No. 2 impact play: Woodhead's leap

March, 17, 2014
Mar 17
12:25
PM ET
In this series, we count down the top 10 impact plays for the San Diego Chargers that helped shape the team’s 2013 postseason run.

Situation: Second-and-1 from Washington’s 6-yard line.

Score: Chargers trailed the Washington Redskins 24-21, in a Week 9 contest at FedEx Field.

Time: Twenty-nine seconds left in regulation.

Williams' take: Danny Woodhead corralled a Philip Rivers' pass out in the flat, darted toward the end zone and leaped toward the pylon as three Washington defenders closed in. The play was called a touchdown on the field, but after a replay official reviewed the play upstairs, the call was reversed. The Chargers got the ball first and goal from Washington’s 1-yard line, but could not get into the end zone with three chances from there, settling for a field goal to push the game into overtime. San Diego lost to Washington in overtime, 30-24.

Check out the play here.

Season impact: The fact Woodhead thought he scored on the play is up for discussion. But whether you believe he got into the end zone or not, the loss was the beginning of a three-game losing streak for the Chargers. It appeared to be the turning point of the season, almost knocking them out of the playoffs. However, San Diego's struggles to get into the end zone from a yard out forced coach Mike McCoy to take a closer look at their team's identity on offense, and ultimately trust that Ryan Mathews would not fumble the ball in the red zone. Before the Washington game, Mathews had seven touches in the red zone. After the Washington game, Mathews had 25 touches, including five touchdowns. The Chargers morphed into a running team, taking pressure off of Rivers to make every play on offense, and also keeping the defense off of the field with long, time-consuming drives. And that identity came together partially because of the team's struggles on the goal line against Washington.

Quote: "I'm by no means saying that cost us. But I thought he got in. I thought the call on the field would be a hard one to overturn. Then again, if we had the ball on the half yard line for three plays, it’s our job to score, and we didn’t."
-- Rivers on Woodhead's touchdown being reversed.

Eric D. Williams

ESPN San Diego Chargers reporter

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