The Los Angeles Chargers came away with their fifth win of the season against the Atlanta Falcons. Los Angeles has faced a multitude of injuries this 2022, and so continuing to win is quite the impressive feat.

LA defeated Atlanta in a tight 20-17 contest, thanks in large part to their defense making big plays. With the offense missing key weapons in Keenan Allen and Mike Williams, the Chargers resorted to leaning on their defense to take the charge.

The offense scored at a few key spots in the game, but it was their defensive performance that earned the victory. Quarterback Justin Herbert was able to have a solid performance despite missing major pieces on the offense. He completed 30 of his 43 passes for 245 yards, along with a touchdown and an interception.

With that said, here are the three biggest heroes from the Chargers’ Week 9 win over the Falcons.

3. Austin Ekeler

In a game where it was hard for LA to find offense, Austin Ekeler came up with some big plays. The star running back carried the ball 14 times for 47 yards and one touchdown. He also hauled in seven passes for 24 yards and another touchdown.

He is a dynamic back, and despite not getting a ton of yardage in the contest, he was able to get the offense’s only two touchdowns. While it won’t go down as a career game for Ekeler, he was definitely crucial in helping lead the Chargers to victory.

2. Khalil Mack

One of the Chargers’ offseason acquisitions came up with a big play against the Falcons. Khalil Mack–who has been one of the top defensive players in the NFL–was able to take the ball out of Falcons wide receiver Drake London’s hands and then returned it for 43 yards.

Although the rest of his game was relatively quiet, this play heavily impacted the game. The Falcons were in the redzone and on the brink of getting more points on the board. In a defensive contest, it was important to get stops and force turnovers. This was arguably the most important play of the game, as it stopped Atlanta from taking the lead, which would have been difficult to overcome for the Chargers with their offensive struggles.

1. Joshua Palmer

Wide receiver Joshua Palmer stepped up in a big way with Allen and Williams out. The 23-year-old led the team in receptions with eight and in receiving yards with 106. Herbert relied on him heavily, and he did not disappoint.

Getting Palmer to step up in this situation is huge, but it could even be more impactful if he continues to play at a high level when Allen and Williams return. When they have a healthy team, the Chargers have a potent passing attack led by Herbert. The more targets he has, the more prolific their passing attack will be.

The Chargers are in contention and will be even more so when they get players back from injury. LA will take on the San Francisco 49ers next week on Sunday Night Football as they look to improve to 6-3.