Sep 25, 2022; Inglewood, California, USA; Los Angeles Chargers linebacker Joey Bosa runs before the game against the Jacksonville Jaguars at SoFi Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Chargers DE Joey Bosa back from IR ahead of playoffs

The Los Angeles Chargers designated star defensive end Joey Bosa to return from injured reserve as the playoff-bound team prepares for Sunday’s matchup against the Los Angeles Rams.

The designation opens a 21-day practice window for Bosa, with a return for Sunday’s game still to be determined.

Bosa, 27, hasn’t played since Week 3 when he came away with a groin injury in a 38-10 loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars. The four-time Pro Bowl selection was coming off a 2021 season when he had 10.5 sacks, his fourth career season reaching double digits.

The Chargers have been injury-prone all season, with Bosa the last of the team’s stars to make a return. Quarterback Justin Herbert played through fractured rib cartilage, while top wide receivers Keenan Allen and Mike Williams missed time.

Despite the personnel issues, the Chargers clinched their second playoff berth in nine seasons when they earned a 20-3 victory over the Indianapolis Colts on Monday night. The Chargers can’t catch the Kansas City Chiefs for the AFC West title, meaning their final two regular-season games will be used for playoff preparations.

The Chargers’ defense has been improving late in the season, allowing an average of 11.3 points over their last three games, all victories.

After the victory over the Colts, Chargers running back Austin Ekeler was anticipating Bosa’s return, according to the Los Angeles Times.

“At the end of the day, it’s going to take defense to win championships,” said Ekeler, who has 16 combined rushing and receiving touchdowns. “Our defense playing like that — and if we get Joey back — my goodness. I’m looking forward to watching these boys fly around.”

–Field Level Media

Nov 27, 2022; Glendale, AZ, USA;  Los Angeles Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert (10) celebrates with fans after winning 25-24 against the Arizona Cardinals at State Farm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Michael Chow-USA TODAY Sports

Chargers can clinch playoff berth with win against Colts

The Los Angeles Chargers will clinch a playoff berth with a win Monday night in Indianapolis against the Colts.

The team is seeking it first playoff spot since 2018, and the path was made easier after both the New England Patriots and Las Vegas Raiders lost on Saturday.

The Chargers (8-6) currently are the No. 6 seed in the AFC, just ahead of the Miami Dolphins (8-7). The top seven teams from each conference advance to the postseason.

And Chargers players know they have their playoff fate in their hands.

“We don’t have to look over our shoulders or be fans of other teams,” safety Derwin James Jr. said, per the Los Angeles Times. “When you can control your own destiny, it’s what’s good.”

James, who missed the past two games with a quad strain, is expected to return against the Colts (4-9-1).

The Chargers close the season with the Los Angeles Rams on Jan. 1 and at the Denver Broncos on Jan. 8.

–Field Level Media

Aug 18, 2022; Costa Mesa, CA, USA; Los Angeles Chargers linebacker Joey Bosa (97) reacts during joint practice against the Dallas Cowboys at Jack Hammett Sports Complex. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Report: Chargers DE Joey Bosa to practice this week

Los Angeles Chargers pass rusher Joey Bosa will return to practice this week, NFL Network reported Sunday.

The 27-year-old defensive end was placed on injured reserve on Sept. 28 and had surgery to repair a groin tear.

The initial prognosis projected that Bosa would be sidelined for eight to 10 weeks.

He exited a Week 3 loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars in the first half after grabbing at his upper right leg. He left the field under his own power but threw his helmet to the ground before heading to the locker room.

Bosa, a four-time Pro Bowl selection, has 1.5 sacks on the season and four quarterback hits. In seven seasons, all with the Chargers, he has 298 tackles with 59 1/2 sacks in 82 games (77 starts).

–Field Level Media

Sep 11, 2022; Inglewood, California, USA; Los Angeles Chargers wide receiver Keenan Allen (13) and Las Vegas Raiders safety Tre'von Moehrig (25) in the first half at SoFi Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Chargers WR Keenan Allen set to make his return vs. Seahawks

Los Angeles Chargers wide receiver Keenan Allen will play for the first time since Week 1 in Sunday’s game against the visiting Seattle Seahawks at Inglewood, Calif.

Allen, 30, had been listed as questionable with a hamstring injury that occurred during a 24-19 opening-week victory against the Las Vegas Raiders.

In his 10th NFL season, all with the Chargers, Allen has 734 receptions for 8,601 yards and 48 touchdowns in 117 career games (112 starts). He has been named to the Pro Bowl in each of the last five seasons. Allen had four catches for 66 yards against the Raiders.

As expected, the Chargers listed tight end Donald Parham Jr. (concussion), kicker Dustin Hopkins (hamstring) and wide receiver Joshua Palmer (concussion) inactive for Sunday’s game. Also listed as inactive were quarterback Easton Stick, safety JT Woods and defensive tackle Christian Covington.

The Chargers (4-2) are chasing their fourth consecutive victory Sunday in advance of their bye week.

–Field Level Media

Oct 9, 2022; Cleveland, Ohio, USA; Los Angeles Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert (10) throws a pass as Cleveland Browns defensive end Isaac Rochell (98) and defensive tackle Perrion Winfrey (97) defend during the first half at FirstEnergy Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

Chargers do just enough to get past Browns 30-28

Austin Ekeler rushed for 173 yards with a touchdown and the visiting Los Angeles Chargers held on for a 30-28 win against the Cleveland Browns on Sunday.

Cleveland kicker Cade York missed a 54-yard field goal with 11 seconds left as Los Angeles sealed the victory despite turning the ball over on downs near midfield with just over a minute remaining.

Justin Herbert completed 22 of 34 passes for 228 yards and a touchdown, and Mike Williams caught 10 passes for 134 yards for the Chargers (3-2), who climbed out of an early 14-0 deficit.

Cleveland running back Nick Chubb surpassed 100 rushing yards for the fourth time in five games. He finished with 134 rushing yards and two touchdowns for the Browns (2-3).

Chargers kicker Taylor Bertolet kicked his third field goal of the game, a 27-yarder, to give the Chargers a 30-28 lead with 9:29 remaining.

The Chargers went for it on 4th and 2 from the Los Angeles 46 with 1:13 left and Herbert threw incomplete, setting up Cleveland’s potential winning field-goal try.

The Browns took a 21-17 lead into the half behind 95 rushing yards and two touchdowns from Chubb.

Ekeler scored on a 22-yard touchdown run to give the Chargers a 24-21 lead with 10:21 left in the third quarter.

Bertolet’s 25-yard field goal stretched the lead to 27-21 with 5:47 left in the third quarter. Bertolet was signed to the practice squad earlier in the week because Dustin Hopkins has a quad injury.

The Browns regainedk the lead 28-27 on a 2-yard touchdown run by Kareem Hunt with 55 seconds left in the third.

Chubb scored on a 41-yard run to give the Browns a 7-0 lead with 12:01 left in the first quarter.

Amari Cooper caught an 11-yard touchdown pass to stretch the lead to 14-0 lead with 4:01 left in the opening quarter.

Chargers backup running back Joshua Kelley scored on a 5-yard run to make it 14-10 with 13:39 left in the first half.

The Chargers then put together a 99-yard drive and took a 17-14 lead on a 12-yard touchdown pass from Herbert to Ekeler with 5:51 left in the half.

Chubb came back with a 2-yard touchdown run to move the Browns back in front 21-17 with 2:55 left in the first half.

–Field Level Media

Nov 7, 2021; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; Los Angeles Chargers defensive end Joey Bosa (97) reacts after stooping Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts (1) (not pictured) during the first quarter at Lincoln Financial Field. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

Chargers DE Joey Bosa out with groin injury

Los Angeles Chargers defensive end Joey Bosa was ruled out of Sunday’s game against the Jacksonville Jaguars with a groin injury.

Bosa was trying to circle around left end in the first quarter when he hit the ground and grabbed at his upper right leg. He left the field under his own power but threw his helmet to the ground before departing to the locker room.

It was yet another injury to a key player for the Chargers, who were without wide receiver Keenan Allen because of a hamstring injury. Quarterback Justin Herbert has a rib injury but was activated just before Sunday’s game.

Bosa had one tackle before he left the game with 2:50 remaining in the opening quarter. He has seven tackles and 1 1/2 sacks in three games this season.

In seven NFL seasons, all with the Chargers, the four-time Pro Bowl selection has 298 tackles with 59 1/2 sacks in 82 games (78 starts).

–Field Level Media

Dec 16, 2021; Inglewood, California, USA; Los Angeles Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert (10) throws a pass against the Kansas City Chiefs in the second half at SoFi Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Chargers continue playoff push against Texans

Only the Indianapolis Colts will have more players going to the Pro Bowl than the Los Angeles Chargers. And no team will have more players scheduled to start the game than their five.

But Los Angeles still needs wins to qualify for the AFC playoffs, its pursuit continuing with Sunday’s visit to the Houston Texans.

At 8-6, the Chargers are realistically fighting for one of the three wild-card spots after last week’s tough 34-28 overtime home loss to Kansas City. Had Los Angeles won, it could have tied the Chiefs for first in the West at 9-5 and held the tiebreaker by virtue of a season sweep.

Instead, the Chargers will have to do this the hard way.

“I felt like they left everything out on that field against a team that is a champion,” said first-year coach Brandon Staley. “I felt like our team competed at a championship level. I felt like that was a championship environment.”

The good news is the final three games appear to be manageable. Los Angeles is a 10-point favorite against Houston before hosting Denver and traveling to Las Vegas. And it has a rising star at quarterback.

There has been no sophomore slump for Justin Herbert. He’s gone from Offensive Rookie of the Year to leading the AFC with 32 touchdown passes in his second year. It’s not unrealistic to project that after having a quarterback start every game for 14 consecutive years in Philip Rivers, the Chargers may enjoy the same luxury with Herbert.

“He’s balling,” said wide receiver Keenan Allen. “He’s going crazy. He’s leading us in his second year. He’s just making outstanding play after outstanding play. Savage, he’s throwing touchdowns to everybody on the field. He’s just ridiculous.”

Herbert may have to approach those superlatives again this week, even against the 3-11 Texans. Los Angeles will be without three defensive starters, including elite pass-rusher Joey Bosa, and its defense is tied for 27th in points allowed per game.

Then again, the Texans haven’t exactly put the fright in opponents’ hearts, except for Jacksonville. Their 14.8 ppg mark ranks 31st in the league, and if it weren’t for the Jaguars, they would be averaging just under 12 ppg.

But they did get Davis Mills’ first NFL win last week in Jacksonville as he threw for 209 yards and two scores in a 30-16 victory. Brandin Cooks riddled the Jaguars for 102 yards and two touchdowns on seven receptions, putting him in range of a 100-catch year. He needs 20 over the last three games.

Houston might also be able to make headway on the ground, even with the league’s worst running game. The Chargers haven’t been able to get good run fits this year, meaning that the likes of Rex Burkhead and David Johnson could enjoy good games.

Burkhead helped the Texans salt away last week’s victory in Jacksonville.

“He’s able to do what’s best for the team,” Mills said of Burkhead. “When we were having to drive the ball in that four-minute mode trying to eat the clock, he was running hard.”

–Field Level Media