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San Diego Chargers 21 - Green Bay Packers 13
The San Diego Chargers defeated the Green Bay Packers, 21-13, in a prime-time affair broadcast nationally on ESPN.
Quarterback Philip Rivers got the Bolts off to a strong start, throwing a strike to Antonio Gates in stride for a 23-yard touchdown with 7:26 remaining in the first quarter. Rivers finished the game 3-for-5 with one touchdown and an interception.
Fellow quarterback Jarrett Lee took over late in the first quarter and played the remainder of the game. He finished 15 for 22 with one touchdown and an interception as well as a quarterback rating of 99.6. The rookie out of LSU added to the Chargers lead in the second quarter, connecting with wide receiver Vincent Brown on a 27-yard play action touchdown pass.
After the Packers narrowed the lead to 14-13, Lee marched the team down the field and handed the ball off to Curtis Brinkley, who ran for a one-yard touchdown plunge to finish off the scoring at 21-13.
Ryan Mathews suffered a broken clavicle and is expected to miss four-to-six weeks.
The Packers brought the game to within a single point on a one-yard touchdown run by running back Marc Tyler with 11:25 left in the game. Rather than kick the extra point and tie the game, Green Bay head coach Mike McCarthy decided to go for the two-point conversion to put his team ahead. Quarterback Graham Harrell took the snap out of the shotgun formation and fired to his left looking for Jarrett Boykin, but Shareece Wright had great position on the play and obstructed the receiver from making the catch, keeping the Bolts in the lead.
It Was Over When…
Marching down the field trying to tie the game with their two-minute offense, quarterback B.J. Coleman dropped back and delivered a screen pass to Tyler with 32 seconds remaining. The play looked set up to go for a big gain, but linebacker Ricky Elmore sprinted in pursuit, catching the speedy tailback from behind and punching the ball loose. Fellow linebacker Bront Bird fell on the ball and secured the victory for the home team.
Play of the Game
Midway through the first quarter, Rivers took the snap out of the shotgun position into a five-step drop. He watched as Gates, the team’s all-time leader in receptions, juked past three defenders to get open right at the goal line. The ball floated perfectly in the air into the waiting arms of Gates, who took a hard hit from safety Morgan Burnett but held on to the rock for the seven points.
Stat of the Game
The Chargers struggled in third-down defense in 2011, but if tonight’s game is any indication, the team is much improved in that area. The Bolts forced seven three-and-outs, in addition to a fourth-down stop that turned into an interception.
“My hopes for Ryan have not changed. You can look at it a couple different ways. He could have had a great preseason and in the second quarter of week four, had this injury and missed four to six weeks of the season. We’re going to get him back as we start the season or somewhere around there. The way he’s been going, I still expect him to have a great game.” – Norv Turner
“It was nice to see us compete against another team for the first time and come away with the win. It’s exactly what we’re trying to accomplish this year.” – Antonio Gates
“It felt good to make some plays out there. The offensive line did a great job opening up holes, and I just tried to execute the best way I could” – Curtis Brinkley
“Every part of my game, I feel like you either get better or you get worse, you never stay the same, so I’m always trying to build a stepping stone for my game to get better every day.” – Melvin Ingram
Odds and Ends
Shannon Eastin became the first female official in NFL history tonight, acting as line judge for the contest.
The Chargers outgained the Packers 326 yards to 230.
The team’s basically split time of possession on the night, with San Diego having the ball for 30:52 and Green Bay 29:08.
The game served as the team’s 24th Annual Salute to the Military night.
Tonight’s attendance was 55,527. Read