Wil Lutz kicked a 36-yard field goal on the opening possession of overtime. Then a defensive stop won it for the Saints, who overcame Herbert’s exploits and endured a missed field goal by the Chargers as time expired in regulation.

The night belonged to Herbert. The win belonged to Brees and the Saints.

“I told him I was really impressed with him,” Brees said of Herbert during an ESPN interview after the game. “I’ve heard many great things about him from others, too. He’s one of those guys who has a bright future in this league, as do many of the young QBs that we see playing every Sunday. He’s got a very bright future and obviously great for that organization.”

On the final play of the game, the Chargers came up a yard shy of a first down on a fourth-and-six completion from Herbert to wide receiver Mike Williams, who had two touchdown catches and a spectacular grab that set up the game-winning field goal try in regulation. Saints cornerback Marshon Lattimore made the tackle on Williams to end it.

“A lot of different elements to the game,” Saints Coach Sean Payton said in a postgame video news conference. “But it was good to get the win.”

For Brees, it was only his second career triumph in a game in which he trailed by at least 17 points. Including playoff games, Brees had been 1-48 in such situations, according to ESPN.

“This was a wild one,” Brees said. “Listen, we did not play very well for the first half of this football game…. Really I think at halftime it was just, ‘Guys, come out and execute and do the things that win football games, not the things that get you beat.’… At the end of the day, when we can just execute, take care of the football and do all the winning things that we know we can do, then good things happen.”

Brees threw an interception in a 33-for-47, 325-yard passing performance. The Saints, again playing without standout wide receiver Michael Thomas, improved to 3-2. Thomas had been sidelined by an ankle injury. On Sunday, the Saints ruled him out for this game because of what they called a disciplinary matter. Thomas reportedly had a practice-field altercation with a teammate.

“I’ll keep you posted,” Payton said. “That’s something we’ll discuss and we’ll let you know when the time is right…. We’ll talk about the players that played tonight.”

Facing a 20-3 deficit, the Saints rallied with 17 straight points as Brees scored a second-quarter touchdown on a quarterback sneak and threw a 41-yard touchdown pass in the fourth quarter to tight end Jared Cook. They tied the game at 27 with 52 seconds left in regulation when all-purpose player Taysom Hill lined up at quarterback and scored on a nine-yard run.

“It was kind of a run-pass option,” Payton said. “They covered it fairly well and yet when they do that, you have that one extra player relative to the quarterback that can carry it. That was a good way to finish that drive.”

Herbert, chosen sixth overall in the NFL draft out of Oregon in April, completed 20 of 34 passes for 264 yards. He became the first rookie to throw four touchdown passes in a Monday night game. Yet the Chargers dropped to 1-4. All four losses have come by seven points or fewer, after the Chargers had nine defeats last season in one-score games.

They’re winless in Herbert’s four starts since he took over for Tyrod Taylor. Three of the losses have come to the Kansas City Chiefs with Patrick Mahomes, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers with Tom Brady and the Saints with Brees.

“They’ve done an exceptional job of closing games out,” Herbert said of the Saints. “They had the ball late in the game. All three of them went down and made big plays for their team. That’s something that we haven’t been able to do on our side of the ball. And so being able to watch them do that, it’s a definite learning moment.”

Herbert had first-half touchdown throws to wide receiver Keenan Allen, Williams and tight end Hunter Henry to stake the Chargers to their 17-point lead. Kicker Michael Badgley missed one of the extra points.

The Chargers squandered the lead but then regrouped with Herbert’s fourth touchdown pass. He’d missed some second-half throws. But he didn’t miss a wide-open Williams, resulting in a 64-yard touchdown with less than four minutes remaining. After the Saints drew even again on Hill’s touchdown, Herbert moved the Chargers into position for Badgley’s 50-yard field goal attempt. But Badgley missed, with the ball clanking off the right upright.

“That young man has been kicking outstanding all year,” Chargers Coach Anthony Lynn said. “He missed an extra point today and he missed a field goal. Yeah… he’s got to do better. But we could have done some other things better as well.”

October 12, 2020 at 11:45 PM EDT

Saint get overtime field goal, defensive stop to beat Chargers

By Mark Maske

Drew Brees didn’t exactly outshine Justin Herbert in a young-vs.-old quarterbacking duel on “Monday Night Football.”

But Brees and the New Orleans Saints hung in there and managed to beat Herbert and the Los Angeles Chargers, 30-27, in overtime at the Superdome.

Wil Lutz provided a 36-yard field goal on the opening possession of overtime for New Orleans. Then a defensive stop won it for the Saints, who overcame four touchdown passes by Herbert and saw the Chargers miss what would have been a game-winning field goal as time expired in regulation.

Herbert, the ever-more-impressive rookie chosen sixth overall in the NFL draft in April, had three first-half touchdown throws to stake the Chargers to a 17-point halftime lead. They squandered it but regrouped with Herbert’s fourth touchdown pass.

After the Saints drew even again, Herbert moved the Chargers into position for Michael Badgley’s 50-yard field goal attempt. But Badgley missed the kick, with the ball clanking off the right upright.

The Chargers had their record drop to 1-4. They’re winless in Herbert’s four starts since he took over for Tyrod Taylor. They led, 20-3, after Herbert threw first-half touchdown passes to wide receivers Keenan Allen and Mike Williams and tight end Hunter Henry. Badgley missed one of the extra points.

Herbert missed some second-half throws. But he didn’t miss a wide-open Williams, resulting in a 64-yard touchdown with less than four minutes remaining. Herbert completed 20 of 34 passes for 264 yards.

The Saints rallied with 17 straight points as Brees scored a second-quarter touchdown on a quarterback sneak and threw a fourth-quarter touchdown pass to tight end Jared Cook. They tied the game at 27 with 52 seconds left in regulation when Taysom Hill lined up at quarterback and scored on a nine-yard run.

Brees threw an interception in a 33-for-47, 325-yard passing performance. (Final score: Saints 30, Chargers 27)

October 12, 2020 at 11:33 PM EDT

Saints get overtime field goal

By Mark Maske

The Saints have the lead after the opening possession of overtime. Kicker Wil Lutz connected on a 36-yard field goal. The Chargers have a chance to tie or win. (Saints 30, Chargers 27, 5:08 left in overtime)

October 12, 2020 at 11:23 PM EDT

Chargers miss field goal, game headed to overtime

By Mark Maske

The game is headed to overtime. The Chargers had a chance to win in regulation, but Michael Badgley missed a 50-yard field goal attempt as time expired. The ball struck the right upright and bounced away. Justin Herbert’s 29-yard completion to wide receiver Mike Williams set up the kick. (Chargers 27, Saints 27 at the end of the fourth quarter)

October 12, 2020 at 11:13 PM EDT

Saints tie the game on Taysom Hill’s late touchdown

By Mark Maske

The Saints answered the Chargers’ touchdown with one of their own, tying the game in the final minute of regulation. Taysom Hill lined up at quarterback and scored on nine-yard run. Hill, the Saints’ all-purpose player, has had fumbling issues this season but delivered a big play in crunchtime. (Chargers 27, Saints 27, 0:52 left in the fourth quarter)

October 12, 2020 at 11:04 PM EDT

Justin Herbert’s fourth touchdown pass puts Chargers back in front

By Mark Maske

Justin Herbert, after a fantastic first half, had missed some second-half throws. But he didn’t miss a wide-open Mike Williams, giving the Chargers a 64-yard touchdown on a third-and-10 play. Herbert has four touchdown passes on the night, two of them to Williams. (Chargers 27, Saints 20, 3:40 left in the fourth quarter)

October 12, 2020 at 10:48 PM EDT

Drew Brees’s long touchdown pass gets Saints even

By Mark Maske

Drew Brees has been criticized this season for supposedly no longer being able to throw the ball effectively down the field. But he looked just fine delivering a 41-yard touchdown pass to tight end Jared Cook. The touchdown came on a third-and-14 play and drew the Saints even. They’ve scored 17 straight points since facing a 20-3 deficit in the first half. Cook got open behind the Los Angeles secondary and Brees lofted an on-target throw after stepping up in the pocket. (Chargers 20, Saints 20, 11:21 remaining in the fourth quarter)

October 12, 2020 at 10:23 PM EDT

Long field goal gets Saints closer

By Mark Maske

The Saints drew closer with a 53-yard field goal by Wil Lutz. Coach Sean Payton initially left his offense on the field on fourth and four from the L.A. 35-yard line. But after a timeout, Payton opted for the kick and Lutz delivered to make it a one-score game. (Chargers 20, Saints 13, 4:52 left in the third quarter)

October 12, 2020 at 10:06 PM EDT

Justin Herbert shines, Drew Brees and Saints struggle in first half

By Mark Maske

It appeared to be an in-with-the-new, out-with-the-old kind of evening for much of the first half on “Monday Night Football” from the Superdome. Chargers rookie quarterback Justin Herbert put on a show. The early-season struggles continued for Drew Brees and the Saints. But Brees and the Saints at least managed to get back in the game with a touchdown just before halftime.

Herbert threw three first-half touchdown passes and the Chargers lead, 20-10. Herbert is the first rookie to throw three touchdown passes in a single half of a Monday night game.

In his fourth NFL start, Herbert completed 9 of 13 first-half passes for 109 yards. He had touchdown throws to wide receivers Keenan Allen and Mike Williams and tight end Hunter Henry.

The Chargers chose Herbert with the sixth overall pick in the NFL draft in April, after the Cincinnati Bengals selected Joe Burrow first overall and the Miami Dolphins took Tua Tagovailoa fifth. Coach Anthony Lynn’s plan was to have Herbert sit and wait his turn behind Tyrod Taylor. But that changed when Taylor reportedly suffered a punctured lung while being given a pregame painkilling injection by a team doctor.

Herbert got his chance and has played too well for Taylor to reclaim the starting job when he’s able to play, as Lynn originally said. Lynn changed that plan last week, naming Herbert the starter. It certainly appears that Herbert is the real deal.

The Saints’ issues continued for much of the half. They’re playing again without star wide receiver Michael Thomas, who was ruled out of this game Sunday for what the Saints called a team disciplinary matter. Thomas reportedly had a practice-field altercation with a teammate.

On their first six possessions Monday, the Saints had a field goal, four punts and a turnover. Brees, trying to force a pass into heavy traffic, threw an interception to set up a Chargers’ touchdown. But Brees and the Saints regrouped, at least a bit, to craft a nice drive just before halftime culminating with Brees’s touchdown on a quarterback sneak. (Chargers 20, Saints 10 at halftime)

October 12, 2020 at 9:49 PM EDT

Drew Brees’s touchdown gets Saints back in game

By Mark Maske

Drew Brees and the Saints got back into the game with a nice drive just before halftime. Brees reached the football across the goal line for a one-yard touchdown on a quarterback sneak. He completed five of seven passes on the drive and connected with wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders for what initially appeared to be a six-yard touchdown. But Sanders was ruled down by contact just shy of the end zone on an instant replay review, and the Saints took their final timeout of the half to avoid a 10-second clock runoff. Brees threw incomplete in the end zone for Taysom Hill, as the Chargers appeared to get away with contact on Hill. But Brees followed with the leap-and-reach sneak. (Chargers 20, Saints 10, 0:14 left in the second quarter)

October 12, 2020 at 9:32 PM EDT

Chargers cash in on interception of Drew Brees with Justin Herbert’s third touchdown pass

By Mark Maske

Justin Herbert is putting on a show and things are getting worse for Drew Brees and the Saints. Herbert’s third touchdown pass of the half was set up by an interception from Brees, who tried to force a pass into heavy traffic. It was intercepted by safety Nasir Adderley, who provided a 39-yard return to the New Orleans 1-yard line. Herbert was sacked on first down. But on third down from the 3, he found tight end Hunter Henry for the touchdown. (Chargers 20, Saints 3, 4:25 left in the second quarter)

October 12, 2020 at 9:07 PM EDT

Justin Herbert’s second touchdown pass increases Saints’ lead

By Mark Maske

Rookie quarterback Justin Herbert looks sharp and the Chargers are taking it to the Saints. They lead, 13-3, after a four-yard touchdown pass from Herbert to wide receiver Mike Williams on a drive extended by a roughing-the-punter penalty on the Saints. Herbert connected on a deep throw to wideout Jalen Guyton for a 49-yard gain to set up the touchdown. Herbert has completed six of nine passes for 99 yards and two touchdowns. (Chargers 13, Saints 3, 11:01 left in the second quarter)

October 12, 2020 at 9:00 PM EDT

Saints get field goal to cut Chargers’ lead in half

By Mark Maske

The Saints are on the board with a 48-yard field goal by Wil Lutz. They had a short field after pinning the Chargers deep in their territory and forcing a punt, but managed only a field goal as time expired in the opening quarter. (Chargers 6, Saints 3, at the end of the first quarter)

October 12, 2020 at 8:47 PM EDT

Slow start for Saints on offense

By Mark Maske

The Saints are sputtering on offense early in this game, with punts on their first two possessions. Tailback Alvin Kamara dropped a short third-down pass with room to run on the opening drive. Drew Brees connected on a third-down pass with wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders for a first down on the Saints’ second possession. But the drive fizzled quickly from there with three straight incompletions, two by Brees after one by Taysom Hill in a one-play appearance at quarterback. (Chargers 6, Saints 0, 4:12 left in the first quarter)

October 12, 2020 at 8:40 PM EDT

Justin Herbert-to-Keenan Allen touchdown puts Chargers in front

By Mark Maske

The Chargers have the early lead in New Orleans on a 17-yard touchdown pass from Justin Herbert to wide receiver Keenan Allen. On a third-and-seven play, Herbert escaped the pocket against a blitz and, while on the run, delivered a throw to Allen, who made a leaping catch in the front corner of the end zone. Tailback Justin Jackson provided a 36-yard run on a draw play earlier on the drive. Michael Badgley missed the extra point. (Chargers 6, Saints 0, 6:26 left in the first quarter)

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