A week ago, Ty Long admitted that he almost threw up on the eve of his NFL debut.
On Sunday, in his second game in the league, he left Chargers fans feeling a too-familiar queasiness.
Long, again pressed into kicking duties with Michael Badgley injured, missed field-goal attempts of 39 and 41 yards on a day in which the Chargers fell to the Detroit Lions 13-10.
“I get nervous every week,” Long said. “We all do. But I felt good.”
Long signed with the Chargers in January and won the punting job in training camp. After Badgley was hurt on the Friday before the season opener, Long punted and kicked against Indianapolis. He had done both the past two seasons for the BC Lions in the Canadian Football League.
He made a 40-yard field goal and three extra points and averaged 49 yards on two punts against the Colts. He was named the AFC’s special teams player of the week.
On Sunday, Long converted a first-quarter extra point and added a 39-yard field goal on the final play of the first half. He finished the game with a 50.5-yard average on four punts.
But the two missed field goals were what lingered afterward.
“One kick isn’t going to define me,” Long said. “No one’s opinion is going to define me because everyone else’s expectations for me are not anywhere close to what my expectations for myself are.”
Before Badgley emerged as the kicker midway through last season, the Chargers had struggled badly trying to bring stability to the position. Long is the eighth player to attempt kicks for the team since Anthony Lynn took over as head coach in 2017.
In listing all the things that went wrong Sunday, Lynn concluded his postgame opening remarks by saying, “And we gotta make our damn kicks.”
The Chargers’ final injury report before this game listed Badgley as questionable. The team isn’t sure whether he will be ready to return next weekend when the Houston Texans visit Dignity Health Sports Park.
Los Angeles Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers slides for a first down in front of Detroit Lions safety Tracy Walker during the second half. (Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)
Los Angeles Chargers running back Austin Ekeler jumps over the top for a first-quarter touchdown against the Detroit Lions. (Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)
Los Angeles Chargers receiver Mike Williams hauls in a long pass late in the second quarter to give the Chargers good field position for a field-goal attempt. (Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)
Los Angeles Chargers running back Austin Ekeler breaks out for a big gain against the Detroit Lions late in the second half. (Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)
Los Angeles Chargers kicker Ty Long misses a 41-yard field-goal attempt in the fourth quarter against the Detroit Lions. (Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)
Los Angeles Chargers players react after Ty Long misses a 41-yard field-goal attempt in the fourth quarter. (Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)
Los Angeles Chargers wide receiver Mike Williams can’t haul in a pass in front of Detroit Lions cornerback Rashaan Melvin during the first half. (Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)
Los Angeles Chargers linebacker Melvin Ingram writhes in pain after injuring his leg during fourth quarter against the Detroit Lions. (Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)
Los Angeles Chargers safety Adrian Phillips is helped to his feet after suffering an injury in the fourth quarter against the Detroit Lions. (Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)
Detroit Lions wide receiver Kenny Golladay catches a 31-yard touchdown pass from Matthew Stafford, beating Los Angeles Chargers cornerback Casey Hayward late in the fourth quarter. (Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)
Los Angeles Chargers safety Rayshawn Jenkins intercepts a pass intended for Detroit Lions wide receiver Marvin Jones. (Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)
Los Angeles Chargers cornerback Casey Hayward intercepts a pass intended for Detroit Lions receiver Kenny Golladay during the third quarter. (Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)
Detroit Lions running back Kerryon Johnson scores on a 36-yard pass from Matthew Stafford, beating Los Angeles Chargers linebacker Thomas Davis to the end zone. (Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)
Los Angeles Chargers kicker Ty Long converts on a 39-yard field-goal attempt late in the second quarter against the Detroit Lions. (Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)
Detroit Lions running back Ty Johnson runs against the Los Angeles Chargers in the first half. (Associated Press)
Los Angeles Chargers head coach Anthony Lynn looks on during the first half against the Detroit Lions. (Associated Press)
Los Angeles Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers rolls out to pass against the Detroit Lions. (Associated Press)
Philip Rivers passes during the first half against the Lions. (Getty Images)
Los Angeles Chargers running back Austin Ekeler makes a first-quarter catch in front of Detroit Lions safety Tracy Walker. (Getty Images)
Detroit Lions running back Kerryon Johnson tries to make a catch in front of Los Angeles Chargers linebacker Thomas Davis during the second quarter. (Getty Images)
Los Angeles Chargers wide receiver Mike Williams can’t come up with a catch in the end zone against the Detroit Lions. (Getty Images)
Long might have had a shot at salvaging things Sunday on the Chargers’ final possession, but Philip Rivers threw an interception in the end zone with the offense in field-goal range.
“Everyone’s human,” Long said. “The fans don’t realize that. They don’t accept that. It’s all right, though. No worries. That’s a great team over there. I tried to do my best. I failed. I’ll be back next week.”
The Chargers’ injuries continued to mount when safety Adrian Phillips was lost to a forearm injury in the fourth quarter. He offered no update after the game while his arm was wrapped and in a sling. Phillips has been starting in place of Derwin James, who remains out following foot surgery last month.
Defensive end Isaac Rochell did play after suffering a concussion in Week 1 against Indianapolis. Wide receiver Geremy Davis also was active after being slowed by a hamstring issue. Linebacker Jatavis Brown again was not available as he deals with an ankle problem.
The most notable name to play among those listed as questionable before Sunday was wide receiver Mike Williams. Moving on a sore knee, he finished with three catches for 83 yards, including a 47-yarder right before the half to set up Long’s successful field goal.
“He played with a lot of heart,” Lynn said. “We didn’t know how much he could play, but he came in and he helped us today.”
With all the team’s late-game success last season, several Chargers were left shaking their heads after failing to come through when it mattered most against the Lions.
“We just didn’t finish,” running back Austin Ekeler said. “Whether it was mental errors, just not making the play that was there. It felt like we were moving the ball. I felt like we were rolling, especially in that second half, but we just kept coming up empty. You gotta score points in this league.”
The Chargers were shut out in the second half while losing two apparent touchdowns to penalties and missing two field goals.
“Games in this league are usually won and lost in the last four or five minutes,” linebacker Thomas Davis said. “We have to do a much better job of executing in those situations. I believe in my heart that we’re going to do that.”
The Chargers extended their NFL-leading streak of games with a touchdown to 53 in a row. … Davis finished with 12 tackles (six solo), giving him back-to-back games with 10-plus tackles for the first time since 2015. … Promoted from the practice squad Saturday, wide receiver Andre Patton made his NFL debut.
Staff writer Mike DiGiovanna contributed to this report.