Rivers’ 4 TD passes help Chargers beat Jags 31-25, end skid
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) The Jacksonville Jaguars should have taken notes.
Philip Rivers, Antonio Gates and the San Diego Chargers put on a red-zone clinic Sunday, scoring touchdowns on four of five trips inside the 20-yard line. It turned out to be the difference in San Diego's 31-25 victory, which ended a six-game losing streak.
The Chargers (3-8) won for the first time in nearly two months and showed the Jaguars (4-7) how the game is supposed to be played near the goal line.
''This was long overdue,'' said Rivers, who completed 29 of 43 passes for 300 yards. ''It feels good. We leaned on each other a lot today. By no means does 3-8 sound wonderful, but winning today sure does.''
Rivers threw four touchdown passes – all from inside the 15-yard line – and reached two milestones along the way.
He passed Joe Montana (273) and tied Vinny Testaverde (275) for 11th on the NFL's all-time passing touchdown list. He also became the 17th player in NFL history to throw for 40,000 yards.
''You think about all the guys that protected you over the years, all the guys that made catches,'' Rivers said. ''It's definitely a collective kind of milestone. Every pass has to go to someone who has a hand in making it a completion. It's a lot of yards. I'm just glad that I've been able to be out there for 155 games in a row to reach something like that.''
Rivers found the end zone on all three red-zone possessions in the second quarter. He hooked up with Dontrelle Inman from 2 yards out and then found Gates for a 9-yard score that put San Diego ahead 14-9.
Blake Bortles threw his 13th interception of the season on the ensuing possession, and Rivers and Gates connected for a 12-yard score and a double-digit lead three plays later.
The Chargers made it hold – thanks partly to Rivers' fourth TD pass, which came in the fourth after he scrambled for a first down on a fourth-and-7 play.
''How about No. 17?'' San Diego coach Mike McCoy said of Rivers. ''He's amazing. When you prepare the way he does and you get us in the end zone the way he does, give him so much credit. He's just remarkable.''
The Jaguars can't say the same about their red-zone performance. They scored just once in four trips inside the 20-yard line, settling for field goals early and trailing 21-9 at halftime.
Two of those drives ended with short kicks after Bortles scrambled on third down and was flagged for throwing passes beyond the line of scrimmage.
''That's kind of stupid,'' Bortles said. ''I don't know from a coach's perspective what you tell a guy that does that, `Quit being an idiot?' I don't know. I've never done that in my life, and I did it twice today.''
The Jags have scored only five touchdowns in their last 18 trips inside the 20, a woefully inept output in the most important part of the field.
''You look down at the scoreboard at the end of the game and you say, `If we score two more touchdowns instead of field goals, we get this one,''' Jaguars tight end Julius Thomas said.
Here are some things we learned about the Chargers and Jaguars:
HURNS HOSPITALIZED: After diving for a ball and landing awkwardly, Jaguars receiver Allen Hurns was strapped to a backboard and carried off the field with 3:44 remaining. He gave two thumbs-up signs as he left the stadium. He was transported to a hospital as a precaution, diagnosed with a concussion and later released. Hurns tweeted ''Thanks for all the prayers I really appreciate it. I will be okay.''
BOO BIRDS: Fans booed McCoy's seemingly insensitive decision to challenge the play in which Hurns was hurt. They were livid that McCoy, whose team was leading 31-19 at the time, wanted the incompletion changed to an interception. The pass landed on Hurns' stomach after he rolled over – a San Diego defender picked up the ball – but officials ruled it touched the ground before he turned.
CROSS-COUNTRY CURE: For the second time in five years, the Chargers ended a six-game losing streak in Jacksonville. They also snapped a six-game skid in the River City in 2011.
HERNDON'S HEROICS: Chargers receiver Javontee Herndon, a Jacksonville native, returned two punts for 33 yards. That's 32 more punt return yards than the team had in its first 10 games combined.
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- Allen Hurns
- Antonio Gates
- Blake Bortles
- Dontrelle Inman
- Jacksonville Jaguars
- Javontee Herndon
- Julius Thomas
- Los Angeles Chargers
- Philip Rivers