Chargers downgrade Eddie Royal to doubtful

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The Chargers pulled out a thriller over the Chiefs last weekend when Seyi Ajirotutu caught a touchdown pass from Philip Rivers with seconds left to play.

Ajirotutu was in the game because wide receiver Eddie Royal had left the game with a chest injury. It looks like Ajirotutu will be in line for the same kind of duty this Sunday against the Bengals after the Chargers downgraded Royal from questionable to doubtful on Saturday.

Royal has been a frequent and productive target for Rivers in the quarterback’s bounceback season. He has 34 catches for 484 yards and seven touchdowns, a career high for the veteran wideout. Michael Gehlken of U-T San Diego reports that Lavelle Hawkins will likely be active if Royal doesn’t play and that Hawkins will probably serve as a kick returner in place of running back Danny Woodhead.

With the Ravens winning on Thursday, the Chargers need a win to keep pace in the fight for the AFC’s second wild card spot. The Ravens win also means that the Bengals need a victory to remain two games clear in the AFC North before returning home for three of their final four games this season.