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NFL: Chargers beat Colts for NFL playoff spot


    Austin Ekeler #30 of the Los Angeles Chargers scores during a game against the Indianapolis Colts at Lucas Oil Stadium on December 26, 2022 in Indianapolis, Indiana.

Austin Ekeler #30 of the Los Angeles Chargers scores during a game against the Indianapolis Colts at Lucas Oil Stadium on December 26, 2022 in Indianapolis, Indiana. Michael Hickey/Getty Images/AFP (Photo by Michael Hickey/GETTY IMAGES NORTH US/Getty Images via AFP)

The Los Angeles Chargers are back in the NFL knockouts for the first time since 2018 after a 20-3 win over the Indianapolis Colts on Monday.

The Chargers won an AFC wild card landing, aided by defeats against the New York Jets, New England Patriots and Las Vegas Raiders earlier in the week.

This will be their first post-season appearance under head coach Brandon Staley and with star quarterback Justin Herbert, who was called up for a sixth time in 2020.

“It means a lot to our team,” Herbert said of the Chargers who have lost a key string of players to injury this season.

“We’ve been through a lot this year and for the boys to fight and keep fighting the way they have, it’s great to see,” he added in a post-match interview with ESPN.

Herbert completed 25 of 31 235-foot passes, with one interception.

Austin Ekeler made two touchdowns and Cameron Dicker kicked two for the Chargers, with Herbert admitting that on the offensive side, there was “a lot of room for improvement.

“We can get better,” he said. “Just left so much out there. But I think the story of the day is defensive. They did an excellent job in combat all year long and they played when they needed it most.”

While the Charger may be annoyingly less electrifying, the Colts are worse.

Nine days after their historic defeat to the Minnesota Vikings, the Colts have won just 173 yards, their only point coming from an on-field goal from Chase McLaughlin.

Full-back Nick Foles, replacing Matt Ryan, made 17 of his 29 143-yard passes with three interceptions. He was fired seven times.

With games against the Los Angeles Rams and Denver Broncos remaining in the regular season, the Chargers improved to 9-6.

They welcomed Derwin James safely back into the starting line-up after a two-game injury absence, but James was sent off at half-time for a helmet impact on the Colts Ashton Dullin fall.

Both were examined for head injuries, and Dullin left the competition with a concussion.

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