Travis Benjamin will keep his job as the Chargers punt returner even after making the blooper reel with one of the worst returns in NFL history.
Benjamin muffed a Ryan Allen punt, recovered at his own 8 and inexplicably ran backward into his own end zone, where Brandon King tackled him for a safety. It gave the Patriots a 9-7 lead on their way to a 21-13 victory.
“Last week he made a play on punt return to help us win the game,” Chargers coach Anthony Lynn said, via Eric Williams of ESPN. “This week he made a bad decision, which was a huge play in the game. You have to have some awareness of where you’re at on the football field, and he did not.”
It came a week after Benjamin earned AFC Special Teams Player of the Week for a 65-yard return against the Broncos. Against the Patriots, he had a 24-yard touchdown catch and had a 41-yarder called back on a questionable offensive pass interference penalty on teammate Tyrell Williams. That’s why Benjamin’s teammates came to his defense.
“It’s one of those things where no one played a perfect game,” quarterback Philip Rivers said, via the team website. “Travis and those big plays he made — the catch he made on the one touchdown that got called back was unreal. He gave us a chance late in the game again to score. He caught the touchdown. Travis was the biggest key in us winning last week offensively. He’s going to tell you that you made a bad decision, and you move on and live with it. I made some myself today. We win as a team; we lose as a team. We all had our share of mistakes. We just had too many to overcome.”