried about that,” Stafford insisted days later, surrounded by reporters. “We’ve moved past it, probably better than you guys.”
Detroit’s Damon “Snacks” Harrison, a run-stuffing defensive tackle, took the season-opening tie personally. Harrison tweeted that he was dominated at Arizona after he made only one tackle.
“Anytime we don’t come out with a win and we have the type of defensive performance we had, I feel like it’s on me,” he said. “I got broad shoulders. I can take the blame.”
Lions offensive tackle Taylor Decker is coming off a lackluster game, giving up two sacks and getting called for four penalties, and he’s on the injury report this week with a back injury.