NFL

'Screw it!' – Hopkins the overtime hero as injured Chargers kicker boots winning field goal

By Sports Desk October 18, 2022

Dustin Hopkins lined up the field goal that would settle the Los Angeles Chargers' clash with the Denver Broncos and thought to himself: what's the worst that could happen?

Already carrying a hamstring injury, Hopkins figured he may as well take a full-blooded kick for glory and hold nothing back.

"In my mind, it was already at a point where it was a, 'Well, screw it' moment," said Hopkins. "Pretty much, if it's already feeling this bad at this point, let's just give it a ride."

The overtime heroics from Hopkins, who kicked four field goals in all, secured a 19-16 win for the Chargers, with quarterback Justin Herbert saluting the kicker.

"We have so much respect for him. We know that he is hurting," said Herbert. "He's tough. That's all you can say about him. For him to go out there and play and put up with some pain like that, it's great to see from him."

Chargers head coach Brandon Staley saw his team nullify the threat of Russell Wilson after the first quarter, in which the Broncos quarterback completed all 10 of his passes, including a 39-yard touchdown to rookie tight end Greg Dulcich.

The Chargers rallied from 10-0 adrift but could only manage one touchdown that came at the start of the second quarter, with a 15-play drive capped off by a six-yard Austin Ekeler touchdown dash.

They had to grind it out, and Staley said: "This is a complete team win. It was a tough, rugged game. They have an outstanding defense over there. It was tough sledding in every way for all four quarters and overtime. It was just a tough and rugged game. It took everybody in Powder Blue to win it."

He added: "The fact that we're able to show our resilience in all three phases, and then be able to finish that game on our home field in front of our fans, I'm really proud of our group today."

Losses to the Chiefs and the Jaguars came as early season setbacks for the Chargers, but Herbert has been encouraged by the wins that have followed against the Texans, Browns and now the Broncos.

"I thought 4-2 has been a big step up for us," he said, "especially where we were at with 1-2.

"For us to answer back and to win three games in a row like that, I think it says a lot about our team, our defense, our special teams, because they have stepped up big time. It's been awesome to see from them."

Herbert completed 37 of his 57 passes for 238 yards and one interception. This made him the only quarterback in the Super Bowl era to throw as many as 57 passes in a game with no TDs but still win, Opta said.

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