Chargers’ defensive penalties prove costly in loss to Bills

Buffalo Bills wide receiver Stefon Diggs is tackled by Chargers safety Rayshawn Jenkins.
Buffalo Bills wide receiver Stefon Diggs is tackled by Chargers safety Rayshawn Jenkins during the first half of the Chargers’ 27-17 loss Sunday.
(Adrian Kraus / Associated Press)

The Chargers’ parade of gaffes Sunday in a 27-17 loss at Buffalo included a 47-yard pass-interference penalty on safety Rayshawn Jenkins.

The call came on the Bills’ first possession and led to a two-yard touchdown pass from Josh Allen to tight end Dawson Knox.

But at least Jenkins was only doing what he had to do on the play to prevent a score after being beaten by wide receiver Stefon Diggs.

Jerry Tillery’s two personal-foul penalties were a different matter. The second-year pro out of Notre Dame was called for roughing the passer in the second quarter and grabbing the facemask in the third quarter.


The Chargers forced three turnovers in the fourth quarter, but an uneven offense hamstrung by some questionable play calls annihilated their comeback chances.

“You can’t hurt the team that way,” coach Anthony Lynn said. “You just can’t keep giving them cheap 15 yards like that.”

Both penalties aided Buffalo touchdown drives on a day when the Chargers had no room for error.

A first-round draft pick in 2019, Tillery has a reputation of playing with an edge, something that famously cost him in a game against USC in November 2016.

Using his foot, Tillery made contact with the head of one Trojans player who was down on the field and injured. He later stomped on the ankle of another Trojan.

Tillery publicly apologized afterward and reportedly was punished by Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly, attended counseling and performed community service.

As COVID-19 cases continue to escalate, NFL play is being affected, starting with the Broncos not having a quarterback to and the 49ers not having any place to practice or hold games.

“Jerry’s a very aggressive player,” Lynn said. “Sometimes, he’ll push the envelope a little too far … not necessarily a bad thing for a defensive lineman. But today it hurt us.”

Said teammate Joey Bosa: “He just has to be smart out there. He’s a monster, and he could end up being a really, really good end in the future. We’ll see what happens there, obviously.”