Chargers’ Ty Long overcame a sick feeling in his NFL debut
He knew Friday that he likely would be kicking as well as punting in his NFL debut.
So how did Ty Long prepare for this dream chance?
“Trying not to throw up yesterday and this morning,” he said Sunday. “Once I got on the field, I was fine. It’s when you don’t have control of anything and you’re thinking of the opportunity. … I’ll be honest with you, I almost threw up a few times.”
Filling in for the injured Michael Badgley, Long converted all three of his extra-point attempts and also made a 40-yard field goal. In his real job, be punted twice for an average of 49 yards.
Badgley suffered a groin injury toward the end of last week and originally was listed as questionable. He was downgraded to doubtful Saturday and then was inactive Sunday.
Coach Anthony Lynn said he was unsure of the severity of Badgley’s injury but noted that the team will be cautious.
Austin Ekeler scores on a seven-yard run in overtime as the Chargers fend off a furious rally by the Colts to open the season with a 30-24 victory.
“You just can’t rush that because it is something that can linger all year,” he said. “It’s pretty risky going into a game with one kicker … so we can’t get Michael back soon enough.”
Long, 26, won the punting job in training camp after the Chargers signed him out of the CFL. In the past two seasons with the B.C. Lions, he punted and kicked.
So, though he wasn’t expecting to do both for the Chargers until he learned of Badgley’s situation, Long said he was prepared.
“This felt more normal to me than not doing it,” he said. “I had my warmup all planned out. Same thing I’ve been doing for two years. It helped out a ton.”
Oddly, it was Indianapolis that had kicking issues Sunday. Adam Vinatieri, a 46-year-old veteran and the NFL’s all-time leader in points, missed two field goals and an extra point.
In a game that ended in overtime, those were seven points the Colts could have used.
“There were a few things that didn’t go our way, but the majority of them were my lousy kicking,” Vinatieri said. “I totally let them down.”
The Chargers were perfect on a day when they had a kicker and long snapper (Cole Mazza) making their NFL debuts and a holder (Tyrod Taylor) who had never held in a game previously.
The Chargers lost cornerback Michael Davis to a hamstring injury in the first quarter and he did not return. He’ll be re-evaluated Monday. Davis was replaced by Brandon Facyson, an undrafted free agent a year ago who was celebrating his 25th birthday Sunday.
Immediately after Facyson entered the game, Colts quarterback Jacoby Brissett threw in his direction and continued to do so over the remainder of the afternoon.
“You can’t take it personally,” Facyson said. “Couple plays I felt I should have made. Have to keep fighting. They get paid, they’re gonna make plays. Have to learn from the good things, the mistakes and build from there.”
Desmond King’s muffed punt late in the third quarter did not cost the Chargers — Vinatieri missed a 29-yard field goal after the turnover — but it forced the Chargers defense to remain on the field for six more plays.
King drifted toward the right sideline and was battling the sun as he closed on Rigoberto Sanchez’s high-hang-time kick. A fair catch seemed in order, but King instead tried to field the ball on the run, bobbling it and absorbing a hit to the helmet before George Odum recovered at the Chargers’ 27.
Thomas Davis showed his veteran leadership in the Chargers’ win over the Colts, but the defense struggled at junctures throughout the game.
“I didn’t want to fair catch it because I thought my blockers would pick guys up,” said King, who returned in the game after a visit to the medical tent. “I probably should have got to my spot before I started to look to see who was coming. I was trying to track the ball and see who was coming at the same time.”
Lynn said he would have preferred that King play it safe in that situation.
“I know he’s trying to make a play,” Lynn said. “He’s a playmaker. But sometimes you have to fair catch and just take the ball where they punt it.”
Tight end Hunter Henry, in his first meaningful action since December 2017, had four second-half receptions for 60 yards, including a 13-yarder over the middle to convert a third-and-three on a third-quarter scoring drive and a 17-yarder on the Chargers’ game-winning drive.
The 6-foot-5, 250-pound Henry sat out nearly all of 2018 after undergoing surgery to repair a torn knee ligament but returned to play sparingly in the season-ending playoff loss to New England.
“After that first drive of the game, I felt pretty comfortable,” he said. “I was ready to get that first ball. It didn’t come until first half, but that’s the flow of the game sometimes.”
The Chargers lost wide receiver Mike Williams late because of a knee injury. Afterward, he said he was fine and didn’t expect to miss any time. … Defensive lineman Damion Square suffered a dislocated pinky. … Lynn on Trent Scott, the second-year pro who made his starting debut at left tackle: “I think he got better as the game went on and that was really encouraging. I like what I saw from him in the second half, but he did have some struggles early.”
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