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Chargers’ Austin Ekeler upset about fourth-quarter fumble

ATLANTA — Austin Ekeler had a sick feeling as the fourth quarter unfolded Sunday at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.

Ekeler ran for one touchdown and caught another during the Chargers’ second-quarter rally from a 10-0 deficit, helping them to take a 14-10 lead over the Atlanta Falcons by halftime. The Chargers then lost their narrow lead in the third quarter, but they still had a chance to pull out a victory despite a series of misadventures for Ekeler in the fourth. That’s why he said he was upset with himself even after they managed to take a 20-17 victory from the Falcons.

“I did not finish that game on a good note,” Ekeler said.

Ekeler appeared to turn a miraculous play into a 37-yard touchdown early in the fourth, but upon further review, it was determined that his left elbow touched the turf as he twirled away from cornerback Isaiah Oliver without his knees going down. He later said he didn’t feel his elbow touch.

On the same drive, Ekeler failed to get away from safety Richie Grant and lost seven yards, and the Chargers later settled for a 31-yard field goal by Cameron Dicker that tied the score 17-17 with 5:27 left.

Then, after a key defensive stop on the Falcons’ next possession, Ekeler dropped a pass that could have resulted in a big gain.

Next, Ekeler fumbled on a third-and-4 play from the Falcons’ 22-yard line with 34 seconds remaining. Remarkably, the Chargers got the ball back when defensive lineman Ta’Quon Graham fumbled after a 19-yard return. Chargers offensive lineman Matt Feiler covered the loose ball.

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