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Bolts Take Charge in Second Half, Beat Cowboys 30-21
Bolts take charge in the second half to beat the Cowboys 30-21.
After winning the opening coin toss, the Bolts won and elected to defer. After allowing a first down, Kendall Reyes sacked Tony Romo, which led three plays later to a punt. The Chargers first offensive possession went
The Cowboys tied the score less than two minutes into the second quarter on a five-yard fade to Dez Bryant. On the ensuing possession San Diego picked up a pair of first downs before having to punt it to Dwayne Harris, who returned it 38-yards to the Bolts 42-yard line. The defense proved stout, forcing Dan Bailey to attempt a 56-yard field goal that went wide left. Another big play to Keenan Allen sparked a drive down to the 18-yard line, but the Bolts couldn’t punch it in, settling for a 36-yard Nick Novak field goal and a 10-7 lead. The Cowboys countered with a five-play, 72-yard drive ending with Bryant’s second touchdown of the quarter, giving Dallas the 14-10 lead. With a little over two minutes remaining in the half, the Chargers were driving at midfield. As Rivers attempted to pass, his hand was hit and the ball floated in the air into the arms of Sean Lee, who returned it 52-yards for the touchdown and a 21-10 lead. San Diego was determined to get points on the board and responded by marching it down the field to the Dallas 24 yard line where Nick Novak drilled a 42-yard field goal as time expired. With 30 minutes in the books, the Cowboys led 21-13.
Starting the half with the ball, Rivers led a 10-play, 80-yard drive right out of the gate, ending with another Woodhead touchdown catch. This one was for 13 yards and trimmed the deficit to just one, 21-20. Dallas drove the ball to midfield on their next drive but the defense forced a punt, pinning the Bolts down at their own 11-yard line. A balanced drive featuring clutch plays by Woodhead, Allen, Eddie Royal and Ryan Mathews had the Chargers at the five yard line heading into the final quarter.
The Chargers were unable to punch it into the end zone, but did take the lead when Nick Novak connected from 23 yards out for a 23-21 lead. Dallas drove the ball to midfield, but Eric Weddle came through with his second clutch third-down breakup to force a punt. After Vincent Brown reached full extension to pick up a 3rd-and-1, Rivers hung tight in the pocket and hit Antonio Gates in stride on a 56-yard touchdown. The score gave the home team a 30-21 lead with 6:54 remaining. On the ensuing drive, Donald Butler was called for pass interference putting the Cowboys into Chargers territory. On a big third and eight play, Romo took stride and ran for the first down putting the Cowboys in a first and goal situation with just under three minutes remaining. On second and goal, Cowboys' receiver Terrance Williams caught and then fumbled the ball inches from the goal line where the Chargers' Richard Marshall recovered the ball in the end zone. Philip Rivers and the offense took over on their 20-yard line. The Chargers punted the ball away giving the Cowboys one more chance on offense but to no avail.
A tipped pass for a pick-six gave the Cowboys an 11-point lead, 21-10, with under two minutes remaining in the first half. The Chargers showed great resolve, marching down the field for a field goal as time expired to cut the lead to eight. Then, receiving the ball to start the second half, Philip Rivers went 7-for-7, finishing the drive with a 13-yard touchdown strike to Danny Woodhead. Those two plays sparked the Bolts to go on a 20-0 run to win the game.
It was Over When…
Trailing by nine, Dallas thought they were about to get in the end zone as Terrance Williams stretched for the score. Much to Dallas' dismay Eric Weddle held him up and Crezdon Butler punched the ball loose. It bounced a couple times in the end zone before Richard Marshall recovered it for the home team, all but sealing the deal.
Play of the Game
Up two, the Chargers had a first down thanks to a gutsy, extra-effort play by Vincent Brown on third down. Philip Rivers snapped the ball in the shotgun and hung tight in the pocket. Looking downfield, he unleashed a deep ball that hit Antonio Gates perfectly in stride for a 56-yard touchdown.
Stat of the Game
Philip Rivers set an NFL record for completion percentage (83%) by a quarterback who threw for over 400 yards (401).
“You’ve got to finish a team when you get the opportunity. Come up with a big stand on defense then finish it on offense. Go down and score. Run out the clock towards the end. Pin them deep. Come up with a turnover like we did at the end of the game. That’s what it’s all about.” – Head Coach Mike McCoy
“These kind of wins and games early on, when you have a lot of young guys playing that maybe we didn’t expect to have to play, you gain experience, you gain confidence and you gain toughness. Then all of a sudden, your 53 guys you had are better than you had a week before.” – Quarterback Philip Rivers
“I felt we did a great job protecting Phil back there. We knew we had a big task at hand and I’m just proud of my guys. I heard we got like 500 yards or something. That’s awesome. We’ve just got to continue to grow from this next week. I’m just proud of my team.” – Left Tackle Mike Harris
“At the end of the day, it’s about the San Diego Chargers. No matter who the opponent is we have to go out there, execute and do the things we’re capable of doing.” – Tight End Antonio Gates
“We came out and had a ‘we will not be denied’ attitude. We fear nobody. We’re going to go out there and play for 60 minutes. We are a scrappy offensive line, and we’re coming after you every single play.” – Right Tackle D.J. Fluker
Odds and Ends
The Chargers outgained the Cowboys 506 to 317.
San Diego controlled the clock, having the ball for 34:03 while Dallas had it just 25:57.
Philip Rivers finished 35 of 42 (83%) for 401 yards, three touchdowns and a passer rating of 120.3. He also threw for his 200th career NFL touchdown.
Antonio Gates led the team with 10 receptions for 136 yards. In the process, Gates passed Ozzie Newsome for fourth all-time in receptions by a tight end.
Danny Woodhead notched his first career two-touchdown game. His 26-yard TD in the first quarter was the longest of his career as well.
Ryan Mathews led the team with 19 carries for 62 yards.
Donald Butler and Richard Marshall tied for a team-high eight tackles
Changes to the starting lineup included Mike Harris at left tackle for King Dunlap, Johnnie Troutman at left guard for Chad Rinehart, Rich Ohrnberger at right guard for Jeromey Clary and Johnny Patrick at cornerback for Shareece Wright.