CARSON — As Marlon Mack spilled into the end zone with a two-point conversion run with 38 seconds to play Sunday, frustrated Chargers fans wondered aloud what it would take to win the home opener.
A coin flip, as it turned out.
The Chargers got the ball when the Indianapolis Colts mistakenly called “heads.”
They drove 75 yards in eight plays, the last seven yards galloped to the end zone by running back Austin Ekeler, and won their first home opener since bolting San Diego in 2017 with a 30-24 overtime victory.
Lightning wasn’t going to strike three straight years, although it tried.
Los Angeles led 17-6 when Ty Long’s 40-yard field goal split the uprights 62 seconds before halftime.
It was 24-9 after Ekeler’s catch-and-carry 55-yard screen pass touchdown with 8:27 left in the third quarter.
Then the Colts outgained the Chargers 260-180 in the fourth quarter, highlighted by a 64-yard touchdown burst by Mack and a 19-yard scoring pass from quarterback Jacoby Brissett to T.Y. Hilton despite double coverage.
“In those situations where a team is desperate to get into the end zone, we’ve got to do a much better job,” said linebacker and defensive captain Thomas Davis, who made 14 tackles in his Chargers debut. “For me it was about getting 15 tackles, because I missed one on the sideline and (Mack) took it 64 yards to the house.”
Ekeler split playing time at tailback with Justin Jackson, in place of holdout starter Melvin Gordon.
Ekeler rushed for 58 yards and Jackson, 57.
Ekeler also caught six passes good for 96 yards.
“No one in our locker room is surprised at what Austin did today,” said quarterback Philip Rivers, who completed 25-of-34 passes for 333 yards and three touchdowns. “No moment is too big for him.”
The goalposts weren’t big enough for Adam Vinatieri.
The future Hall of Famer missed field goal attempts of 46 and 29 yards, and also missed a key extra point.
“I lost that game for us, plain and simple,” Vinatieri said. “Our guys battled their butts off all day against a very good Chargers team, and they deserved to win. I cost them the game.”