Four trips in the red zone.
Four trips into the end zone.
That’s a sure-fire recipe for success if you’re lucky enough to make it inside the 20 over the course of an entire game.
The Bolts did it in the first 30 minutes of play.
Buoyed by Melvin Gordon’s three touchdowns, the Chargers raced out to a 28-6 lead heading into halftime, which was more than enough as they left Buffalo with a 31-20 victory.
Philip Rivers was on point in the first half as only one of his passes hit the turf. He entered halftime completing 15 of 16 attempts for 178 yards and three touchdowns for a 152.6 passer rating.
Even with all their success, Head Coach Anthony Lynn believes the offense could have been even better if not for a couple early slips on the turf. Still, he was pleased with Rivers’ efficiency.
“(Philip was) very good, very good,” he said. “If we had stayed on our feet a couple times where we had slipped, it could’ve been even better. But those guys were open, and he was putting it on the money. The efficiency was good. The protection was good.”
Of course, the ability to move the ball means nothing if you can’t put it in the end zone. The Chargers have been extremely efficient in the red zone to begin the season, scoring those four first half touchdowns before adding a field goal to put points on the board each trip down there. That field goal was the first time in seven tries all season the Bolts didn’t score a touchdown when they got into the red zone.
So, what’s clicking for the Chargers inside the 20?
“I think just everything,” Rivers said. “(We have) a lot of guys. The ball has been spread around down there, and we’ve just finished. It's something we’ve talked about all offseason, (and) we’re going to continue to be creative because we’ve got guys down there that we know teams are going to try to take away. I think the thing we’ve done very well early is we’ve not waited. Let’s go score right now. We had that 2nd-and-4 from the nine. Let’s not try to get it to 1st-and-goal. Let’s get it right now. There’s just a little more of, ‘we’re going to get in the end zone right now’ instead. We’re doing a nice job of that.”
Overall, Rivers was 23 of 27, completing 85.2 percent of his passes for 256 yards and three touchdowns. It marked the 54th three-touchdown game of his career.
A ton of credit for the Bolts’ offensive explosion goes to Offensive Coordinator Ken Whisenhunt, who was universally praised in the locker room following the win.
“When you make a defense defend three (options), it’s hard,” Lynn said. “They have to give you something, and I thought Ken did a good job of creating balance between the run and the pass on the field. Special plays, passing game, running game; he did a nice job calling.”
It’s also helps to have the type of playmakers Rivers has at his disposal, and number 17 was quick to credit all of them.
“We have that kind of team (where everyone contributes), and I think that’s what makes us tough to defend,” he said. “It’s (Austin) Ekeler, it’s Melvin. It’s Keenan (Allen). It’s Mike (Williams). It’s Tyrell (Williams). It’s Travis (Benjamin) when he gets back. It’s Virgil (Green) today. His average per catch was what, 20 yards probably. It’s Gatesy (Antonio Gates) for the long haul. I’m sure people are going to wonder (because) Gates wasn’t really involved today (but) Gates is in it for the long haul. It’s a week-to-week deal of who it may be on any given week.”
Check out some of the best action photos from the Bolts Week 2 match against the Buffalo Bills