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Sun., Jul. 19, 2015 7:30 AM PDT
Chargers Execute on Game Winning Drive
Philip Rivers let out a sigh of relief and exuberance when the game clock expired as his team wound up on the winning end of a thrilling comeback.
"We fought back," he said with a smile after the Chargers' victory. "This can be big for our football team."
The big win came courtesy of some big plays down the stretch for the Bolts. Rivers relied on two security blankets, longtime ally Antonio Gates and third-down wizard Danny Woodhead, to mount a nine-play drive and pull ahead once and for all.
Gates started the final offensive with back-to-back impact plays. The future Hall-of-Fame tight end was able to explode off the line on the opening play. He was in vintage form when he snagged a 15-yard gain right in front of Eagles safety Nate Allen.
He tested the other Eagles safety next. Rivers brought his team back to the line without a huddle and threw to his tight end again when he peeled open. Already in scoring range, rookie safety Earl Wolff made things worse for the Eagles when he let Gates step out of bounds.
Rivers went to his new toy next. Woodhead entered the game for the team's final drive and the decision by Mike McCoy paid off.
Woodhead maneuvered around Eagles linebackers twice for six-yard gains. When he turned his second target on the drive into a six-yard gain and a third down, Woodhead clapped his hands together in excitement. He knew the Bolts were in field goal range.
It was no surprise, then, that Woodhead was one of the first Chargers players to greet a celebrating Nick Novak when the kicker knocked home the game-winning field goal.
Rivers, on the other hand, stayed on the sidelines and soaked the moment in. His passes to Gates and Woodhead in crunch time let the Chargers finish their game with a long sought after comeback.
"It just feels good to be on the other side of these close victories," Rivers said. "It feels good to be on the winning side."