Austin Ekeler had a clear lane to the end zone and the win for L.A. Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

It is becoming somewhat of a theme for the Los Angeles Chargers under head coach Anthony Lynn. Last season saw nine of the Chargers’ 11 losses come by one score.

Attempting to mount a comeback against a Carolina Panthers squad that had lost 10 consecutive heading into Week 3, we saw these late-game struggles hinder the Chargers once again.

Rookie first-round pick Justin Herbert, starting for the injured Tyrod Taylor, led Los Angeles to inside Carolina’s 30-yard-line in the final seconds with his team down 21-16.

That’s when Herbert hit Keenan Allen inside the 15-yard-line. In what is defined as a hook-and-lateral, Allen attempted get the ball to running back Austin Ekeler.

Check it out.

It’s not hyperbole to say that if Ekeler caught that ball in a clean manner, he’d have reached the end zone for the walk-off win in Southern California.

There’s no way Panthers corner Rasul Douglas would have prevented an Ekeler score with his momentum going in the completely opposite direction. Carolina dodged a major bullet here.

All the while, Los Angeles wasted another solid outing from Herbert. The rookie No. 6 overall pick completed 35-of-49 for 330 yards with a touchdown and an interception. As it relates to Ekeler, he’ll be remembered more for this drop than tallying a whopping 143 total yards in the narrow loss.

This article first appeared on Sportsnaut and was syndicated with permission.

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