NEW ORLEANS – Wil Lutz kicked a 36-yard field goal with 5:08 left in overtime and New Orleans' defense stopped Chargers receiver Mike Williams just short on fourth down to preserve a 30-27 victory over seemingly star-crossed Los Angeles on Monday night.
Chargers kicker Michael Badgley, who missed his first career point-after kick wide right in the first quarter, had a chance to redeem himself after Williams' leaping catch between two defenders put the Chargers on the Saints' 32-yard line in the final seconds. But Badgley's 50-yard kick as time expired bounced off the right upright.
“The young man has been kicking outstanding. He’s got to do better but we could have done some other things better,” Chargers coach Anthony Lynn said.
Drew Brees rushed for a 1-yard touchdown and hit tight end Jared Cook for a 41-yard score as the Saints rallied from a 17-point deficit in the second quarter.
“This is how you grow as a team," Brees said. "This is how you become battle-tested — and I think it pays dividends.”
Rookie Justin Herbert's fourth touchdown pass of the game, a 64-yarder to Michael Williams, briefly put Los Angeles back in front before the Saints (3-2) tied it on Taysom Hill's 9-yard run with 52 seconds left in regulation.
The Chargers (1-4) fell to their fourth straight loss by a touchdown or less, and the second in overtime. They also blew a 17-point lead for a second straight game.
“Never thought this team would lose four straight. We’ve put ourselves in position, but we didn’t get it done,” Lynn said. “We have to finish these damn games.”
Herbert, who was named the starter for the remainder of the season this week, finished 20 of 34 for 264 yards without an turnover. Five of his completions went to Williams for 109 yards and two TDs.
Brees finished 33 of 47 for 325 yards, including 12 completions to Emmanuel Sanders for 122 yards. Kamara had 119 yards from scrimmage, highlighted by his leaping, juggling catch along the right sideline over the head of safety Rayshawn Jenkins to set up Hill's tying TD.
The Chargers became the first team to lose 17-point leads in consecutive weeks since the 2003 Atlanta Falcons. For the Chargers, both have come on the road against an NFC South team led by a quarterback older than 40.
In Week 4, it was Tampa Bay’s Tom Brady, a six-time Super Bowl winner. This week it was Brees -- the NFL’s all-time leader in completions, yards and touchdowns.
Brees’ dive over a pile of linemen at the goal line made it 20-10 14 seconds before halftime.
Lutz’ 53-yard field goal pulled New Orleans within a touchdown in the third quarter. Then Brees found Cook open behind the Chargers’ secondary on third-and-long to tie it early in the fourth quarter.
In staking Los Angeles to an early 20-3 lead, Herbert became the first rookie to pass for three TDs in the first half of a Monday night game.
His first came when he rolled right away from pressure and fired a 17-yard pass down the sideline to Allen.
Herbert’s 49-yard completion to Jalen Guyton set up his 4-yard scoring strike to Williams one play later. The touchdown capped a drive extended by a roughing-the-punter penalty against New Orleans’ Dwayne Washington.
Nasir Adderly’s interception of Brees and 39-yard return to the Saints 1-yard line set up Herbert’s 3-yard scoring pass to tight end Hunter Henry, which made it 20-3.
Chargers: Early in the second quarter, Allen left the game with a back injury. Defensive end Uchenna Nwosu was helped off with an apparent leg injury early in the fourth quarter.
Saints: Nick Easton left the game in the first half with concussion symptoms and did not return. Patrick Robinson walked off the field with trainers late in the third quarter.
Chargers: Have a bye in week 6 before hosting Jacksonville on Oct. 25.
Saints: Enter their bye week, followed by a Week 7 home date with Carolina on Oct. 25.
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