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Highlight shows must be drooling for the Bolts' fourth-quarter film.
At the start of the quarter, Danny Woodhead brought down a 39-yard throw from Philip Rivers that was tipped twice. And with six minutes to play, Donald Butler nearly outdid Woodhead when his diving interception was ruled incomplete.
But plays served to prove today belonged to the Bolts. They sealed a 37-14 victory and sent the Chargers to their sixth victory of the season.
The Giants started the quarter with a five-yard touchdown toss from Eli Manning to Brandon Myers. On the ensuing possession, Philip Rivers dropped back to throw when his offense faced 3rd-and-4 in their own territory. The Giants jumped offside, and with the free play, Rivers threw deep for Woodhead.
That's when things got interesting. Woodhead worked back to the under-thrown ball before it was tipped. He got his hands on the ball and tipped it again, and then pirouetted in midair to secure the loose ball once and for all.
Nick Novak kicked his first of two field goals in the quarter soon after.
Butler almost topped that play with an airborne feat of his own. Manning threw for Myers but he read the pass perfectly. Butler dove for the extra few inches, but the ball popped free when he hit the turf.
The Bolts will evade a losing streak and show up on a few highlight reels this week. Stay tuned to Chargers.com. Read
There's tough, and then there's the drive that the Chargers mounted in the third quarter.
An early Philip Rivers fumble gave the Giants their first points of the game. But when Rivers and Co. took the field, they answered their mistake with a physical drive that went for 80 yards in 11 plays.
After 45 minutes of play and a long scoring drive, the Bolts lead the Giants 31-7.
On the first play of the quarter, Rivers climbed the pocket to avoid an oncoming rush. But Justin Tuck pressured the football out of his hands before he could throw it, and the Giants scooped up the ball at the Bolts' 18-yard line.
The defense made Big Blue work for a one-yard Peyton Hillis touchdown. And when Mike McCoy sent his offense back out on the field, they made the Giants defense pay.
Ryan Mathews and Danny Woodhead combined for eight straight carries to start the drive. Rivers attempted his first pass at around midfield at a drive that started at their own 20. After a few throws, the Bolts benefitted from a pass interference call when Vincent Brown was dragged down in the end zone.
Ryan Mathews did the rest. He toted the rock three more times until he knocked through for a touchdown.
The Giants ended the quarter with a drive of their own. They're set up at the Bolts' five-yard line to start the fourth quarter.
Keenan Allen came right out of the locker room and into the end zone.
His second score of the day -- a four-yard corner route timed perfectly by Philip Rivers -- came minutes after he returned to the game from an injury. He looks healthy now, and because of his score and another late score from Danny Woodhead, the Bolts own a healthy 24-0 first-half lead.
To start the scoring, Nick Novak's field goal capped a 15-play drive that began in the first quarter. When the Giants took over for their first possession of the period, they were rebuffed by the Bolts' defensive backfield.
They tested Shareece Wright and Richard Marshall with deep passes. Both Bolts came up with big pass deflections that prevented Big Blue from striking quick.
Those incompletions caused another three-and-out. When Rivers marched his offense back out on the field, he picked the Giants defense apart with short, accurate passes.
The Chargers' passer was five-for-six on his team's third scoring drive. He started with a big third down conversion to Antonio Gates, and ended it with a deadly accurate throw to Allen for six points.
On the next series, Reggie Walker slammed into Andre Brown and pried the ball loose. Marcus Gilchrist recovered and set the Bolts up with another chance to widen their lead.
That's exactly what happened six plays later. Rivers tossed to Gates for 23 yards and with 19 seconds left, Woodhead swung out of the backfield for his sixth receiving score this season.
The Bolts can add to their first-half lead when they receive the kickoff after halftime.
The Bolts defense greeted Eli Manning almost as warmly as the Qualcomm crowd did.
A raucous fan base forced an early false start penalty from Manning's unit. Meanwhile, defensive coordinator John Pagano's unit forced a three-and-out and caused Manning to throw an early interception to Donald Butler. Manning looked downfield for Rueben Randle, but Shareece Wright stuck with the receiver step-for-step. Butler broke out of his drop, snagged it, and ran 30 yards the other way.
Philip Rivers took that extra possession and ran with it. Butler's third career interception set up a Keenan Allen touchdown when Rivers connected with the rookie on a 43-yard bomb that gave the Bolts' their early first-quarter lead, 7-0.
When the Giants took over, the Bolts didn't miss a beat. The crowd caused Big Blue to retreat five yards when their cheers slowed Manning down. Then, the Giants' passer had to evade Corey Liuget and Cam Thomas, who made two big stops on a drive and eventually caused the Giants to punt.
On the next drive, Allen darted right by Giants cornerback Terrell Thomas to get open for Rivers. With a 12-yard pickup later in the quarter, the Cal product passed LaDanian Tomlinson to set the Chargers record for catches by a rookie.
The Bolts are on the march after receiving that punt as the second quarter begins.
The Bolts started this season with their sights set on Metlife Stadium. With that goal still in mind, they’ll take on one of its tenants today in a slightly warmer climate.
Don’t expect a warm welcome for the visiting New York Giants (5-7), though. The San Diego Chargers (5-7) are looking to win their third straight game against Eli Manning and Co. when the two teams kick off at Qualcomm Stadium at 1:25PM.
Philip Rivers is enjoying his best statistical season of his ten-year career. Against the team that drafted him, Rivers can register his fifth 4,000-yard passing season with a 367-yard throwing day today – almost normal stats for Rivers this year. Only Brett Favre and Dan Marino have as many 390-yard passing games in a season as the Bolts’ quarterback does, and with each passing week, more options emerge for Rivers in the Chargers’ dangerous offense. Multifaceted running back Danny Woodhead and veteran tight end Antonio Gates top the list of Rivers’ targets, but lately, Rivers has turned to younger options. Receiver Keenan Allen needs just two catches and 159 yards to set new Bolts records for receptions and receiving yards by a rookie. And second-year tight end Ladarius Green has emerged as another option behind Gates by catching his second touchdown pass in two weeks last Sunday.
Eli Manning has played better against the Chargers than his 0-2 record lets on. The quarterback owns a 107.2 passer rating against the Bolts, and with Manning at the helm, his offense is always a dangerous one. The Giants passer recorded his 24th come-from behind fourth quarter victory last week by throwing to formidable downfield threats like Victor Cruz, Hakeem Nicks, and Rueben Randle. A resurgent running game has helped Big Blue, too – Andre Brown has returned from a broken leg to average 4.1 yards per carry with three scores.
Inactives for the Chargers include: Brad Sorensen, Lavelle Hawkins, Brandon Taylor, Stephen Schilling, Kenny Wiggins and Kwame Geathers.
Stay tuned to Chargers.com for all the latest news and analysis from Bolts-Giants. ReadRead