Before the sport Sunday, he’s fairly certain only a few gamers in his locker room knew his title.
Afterward, two of these total-stranger teammates have been hoisting Cameron Dicker onto their shoulders in delirious triumph.
In what needs to be one of many oddest, most spectacularly implausible moments in NFL historical past, Dicker kicked a game-winner for his second staff in 5 weeks, lifting the Chargers previous Atlanta 20-17.
“Very slim,” he mentioned when requested of the probabilities of somebody experiencing what he has just lately. “I would not have thought I’d be here. Cool to have these opportunities to be able to go do my thing.”
On Oct. 9, Dicker was an harm alternative for Philadelphia when he booted a 23-yarder with 1:45 remaining to beat Arizona. That contest additionally ended as a highway victory for Dicker’s staff by the identical 20-17 last.
Those are the one two video games through which the rookie kicker out of the University of Texas has appeared.
Against the Falcons, Dicker was filling in for the injured Taylor Bertolet, who was filling in for the injured Dustin Hopkins.
When Bertolet damage his quadriceps in follow final week, the Chargers summoned the NFL’s employed leg, bringing of their third kicker in as many video games and, quickly sufficient, putting all their hopes — and maybe their season — on his proper foot.
“We’re going to set the NFL record for game balls for kickers in a year,” coach Brandon Staley mentioned. “Three separate kickers — game balls.”
Dicker formally joined the staff Thursday as a member of the follow squad. He was elevated Saturday after which, in flip, lifted the Chargers 24 hours later.
His successful kick got here from 37 yards on the sport’s last play, Dicker additionally nailing a 31-yarder with 5:27 remaining within the fourth quarter to drag the Chargers even 17-17.
It was fairly a day for a 22-year-old who was pondering his largest thrill of the week in all probability can be attending a Carrie Underwood live performance in Austin, Texas, on Wednesday.
After being launched by the Eagles final weekend, Dicker returned to Texas and was planning to attend the present when his agent phoned and, Dicker recalled, requested him, “How fast can you get to the airport?”
A short while later, Dicker was touchdown in Southern California to put in writing a second chapter to his unlikely story.
“He represents what this season has been about for us,” Staley mentioned. “It takes everybody on the team to win.”
It took all people Sunday plus one gorgeous break within the last minute — a break that allowed Austin Ekeler to really feel one thing apart from overwhelming remorse on the flight dwelling.
The Chargers have been in place for a game-winning Dicker try after they had third and 4 on the Falcons’ 22-yard line with 46 seconds left.
Wanting to place the ball close to the left hash mark, the Chargers ran Ekeler in that path over the deal with spot. As he was taking place on a two-yard acquire, Ekeler fumbled, with Atlanta defensive lineman Ta’Quon Graham recovering.
With the ball in his arms, Graham started working towards the alternative finish zone earlier than he additionally fumbled. Chargers’ left guard Matt Feiler recovered on the Atlanta 43-yard line.
“It’s amazing that we got that ball back,” Ekeler mentioned. “I gotta finish games much better than that.”
The misplaced fumble was the primary for the veteran working again since Dec. 5, 2021, when he had two in a victory at Cincinnati.
It additionally capped a day on which Ekeler scored two touchdowns — on a two-yard run and a one-yard catch— but additionally had a key drop on a display screen move and an obvious 37-yard scoring reception overturned by replay overview.
The fumble, although, was what Ekeler mentioned he’ll bear in mind most.
“Right there, it’s like, ‘Hey, Austin, close it out,’ ” he mentioned. “That’s the type of player I want to be. I have this weird, sick feeling. I’m so happy that we won. But … we could have easily lost that game if we don’t get that fumble right back.”
Given that second alternative with 34 seconds remaining, the Chargers wanted some yardage.
With one-on-one protection, Joshua Palmer labored free from Falcons’ cornerback Cornell Armstrong and Justin Herbert hit him for a 22-yard acquire.
“As soon as I beat him off the line,” Palmer mentioned, “I knew Justin was going to come to me.”
A two-yard run by Ekeler arrange Dicker’s memorable, last kick — not that he remembers seeing it move by the uprights.
“I saw it going,” Dicker mentioned. “I don’t remember it actually going through. I saw it going and it was, ‘Sweet!’ ”
Dicker turned and hugged holder JK Scott, earlier than his teammates converged, with Derwin James Jr. and Amen Ogbongbemiga putting him on their shoulders.
Not that Dicker remembers that, both. Calling it “all a blur,” he mentioned he had no concept who picked him up.
The pleasant confusion was comprehensible. Dicker had been a Charger for barely 96 hours and arrived at Mercedes-Benz Stadium nonetheless an unknown amongst his personal.
“Three or four, maybe,” Dicker mentioned when requested what number of of his teammates knew his title as of Sunday morning. “If there’s any Big 12 guys, I think they’d know. I guess the [other] specialists. That’s about it.”
A number of hours later, all of the Chargers knew Cameron Dicker.