Bolts make too many mistakes in 17-10 loss

Maybe it was a good thing that the San Diego Chargers’ game

against the Cincinnati Bengals was blacked out in Southern

California – a first in the NFL this season.

That saved the fans who weren’t at Qualcomm Stadium from having

to watch the Chargers lose 17-10. The Chargers got worked over on

both sides of the ball and committed three turnovers.

”You can’t score 10 points and win in this league very often,”

quarterback Philip Rivers said after the Chargers coughed up the

momentum they’d seemingly gained with an exciting comeback victory

at Kansas City.

Andy Dalton threw a go-ahead, 21-yard touchdown pass to

wide-open A.J. Green late in the third quarter for the Bengals

(8-4), who kept a two-game lead over Baltimore in the AFC

North.

San Diego (5-7) saw its playoff hopes dwindle after its fourth

loss in five games.

”We’ve got to work on our consistency,” said rookie linebacker

Manti Te’o, who had five tackles. ”Our good plays are great and

our bad plays are real bad.

”We wore ourselves down,” Te’o said. ”We had opportunities to

make plays and they executed. We are going to fix those

things.”

With the score tied at 7, the Bengals got the ball after Dre

Kirkpatrick ripped the ball away from tight end Antonio Gates after

a reception at the Cincinnati 25, the Chargers’ third turnover.

Ten plays later, Green split the defense for an easy touchdown

catch, with safety Eric Weddle and cornerback Marcus Gilchrist only

able to watch.

On the Bengals’ next drive, Andrew Hawkins caught a short pass

from Dalton on third-and-2 from the Bengals 18 and raced 50 yards

to the San Diego 32, where he was pushed out of bounds. The Bengals

settled for Mike Nugent’s 46-yard field goal for a 17-7 lead.

The Bengals appeared to be driving for a score that would have

put away the game, but BenJarvus Green-Ellis fumbled when he was

hit by Gilchrist.

Weddle recovered and returned it 27 yards to the San Diego 43.

The drive stalled and Nick Novak kicked a 48-yard field goal to

pull to 17-10 with 4:43 left.

A personal foul against Johnnie Troutman after the field goal

forced the Chargers to kick off from their 20 and Brandon Tate

returned it 24 yards to the Bengals 34 and Cincinnati ran out the

clock.

”There were too many penalties, critical holding penalties

there in the end,” rookie coach Mike McCoy said. ”It was a

hard-fought game, but you can’t win against a good football team

playing the way we did today.”

Green-Ellis gained 92 yards on 20 carries.

The Bengals held Philip Rivers to 252 yards passing and have

allowed only one 300-yard passing day by an opponent this

season.

Dalton was 14 of 23 for 190 yards.

Cincinnati’s offensive line manhandled the Chargers on the

Bengals’ second drive, which ended with BenJarvus Green-Ellis

scoring on a 4-yard run.

The Chargers responded with a long drive capped when second-year

tight end Ladarius Green split linebackers Rey Maualuga and Vontaze

Burfict and was wide open for a 30-yard touchdown reception to tie

the game at 7.

”Obviously the turnovers hurt us but we still had some

opportunities,” Rivers said. ”We just didn’t capitalize on

anything when the defense got us the ball back.

”This is a good team,” Rivers said. ”Let an opportunity pass

us by? Yes. It wasn’t like we had it in our grasp and they came in

here and stole it from us. We knew we were going to have to play

well.”

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