Chargers hold off Baltimore Ravens to win AFC wild-card game

  • Los Angeles Chargers defensive back Adrian Phillips celebrates after intercepting a pass attempt in the first half of an NFL wild card playoff football game against the Baltimore Ravens, Sunday, Jan. 6, 2019, in Baltimore. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)

  • Los Angeles Chargers kicker Mike Badgley (4) kicks a field goal in the first half of an NFL wild card playoff football game against the Baltimore Ravens, Sunday, Jan. 6, 2019, in Baltimore. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

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  • Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson, right, rushes the ball against Los Angeles Chargers defensive tackle Justin Jones in the first half of an NFL wild card playoff football game, Sunday, Jan. 6, 2019, in Baltimore. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

  • Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson (8) throws a pass in the first half of an NFL wild card playoff football game against the Los Angeles Chargers, Sunday, Jan. 6, 2019, in Baltimore. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

  • Los Angeles Chargers defensive back Adrian Phillips, right, celebrates with teammate Rayshawn Jenkins after intercepting a pass in the first half of an NFL wild card playoff football game against the Baltimore Ravens, Sunday, Jan. 6, 2019, in Baltimore. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

  • Los Angeles Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers, center, is sacked by Baltimore Ravens inside linebacker Patrick Onwuasor, right, in the first half of an NFL wild card playoff football game, Sunday, Jan. 6, 2019, in Baltimore. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

  • Los Angeles Chargers running back Austin Ekeler rushes the ball against Baltimore Ravens strong safety Tony Jefferson in the first half of an NFL wild card playoff football game, Sunday, Jan. 6, 2019, in Baltimore. (AP Photo/Gail Burton)

  • Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson, left, and running back Kenneth Dixon chase after a loose ball in the first half of an NFL wild card playoff football game against the Los Angeles Chargers, Sunday, Jan. 6, 2019, in Baltimore. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

  • Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson, left, and Los Angeles Chargers defensive end Melvin Ingram chase after possession of a fumble in the first half of an NFL wild card playoff football game, Sunday, Jan. 6, 2019, in Baltimore. Baltimore recovered the ball on the play. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

  • Baltimore Ravens running back Ty Montgomery (88) is tackled by Los Angeles Chargers defensive back Rayshawn Jenkins (23) as he rushes the ball in the first half of an NFL wild card playoff football game, Sunday, Jan. 6, 2019, in Baltimore. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

  • Los Angeles Chargers running back Melvin Gordon (28) is assisted off the field after a play in the first half of an NFL wild card playoff football game against the Baltimore Ravens, Sunday, Jan. 6, 2019, in Baltimore. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

  • BALTIMORE, MARYLAND – JANUARY 06: Melvin Gordon III #28 of the Los Angeles Chargers runs the ball against the Baltimore Ravens during the first quarter in the AFC Wild Card Playoff game at M&T Bank Stadium on January 06, 2019 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)

  • BALTIMORE, MARYLAND – JANUARY 06: Lamar Jackson #8 of the Baltimore Ravens gets tackled by Joey Bosa #99 of the Los Angeles Chargers during the first quarter in the AFC Wild Card Playoff game at M&T Bank Stadium on January 06, 2019 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)

  • Los Angeles Chargers wide receiver Travis Benjamin rushes the ball in the first half of an NFL wild card playoff football game against the Baltimore Ravens, Sunday, Jan. 6, 2019, in Baltimore. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)

  • Los Angeles Chargers defensive end Melvin Ingram, left, tackles Baltimore Ravens running back Gus Edwards in the first half of an NFL wild card playoff football game, Sunday, Jan. 6, 2019, in Baltimore. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)

  • Baltimore Ravens cornerback Jimmy Smith gestures to the crowd in the first half of an NFL wild card playoff football game against the Los Angeles Chargers, Sunday, Jan. 6, 2019, in Baltimore. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)

  • Los Angeles Chargers free safety Derwin James, center, attempts to to tackle Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson in the first half of an NFL wild card playoff football game, Sunday, Jan. 6, 2019, in Baltimore. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

  • Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson (8) tries to break free from Los Angeles Chargers free safety Derwin James in the first half of an NFL wild card playoff football game, Sunday, Jan. 6, 2019, in Baltimore. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

  • Los Angeles Chargers defensive back Adrian Phillips, right, celebrates with teammate Desmond King after recovering a fumble in the first half of an NFL wild card playoff football game against the Baltimore Ravens, Sunday, Jan. 6, 2019, in Baltimore. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

  • Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson (8) rushes the ball in the first half of an NFL wild card playoff football game against the Los Angeles Chargers, Sunday, Jan. 6, 2019, in Baltimore. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

  • Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson recovers a fumble that he made in the first half of an NFL wild card playoff football game against the Los Angeles Chargers, Sunday, Jan. 6, 2019, in Baltimore. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

  • Los Angeles Chargers strong safety Jahleel Addae, left, and free safety Derwin James tackle Baltimore Ravens wide receiver Willie Snead in the first half of an NFL wild card playoff football game, Sunday, Jan. 6, 2019, in Baltimore. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)

  • Los Angeles Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers throws a pass in the first half of an NFL wild card playoff football game against the Baltimore Ravens, Sunday, Jan. 6, 2019, in Baltimore. (AP Photo/Gail Burton)

  • Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson (8) tries to break free from Los Angeles Chargers free safety Derwin James in the first half of an NFL wild card playoff football game, Sunday, Jan. 6, 2019, in Baltimore. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)

  • Members of the Los Angeles Chargers huddle before an NFL wild card playoff football game against the Baltimore Ravens, Sunday, Jan. 6, 2019, in Baltimore. (AP Photo/Gail Burton)

  • Former Baltimore Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis walks on the field before an NFL wild card playoff football game between the Ravens and the Los Angeles Chargers, Sunday, Jan. 6, 2019, in Baltimore. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)

  • Melvin Gordon III of the Chargers runs the ball against the Baltimore Ravens during the first quarter in the AFC Wild Card Playoff game at M&T Bank Stadium on January 06, 2019 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)

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BALTIMORE – Melvin Gordon started his trip in the Charm City with a friendly trash-talk session with an Uber driver.

Along the way, he was tripped by a former a teammate, and ended the trip by making more travel plans.

Gordon and the Chargers are headed to New England after a 23-17 win over the Baltimore Ravens in Sunday’s wild-card playoff game at M&T Bank Stadium.

The Chargers jumped to a 12-3 advantage, but the game nearly changed on Gordon’s slip in the fourth quarter.

Gordon was tripped by Ravens safety Eric Weddle and lost the ball near the goal line. Ravens cornerback Marlon Humphrey scooped it up and took it to the opposite end zone to give the Chargers flashbacks of their first meeting with the Ravens two weeks ago, when Tavon Young’s 62-yard fumble touchdown return on Dec. 22 sealed the win for the Ravens.

But Sunday’s scoop-and-score didn’t count. Gordon was ruled down on the Ravens’ 1-yard-line. He punched it in the following play to put the Chargers ahead 20-3.

But rookie quarterback Lamar Jackson, who struggled much of the game, and the Ravens had one last push. Jackson connected with Michael Crabtree for a six-yard touchdown pass that cut the deficit 23-17 with 1:59 left in regulation.

The Chargers gave the ball back to the Ravens with 45 seconds to play after a three-and-out. Jackson completed a pass that got Baltimore near midfield, but the comeback bid ended when the Chargers’ Uchenna Nwosu knocked the ball from Jackson’s hand for a fumble that was recovered by Melvin Ingram.

The last time the Chargers faced the New England Patriots in a postseason game, Philip Rivers played with a torn ACL, while star running back LaDainian Tomlinson watched from the sideline sporting a parka. The Chargers fell to the undefeated Patriots 21-12 in the 2007 AFC Championship game.

Rivers is 0-2 against the Patriots in the postseason.

The Chargers built a 12-0 halftime lead with four field goals from rookie kicker Michael Badgley.

Badgley’s fourth field goal, a 34-yarder to end the half, tied a Chargers’ postseason record for most in a single game with Nate Kaeding, who did it in the 2007 AFC Championship game against the Patriots.

Badgley broke the record with a 47-yard field goal with 9:09 in the fourth quarter. He went 5 of 6 on field goal attempts, with the last try blocked.

The Chargers defense held the Ravens to 69 yards in the first half. That total was the fewest yards the Ravens have ever had in the the first half of a playoff game.

Adrian Phillips was the recipient of the Chargers’ two forced turnovers in the opening half. Phillips recovered a fumble that was forced out by Ingram and had an interception that was tipped by cornerback Casey Hayward.

Phillips, who’s listed as a safety, mainly played as a linebacker. The Chargers defense used seven defensive backs for most of the game. The Chargers were thin at linebacker with Jatavis Brown suffering a season-ending ankle injury in the regular-season finale.

Gordon went to the locker room with a knee injury in the first quarter, but quickly returned.

Gordon rejoined the Chargers on the first drive of the second quarter and took a handoff that resulted in a loss of two yards.

The Chargers’ star running back fell to the field in pain after a 2-yard run near the goal line with 7:43 in the first quarter.

More to come on this story

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