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Rivers gets defensive

Posted Aug 21, 2010

The Pro Bowl quarterback saved a touchdown by stopping Barry Church and scored another on a 1-yard sneak.


SAN DIEGO – Cowboys strong safety Barry Church streaked down the sideline unencumbered, headed for the end zone after a fumble recovery.

Having alluded 10 Chargers, Church needed only to dodge quarterback Philip Rivers.

He got Rivers to turn his hips inside toward the left hashmark and then broke outside, but the former high school safety planted, halted his momentum and dove at Church’s legs to put him to the ground.

“I don’t know how you can let a guy score,” Rivers said when asked if the context of preseason made him think twice about going for the tackle. “They’re keeping score. Maybe the consequences aren’t as big in the preseason as far as wins and losses, but it’s kind of hard just to pass a guy up there.”

Rivers said during the week he wasn’t afraid of injury during the preseason when asked about a hit that bloodied Giants quarterback Eli Manning and backed it up against Dallas.

“That can happen any time. You can’t play worrying about that,” he said Thursday.

Rivers also scored a touchdown on a 1-yard sneak during the first quarter. The crowd gave him an enthusiastic response after the replay of his tackle on the big screen at Qualcomm Stadium. Backup Billy Volek replaced him on the next series.

“Nobody ever mistakes that he’s not emotional and fiery,” Jeromey Clary said. “He competes out there. It shows that it doesn’t matter if it’s a live snap or a preseason rep for him, he’s getting after it.”

LEG UP: Mike Scifres booted a 61-yard punt during the second quarter. He later pinned Dallas inside the 10 at the end of the first half.

He breeched the 60-yard mark in four games last season and feels healthy after rehabbing a groin injury during the offseason.

SACK AGAIN: Antwan Applewhite, one of the stars of the 25-10 win against Chicago, chased down Stephen McGee during the fourth quarter for his third sack of the preseason.

The tackle ensured San Diego got the ball back with 2:35 left.

ANOTHER RETURN: Receiver Richard Goodman again put the Chargers in good position with a kickoff return.

After a 51-yard return last week, he followed good blocks from Antonio Garay and Curtis Brinkley and sprinted to the 40-yard line.

THOMAS RETIRES: Left tackle Tra Thomas has decided to retire from the NFL.

Thomas played 12 NFL seasons and made three Pro Bowls with the Philadelphia Eagles. He had his right knee scoped earlier this month and told ESPN that he didn’t want to disservice the game after he felt his skills were declining.

SALUTE TO MILITARY: The Chargers honored each of the branches of the U.S. military Saturday, giving them more than 2,000 tickets, involving them in the entertainment pregame and at halftime and honoring them.

A formation of four F/A-18 Hornets flew over Qualcomm Stadium following the national anthem as a football field-sized flag unfurled below them.

BOLTS: Darrell Stuckey played his first game as a Charger and made two tackles … Larry English and Antonio Garay each started the game on defense for San Diego. English missed last week’s game with a minor injury and Garay, listed as the first-team defensive tackle, was an early substitute for Ogemdi Nwagbuo … Guard Ryan Otterson played at left tackle during the second half.

GAME WEATHER: Sunny, 76 degrees.

ATTENDANCE: 64,372.

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