Big play! Darius Slay's interception lifts Detroit Lions over L.A. Chargers, 13-10

Dave Birkett
Detroit Free Press
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Darius Slay didn’t look anything like a Pro Bowler for most of Sunday, but he came up with the biggest of plays when his team needed it most.

Slay intercepted a poorly thrown pass by Philip Rivers in the end zone with 1:03 to play to give the Detroit Lions a win in their home opener, 13-10, over the Los Angeles Chargers.

Slay, a Pro Bowler each of the last two seasons, committed three penalties in the first three quarters and gave up six catches to Keenan Allen before he made a perfect play on Rivers’ underthrown pass.

[ Yes, the Lions' performance was ugly. But the Chargers were uglier ]

With the Chargers trailing by three points and backed into a third-and-19 after a delay-of-game penalty, Rivers made an ill-advised pass to Allen in the front corner of the end zone.

Detroit Lions cornerback Darius Slay (23) makes the game-saving interception against the Los Angeles Chargers during the fourth quarter of Sunday's game at Ford Field.

Safety Tracy Walker was coming over top with help, but the pass fluttered right into Slay’s arms.

The Lions, coming off 27-27 tie against the Arizona Cardinals, needed Slay’s defensive heroics and a smile from the special-teams gods to improve to 1-0-1.

Matthew Stafford completed 22 of 30 passes for 245 yards and two touchdowns, but he also threw two interceptions.

He led the game-winning touchdown drive one series before Slay’s interception, marching the Lions 69 yards in eight plays. Stafford hit Marvin Jones for a 4-yard pass on fourth-and-1, and on the next play found Kenny Golladay down the middle of the field for a 31-yard touchdown.

Golladay had a game-high 117 yards receiving on eight catches for the Lions, who took their first lead of the game with 7:21 to play.

Detroit Lions receiver Kenny Golladay (19) celebrates his go-ahead touchdown catch against Los Angeles Chargers during the fourth quarter Sunday, Sept. 15, 2019 at Ford Field.

Austin Ekeler had 133 yards from scrimmage and scored on a 1-yard run in the first quarter, but he also lost a fumble on the goal line after Slay was called for pass interference in the end zone in the third quarter.

The Chargers squandered two other scoring drives in the second half when fill-in kicker Ty Long missed field goals of 39 and 41 yards. Long, the Chargers’ punter, was handling kicking duties for the second straight week with Michael Badgley out injured.

Rivers finished 21 of 36 passing for 293 yards for the Chargers (1-1).

The Lions, who survived a missed field goal and extra point by Matt Prater, visit the Philadelphia Eagles next week.

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