A record-setting performance by quarterback Philip Rivers propelled the Los Angeles Chargers to a 45-10 win over the Arizona Cardinals Sunday from ROKiT Field at StubHub Center.
Rivers set a single-game NFL record by completing his first 25 passes, most of which came during a stretch where the Chargers scored 45 unanswered points. He finished 28-of-29 for 259 yards and three touchdowns before giving way to Geno Smith in the fourth quarter.
Rivers has thrown multiple touchdown passes in all 11 games in 2018. Only quarterbacks Johnny Unitas, Peyton Manning and Aaron Rodgers have thrown at least two touchdown passes in their first 11 games to start a season.
Running back Melvin Gordon had 10 carries for 61 yards and two touchdowns before leaving the game in the third quarter with a knee injury. Wide receiver Mike Williams scored two touchdowns and Keenan Allen caught seven balls for 72 yards and a touchdown – his third consecutive game with a score.
The offensive explosion was complemented by a dominating defensive performance. Defensive end Joey Bosa notched his first two sacks of the season and safety Derwin James nabbed his second interception of the year. Arizona was held to just 149 yards of total offense.
The Chargers improved to 8-3 on the season and finished 3-1 against the NFC West. They’ve outscored their opponents 124-41 in the second quarter this season.
Cardinals vs. Chargers In-Game
Browse through the top game action photos as the Bolts take on the Arizona Cardinals during Week 12 at ROKiT Field at StubHub Center.
Arizona struck first on its opening possession. A nine-play, 76-yard drive ended with a 25-yard touchdown pass from rookie quarterback Josh Rosen to future Hall of Fame wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald.
After a Chargers three-and-out, Arizona got the ball back at Los Angeles’ 44-yard line thanks to a 26-yard punt return by rookie wide receiver Christian Kirk. Eight plays later, Phil Dawson kicked a 30-yard field goal to increase the Cardinals lead to 10-0.
Los Angeles, in need of an early spark, got it right away in the form of a 40-yard Desmond King kick return. On the next play, Rivers found wide receiver Travis Benjamin for a 27-yard reception. Rivers finished the eight-play drive with a nine-yard touchdown pass to Williams to cut Arizona’s lead to 10-7.
L.A.’s next two scores would come from its all-everything running back. Gordon had touchdown rushes of 26 and five yards – the latter set up by James' interception of Rosen. A Williams two-yard touchdown reception capped a 28-point second quarter for Los Angeles.
Running back Austin Ekeler caught a career high 10 passes for 68 yards and added 35 yards and a touchdown on the ground. Rookie running back Justin Jackson rushed for 57 yards on seven carries.
James and linebacker Jatavis Brown led the team with seven tackles each. Kicker Michael Badgley converted all six of his extra-point attempts and a 31-yard field goal.
The Chargers travel to Pittsburgh to take on the Steelers in Week 13. Kickoff from Heinz Field is on Sunday, Dec. 2 at 5:20 p.m. Pacific (NBC).