Chargers 21, Packers 13
SAN DIEGO (AP)
Shannon Eastin made history.
Some of the players she was officiating made it look ugly.
''I think it's exciting for her,'' said Chargers coach Norv Turner, who took a photo with Eastin before the game. ''She was confident and in control.''
The preseason opener for both teams was predictably sloppy at times, filled with fumbles, interceptions and missed assignments.
Philip Rivers had a touchdown, an interception and a fumble in limited action for the Chargers (No. 16 in the AP Pro32). Rookie Jarrett Lee got most of the snaps, throwing for 235 yards and a touchdown.
Aaron Rodgers had an interception and a fumble in three series for the Packers (No. 1).
''We didn't play as well as we want to, but it's preseason,'' Rodgers said.
Eastin turned it into a history-making event merely with her presence.
Among a group of replacement officials working games while the regular refs are locked out, Eastin was dwarfed by the players on San Diego's sideline and had a camera following her every move before the game.
A 16-year officiating veteran, she seemed at ease with the spotlight, staying steady among the giants and the national spotlight. Turner took a picture with her for posterity's sake, and Chargers tackle Jeromey Clary and linebacker Antwan Barnes each sought her out just before the opening kickoff, shaking her hand and saying a few words.
Once the game started, it was almost as if she wasn't there - the ultimate compliment for an official.
''I thought she did a good job of communicating,'' Packers coach Mike McCarthy said.
Eastin's game cap is headed to the Pro Football Hall of Fame after her first NFL game.
Many of the players still need some work after their first preseason performances.
Rodgers fumbled on Green Bay's first series, setting up a 23-yard touchdown pass from Rivers to Antonio Gates. Green Bay's Diondre Borel fumbled the ensuing kickoff and the Chargers recovered, but Tramon Williams stepped in front of Robert Meacham to intercept Rivers' pass two plays later.
The Chargers also lost a fumble on a handoff exchange between Rivers and Michael Hayes on the first play of the next series.
Rivers was 3 for 5 for 37 yards and was done after his fumble.
Rodgers threw for 16 yards on 2-of-8 passing.
Worse yet were some key injuries.
The list grew longer early in the first quarter when starting linebacker Desmond Bishop went down after a group of players fell on his right leg while he was finishing a tackle. He was unable to put any weight on his leg while being helped to the sideline.
The Chargers lost starting running back Ryan Mathews after he broke his clavicle on his first carry of the preseason. He's scheduled to have surgery on Friday and is expected to be out 4-to-6 weeks.
''It's disappointing,'' Rivers said. ''You hate it for him, first of all, and then obviously it affects the team. It's just unfortunate - first carry of the season - but he'll still bounce back and have a great year.''
Lee, who was undrafted out of LSU, hit Vincent Brown on a 27-yard touchdown pass in the second quarter and also helped set up Curtis Brinkley's 1-yard dive that made it 21-13 with just under 2 minutes left. He finished 15 of 22.
Graham Harrell, trying to solidify his spot as the No. 2 quarterback behind Rodgers, had some bad misses early. But he hit Randall Cobb on a 23-yard pass that set up a 3-yard touchdown between the two in the closing seconds of the first half and finished 15 of 27 for 135 yards.
''We did some good things at times and then we went through some rough patches,'' Harrellsaid. ''Hopefully, we will get better.''
Replacement officials are working games for the first time in 11 years and have 16 this weekend, including six Thursday night. There have already been some shaky moments.
The crew working the Hall of Fame game last Sunday had mixed reviews and fans in Buffalo booed replacement officials Thursday night after they muffed a touchback call in a game against Washington.
Eastin didn't seem to have any trouble in her first NFL game.
The 42-year-old from Tempe, Ariz., is a referee in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference, college football's second-highest level, and owns a company that trains basketball and football officials.
Wearing No. 27 on the back of her official's uniform, Eastin wasn't involved in many calls until flagging San Diego's Patrick Doyle for holding in the third quarter. She heard a few boos from the hometown crowd in the fourth period on a pass interference call on Chargers safety Corey Lynch - she appeared to get it right - and signaled touchdown when Green Bay's Marc Tyler scored on a 1-yard run. Green Bay failed on the 2-point conversion, keeping the Chargers up 14-13.
Eastin signaled TD again when Brinkley scored later, but had a relatively quiet night overall, which, in the world of officiating, can be a good thing.
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