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Chargers bash Bills, 37-10

Posted Dec 11, 2011

San Diego dominated a second consecutive game as the defense intercepted three passes, Philip Rivers threw three touchdowns and a successful fake punt proved a turning point for the Chargers.

SAN DIEGO – The Chargers leveraged a dominant first half, a successful fake punt and a Steve Gregory interception for touchdown to overpower the Bills.

San Diego (6-7) won, 37-10, at Qualcomm Stadium on Sunday, keeping its playoff aspirations alive with back-to-back victories.

“The type of team we are as a defensive group, an offensive group and the kicking game, we have to feed off each other. We have to play at a high level in all three phases,” Head Coach Norv Turner said. “I liked our team’s ability to put together a complete game (today).”

Safeties Eric Weddle and Steve Gregory helped bust open what had become a tight game in the third quarter.

Buffalo’s Bryan Scott pounced on a Philip Rivers fumble in the end zone to get the Bills within 16-10 near the beginning of the second half, and San Diego appeared forced to punt on its next possession.

Facing fourth-and-2 from the Chargers’ 30, Eric Weddle consulted with the punt team and called for a fake. Weddle, the up man, grabbed the snap and followed Randy McMichael’s block around the left end for a 10-yard gain.

“You don’t do it unless you feel pretty good about it,” Turner said of the call. “In this situation, we gave (Weddle) the green light in terms of it was there, take it. It was just a good time to do it.”

San Diego’s offense found traction after that, as Rivers completed 5-of-6 passes the rest of the drive for 65 yards and a touchdown. Gregory darted in front of a Ryan Fitzpatrick pass on the next play from scrimmage, racing 26 yards for a touchdown, and the Chargers seized control once again.

“That was a sick pick because he was really a Cover 2. (Gregory) read the quarterback and overplayed it,” Weddle said. “I told him, ‘Welcome to the club.’ He’s got a couple more to catch me, but I’m proud of him.”

The offense dominated for a second straight game, end zone fumble aside. Rivers threw six touchdowns and zero interceptions in the back-to-back wins as the Chargers scored 75 points.

Antonio Gates caught touchdowns of nine and two yards, and Patrick Crayton added a 26-yard score. Mike Tolbert ran for a 1-yard touchdown as well.

Ryan Mathews gained 148 yards of total offense and topped 100 yards rushing for a third consecutive game.

The defense has given up just three points in the last six quarters, and the kick coverage units have played at a high level since a loss to Chicago on Nov. 20.

San Diego remains two games behind Denver (8-5) in the AFC West with three to play. Five teams also are ahead of the Chargers for the final AFC Wild Card slot, including Oakland (7-6), whom the Bolts still face.

“Obviously, we know all the math,” Turner said. “There’s nothing we can do about that. We have Baltimore coming in and we have to find a way to beat them.”

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