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Chargers have a dismal record in games decided by a touchdown or less

Chargers cornerback Casey Hayward, left, breaks up a pass intended for Carolina Panthers wide receiver Seth Roberts.
Chargers cornerback Casey Hayward, left, breaks up a pass intended for Carolina Panthers wide receiver Seth Roberts during the first half of a 21-16 loss at SoFi Stadium on Sunday.
(Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)

The Chargers’ inability to win close games continues to haunt them.

Dating to the 2019 opener — an overtime victory over Indianapolis — they are 3-11 in games decided by one score.

So far this season, they beat Cincinnati when the Bengals missed a field goal as time expired, lost in overtime to Kansas City and lost to Carolina when their game-ending trick play narrowly missed succeeding.

“Not trying to go down the path again,” running back Austin Ekeler said. “I have a salty taste in my mouth just going from last year where it seemed like every flipping game was just a one-score game. We have to find a way to get over that.”

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Only three weeks in, the Chargers’ season already is teetering. They are 1-2 and now have consecutive road games against Tampa Bay and New Orleans. The Chargers will be an underdog to each.

The Chargers had practiced this last-second trick play for two years, but when it came time to execute it against the Panthers on the final play of Sunday’s game, L.A. fumbled.

They could be looking at 1-4 by the time they return to SoFi Stadium on Oct. 18 to face the New York Jets.

“It’s kind of been the same thing I’ve been going through in my career here,” tight end Hunter Henry said. “We just gotta find a way to win. Offensively, I think it starts with us. We can’t turn the ball over.”

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Since their season-opening overtime victory over the Colts last September, the Chargers have dropped 11 of 13 one-score games.


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