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Monday’s NFL: Lutz lifts Saints past hard-luck Chargers, 30-27 in OT

Brett Martel
Associated Press

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.

New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees (9) dives over the goal line for a touchdown in the first half Monday.

“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.

Morris named interim coach

Falcons defensive coordinator Raheem Morris, a former NFL head coach, was named the interim head coach.

Falcons coach Dan Quinn and general manager Thomas Dimitroff were fired late Sunday night.

Morris, 44, was Tampa Bay’s head coach from 2009-11. He was named the head coach at age 32.

In 2010, the Bucs went 10-6 and just missed the playoffs. They went 4-12 the following season and Morris was fired.

Morris said he tried to grow from the Tampa Bay experience.

“You went into (the position), and there was no manual for that job,” Morris said after attending the QB Summit over the offseason. “You go into it and how you feel like you learned from the people you’ve been around. I’d been around some really good people in a limited amount of places because I was so young at 32.”

He went to Washington (2012-14) and then to Atlanta (2015-present) and has worked with Mike Shanahan, Kyle Shanahan, Sean McVay, Matt Lafleur and Quinn. Morris has coached on both sides of the ball. He was the Falcons’ wide receivers coach from 2016-18.

Last season, he moved over to the defensive side of the ball and helped the team finish 6-2.

Giants’ Carter out

The Giants’ third-year edge rusher Lorenzo Carter is out for the season after rupturing the Achilles tendon in his left foot in the first quarter of Sunday’s 37-34 road loss to the Dallas Cowboys.

Carter, 24, a third-round pick out of Georgia in 2018, had started every game for the Giants this season. He’d played 84% of the defensive snaps through their first four games (fourth-most on the team).

He had one sack, 15 tackles, four tackles for loss, four QB hits and a pass defended. His eight pressures, per Pro Football Focus, ranked third on the team.

Gase wants different view

With the New York Jets off to an 0-5 start for the first time since 1996 and struggling mightily on offense, head coach Adam Gase acknowledged he is considering handing off calling plays during games so he can take a wider-angle view of the entire team.

“I don’t think I’m ever opposed to trying something to change things up,” Gase said during a conference call. “I’d say everything’s on the table at this point.”

Gase said he has called the offensive plays during every game he has been a head coach, including his three seasons in Miami, but acknowledged he has “toyed with the idea” at times. While he wouldn’t commit to relinquishing those duties this week, it sounded as though more input from offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains and/or running backs coach Jim Bob Cooter is possible.

“I’m considering everything,” Gase said. “I’m just looking at everything and just trying to figure out whatever can help us turn this thing in the right direction, I’ll be all for it.”

The Jets rank last or close to last in nearly every major offensive category.