Dustin Hopkins kicked 'MNF' game-winner with injured hamstring; now he's sidelined 2-4 weeks

It turns out that Dustin Hopkins was legitimately injured when he kicked the Los Angeles Chargers to victory on Monday.

Hopkins appeared to injure his leg during a kick early in Monday's 19-16 win over the Denver Broncos. Punter JK Scott replaced him on the ensuing kickoff, but Hopkins maintained field-goal duties through the game.

It's a good thing for the Chargers that he did. Hopkins finished 4-of-4 on field goal attempts, including a late kick to send the game to overtime and the game-winning 39-yarder in the extra session. For his effort, he got a hero's reception and a game ball.

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Now's he's headed for the sideline. Head coach Brandon Staley announced on Tuesday that Hopkins will miss 2-4 weeks while recovering from a hamstring injury. And it sounds like Hopkins' postgame dramatics were more than just dramatics.

"Before every kick you knew that it was going to feel like somebody stabbed you with a knife," Hopkins said Monday night. ... "Pain is temporary. I was just kind of committed to swinging and dealing with the pain after the kick."

In Hopkins' stead, the Chargers will once again lean on 29-year-old rookie Taylor Bertolet to handle kicking duties. The Chargers elevated Bertolet from the practice squad in Week 5 when Hopkins was sidelined with a quad injury. He hit all three of his extra point attempts and went 3-for-3 on field goals with a long of 28 yards in a 30-28 win over the Cleveland Browns. Now he'll get his second NFL shot in a Sunday game against the Seattle Seahawks.

Los Angeles Chargers players hoist place kicker Dustin Hopkins (6) after his kick wins the game against the Denver Broncos in overtime in an NFL football game, Monday, Oct. 17, 2022, in Inglewood, Calif. Chargers won 19-16. (AP Photo/Kyusung Gong)
The legend of Dustin Hopkins continues to grow. (AP Photo/Kyusung Gong)