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The Bolts earned their second victory of the 2013 season by taking advantage of that exact coverage. Rivers climbed the pocket to buy time, Gates separated from linebacker Sean Lee, and the duo connected on a 56-yard pass that put the Bolts up 30-21 -- the game's final score.
Rivers joins Gates (who's now fourth in all-time receptions by a tight end) in a historical outing for the Bolts. He's now the third quarterback in franchise history with 200 or more touchdown passes.
The score also capped a big day for the Bolts' offense as a whole. The team scored 20 answered points after Sean Lee's interception return late in the second quarter.
Nick Novak kicked an early field goal to cut the Cowboys' fourth quarter lead to one. Then, the defense rebuffed the 'Boys when they tried to extend a scoring drive in response. With an Eric Weddle tip, the ball ended back in Rivers' hands for the game-deciding drive.
Crezdon Butler sealed the contest when he stripped the ball away from receiver Terrance Williams. Richard Marshall recovered, fell in the end zone, and ended the Cowboys comeback hopes.
Stay tuned to Chargers.com for more news and analysis of the Bolts' 30-21 victory over the Dallas Cowboys.
Philip Rivers hasn’t missed in the second half.
He's 12-for-12 in the third quarter and easily completed all his passes on the second half's opening drive. More importantly, he found Danny Woodhead on another pass out of the backfield for a score, and as the fourth quarter begins, the Chargers trail 21-20 and are on the move for more points.
Antonio Gates was Rivers' favorite target on the drive. He brought the Bolts into scoring range with a 25-yard pickup and tallied three catches in the 10-play, 80-yard march. In doing so, he passed Ozzie Newsome for fourth on the all-time list for receptions by a tight end.
Woodhead capped the drive with another touchdown catch. He swung out of the backfield to the Chargers sideline and cut upfield, gaining enough separation on the route to catch Rivers' attention.
Rivers threw a pass his way that was nearly identical to the one he scored on in the first quarter. The end result was another clutch touchdown.
The Cowboys added a third defensive touchdown this season, but the Chargers responded with two-minute drill ending with a field goal.
Rivers and the Bolts offense had their momentum interrupted with an interception return by Sean Lee. But he rallied the unit, drove the Bolts down the field again, and set up a field goal to cut into the Cowboys first-half lead, 21-13.
Credit Rivers for emerging from that turnover unfazed and responding. Just plays before he called a timeout to set Nick Novak up for his second field goal, he watched as his tipped pass by defensive end Jason Hatcher fluttered right to Lee.
The Cowboys tallied 21 points in the quarter after Lee ran the interception back. They also scored on a five-yard fade and a 34-yard catch and run from Tony Romo to Dez Bryant.
The halftime score might've favored the Cowboys except safety Eric Weddle made a heads-up play.
Weddle left his feet to knock away a surefire first down pass from Romo to Jason Witten and forced a long field goal attempt. The Cowboys had to settle for a 56-yard field goal attempt as a result -- and missed. And on the ensuing drive, the Bolts took a 10-7 halftime lead.
Romo found Bryant twice to respond with scores, but Rivers and the offense has been able to move the ball. They'll get another chance when they receive the second half kickoff and action resumes. ReadRead Read Read
Add a touchdown to the impressive early start of running back Danny Woodhead.
Woodhead rolled out of the backfield on the Chargers' second drive and up the sideline. Philip Rivers lofted the ball perfectly for him for the only score of the first quarter, and the Bolts lead the Cowboys 7-0.
Woodhead's 26-yard snag was the longest touchdown catch of his career.
Rivers' amazingly accurate season has continued in Week 4. Before he lobbed that perfect pass to Woodhead, he placed a back shoulder fade where only rookie Keenan Allen could catch it. Allen adjusted, high-pointed the ball, and beat Morris Claiborne for a 31-yard pickup.
Rivers found Gates for six yards, and then ended the drive with the Woodhead score. He needs only two more touchdowns to join the 200-score club with John Hadl and Hall-of-Famer Dan Fouts in the Bolts record books.
The Chargers' defense got after Romo from the get-go. They've pressured the Cowboys passer, forced three punts, and pitched a first-quarter shutout.
Kendall Reyes and Corey Luiget have notched early sacks, and Derek Cox added a nice pass breakup when he pried the ball away from Dez Bryant on third down.
After two straight road games, Qualcomm Stadium is open for business again.
A record crowd is expected to be on hand to watch the San Diego Chargers (1-2) clash against the NFC East-leading Dallas Cowboys (2-1). Kickoff is slated for 1:25 PM PST.
Philip Rivers has been one of the NFL’s best quarterbacks through three weeks, and he could enter the Chargers’ record books this afternoon. Rivers needs only three more touchdown passes to join John Hadl and Hall-of-Famer Dan Fouts as the only Bolts quarterbacks with 200 career scores. He can reach that mark by throwing to a stable of talented targets, including Antonio Gates, Eddie Royal, Vincent Brown and leading receiver Danny Woodhead. The running back has caught 17 passes this season, and he also joins Ryan Mathews and Ronnie Brown to form the Bolts’ formidable three-headed rushing attack.
Four different Cowboys receivers have caught at least 15 passes from Tony Romo this season, including top targets Dez Bryant and Jason Witten. But Romo hasn’t been slippery enough to avoid Dwight Freeney in their recent meetings; the sack master has taken him down four times in three career games against the ‘Boys. If history holds true, Romo should also avoid cornerback Derek Cox. Cox came down with two interceptions in his last meeting with the Cowboys as a member of the Jaguars.
Today’s inactives for the Chargers include: Jeromey Clary, King Dunlap, Malcom Floyd, Chad Rinehart, Brad Sorensen, Brandon Taylor and Shareece Wright.
Stay tuned to Chargers.com for all the latest news and updates. ReadRead