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Chargers Fall in Shootout to Tampa Bay
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Philip Rivers threw for three touchdowns, but one bad decision in the fourth quarter ended up turning the tide against the Chargers as they fell 34-24 at Raymond James Stadium.
The Bolts got out to a quick start, as on 3rd-and-10, Danario Alexander spun out of a tackle for an 80-yard touchdown to give the Chargers a quick 7-0 lead. The Buccaneers responded in kind though, marching down the field in nine plays and getting into the end zone on a three-yard TD reception by Dallas Clark to tie the score. Philip Rivers led the Bolts to another touchdown on their next series. He culminated a seven play, 75-yard drive by hitting Antonio Gates up the seam for a 13-yard score. Both teams followed up with a pair of three-and-outs and after one quarter of play, the Chargers led 14-7.
Josh Freeman hit Mike Williams with a deep 54-yard pass to open up the second quarter. The Chargers defense buckled down after that though, limiting the damage to a Connor Barth field goal as their lead was cut to 14-10.The Chargers were forced to punt and that’s where disaster struck. Mike Scifres had his attempt blocked by Dekoda Watson and returned for a score by Adam Heyward to give the home team their first lead of the game. Scifres was hurt on the play but did return. With the ball again, Rivers orchestrated a much needed 14-play, 80-yard scoring drive capped by a three-yard strike to Malcom Floyd. Heading into halftime, the Chargers led 21-17.
The Bucs got the ball to start the second half but their opening drive stalled at midfield, and Michael Koenen punted the ball down to the two yard line. Backed up, the Chargers weren’t able to muster much and six plays later booted it back to the home team. Tampa Bay took advantage of good field position and regained the lead as Freeman connected on a 15-yard touchdown to Tiquan Underwood. The Chargers picked up a couple crucial third downs as they marched into Buccaneers territory at the end of the third quarter, down 24-21.
The Chargers appeared set to put points on the board early in the fourth, but Philip Rivers threw a pick-six to Leonard Johnson to change the tide of the game, giving the Buccaneers a 31-21 edge. Rivers shook off the poor decision by leading the team down the field for some much needed points as Nick Novak hit a 34-yard field goal to trim the lead to one score. The Chargers defense came through with a necessary stop as Shareece Wright broke up a pass to give the Bolts the ball back with 3:53 remaining in the game. However, a sack and then interception by LeQuan Lewis ended any hope of a comeback. Tampa bay would add a field goal to defeat the Chargers 34-24.
It was 3rd-and-4 at the Tampa Bay 23-yard line for the Chargers, and all they needed to do was not turn the ball over to at least tie the score with a field goal. Unfortunately, that’s what they did and then some as Philip Rivers threw a pick-six along the right sideline to Leonard Johnson. The touchdown put the Bucs up by 10 points and put the Chargers behind the eight ball for the remainder of the game.
It Was Over When…
Desperate to make a big play with 3:19 remaining in the game on 2nd-and-20, Philip Rivers was intercepted by LeQuan Lewis. The Bucs were able to run the clock out and secure the victory over the Chargers.
Play of the Game
On the third play from scrimmage, Philip Rivers hit Danario Alexander on a 12-yard slant that gave the Chargers a first down. Alexander wasn’t satisfied with that result though, as he spun away from away from a surefire tackle and sprinted the length of the field for a long 80-yard touchdown.
Stat of the Game
The Chargers lost the game despite outgaining the Buccaneers 426 to 279, dominated time of possession 36:41 to 23:19 and committed zero penalties.
“This is as tough of a group of guys as I’ve ever been around. We’ve got guys who have responded in every kind of adversity. We’ve had guys go play hurt and play when they shouldn’t have played. I know this group is going to respond.” – Head Coach Norv Turner
“In hindsight, I probably shouldn’t have thrown the ball, period. Kick a field goal and we tie it up. This game is played in quick decisions and I made the wrong one there.” – Quarterback Philip Rivers
“We’re a pretty somber group right now. We know next week is as close to a must win as it gets. We’ll turn around and regroup, but right now the mood is how you’d expect.” – Safety Eric Weddle
“I didn’t even see the guy coming. I’m not concentrating on the guys in front of me I’m just focusing on getting the ball out. I didn’t notice it until I was upside down.” – Punter Mike Scifres
Odds and Ends
Danario Alexander’s 80-yard touchdown was the longest catch of his career.
Philip Rivers threw for a career-high 148 yards in the first quarter.
Corey Liuget led the team with six tackles.
There were two changes to the starting lineup: Mike Harris at left tackle for Jared Gaither and Alexander at wide receiver for Robert Meachem
The inactives today included Seyi Ajirotutu, Brandon Taylor, Chris Carr, Gaither, Jonas Mouton, Antwan Barnes and Ladarius Green.