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Chargers punch playoff ticket after cruising past Colts

Justin Herbert passed for 235 yards and Austin Ekeler ran for two touchdowns to help the Los Angeles Chargers clinch a playoff berth with a 20-3 win against the Indianapolis Colts on Monday night. 

With their third straight victory, the Chargers (9-6) qualified for the postseason for the first time since 2018. 

Nick Foles took over as the starter at quarterback for Indianapolis this week and finished 17-for-29 for 143 yards and three interceptions. He was also sacked seven times. 

Matt Ryan was benched after the Colts blew a 33-0 halftime lead last weekend in a 39-36 overtime loss to the Minnesota Vikings. 

Indianapolis (4-10-1) was held to 173 total yards in its fifth straight loss. 

The Chargers did not record a first down on their first three drives, but marched 70 yards on 13 plays on their fourth and took a 7-0 lead on a 1-yard touchdown run by Ekeler with 8:41 left in the second quarter. 

Justin Herbert
Justin Herbert and the Chargers clinched a playoff berth.
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The Chargers intercepted two passes in the first quarter, including one by All-Pro safety Derwin James, who had missed the previous two games with a quad injury. 

James was involved in a helmet-to-helmet tackle on Ashton Dulin with 5:19 left in the first half. James was disqualified from the game and Dulin was later ruled out with a concussion. 

Austin Ekeler scores during the Chargers' win over the Colts.
Austin Ekeler scores during the Chargers’ win over the Colts.
Getty Images

Chase McLaughlin capped the drive with a 46-yard field goal to cut the lead to 7-3 with 4:21 left in the half. 

Cameron Dicker booted a 24-yard field goal as time expired to give the Chargers a 10-3 halftime lead. 

Austin Ekeler, right, celebrates after scoring.
Austin Ekeler, right, celebrates after scoring.

Asante Samuel Jr. intercepted the third pass for Los Angeles on its first defensive series of the second half, and the Chargers cashed that in with a 21-yard field goal by Dicker for a 13-3 lead with 6:01 left in the third quarter. 

Ekeler scored on another 1-yard run to extend the lead to 20-3 with 8:20 left in the game. 

The Colts played without running back Jonathan Taylor, the leading rusher in the NFL last season, who was put on injured reserve last week after sustaining a high ankle sprain early in the loss to Minnesota.

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