Chargers defense comes up huge in 52-24 win over Bills
CARSON, Calif. (AP) — Casey Hayward made two of the Chargers’ five interceptions during a horrific first half by Buffalo rookie quarterback Nathan Peterman, and Los Angeles cruised to a 54-24 victory over the slumping Bills on Sunday.
Korey Toomer returned Peterman’s first interception 59 yards for a touchdown on Buffalo’s opening drive, the rookie threw two more interceptions in the first quarter and two additional picks in the second. Peterman was pulled from his first NFL start with a 37-7 halftime deficit after just 14 pass attempts for the Bills (5-5), who lost their third straight.
Buffalo benched Tyrod Taylor and promoted the fifth-round pick from Pitt earlier this week despite being in playoff position. Coach Sean McDermott replaced Peterman with Taylor in the second half, and the veteran went 15 of 25 for 158 yards, throwing one TD pass and rushing for another score.
The Chargers thoroughly capitalized on Peterman’s mistakes, putting up a 27-point second quarter and their highest-scoring performance in Philip Rivers’ 195 consecutive starts since 2006. Los Angeles set a franchise record for points in a first half during the Bills’ worst defensive half since 1977, and the Chargers posted a resounding win for coach Anthony Lynn, who finished last season as Bills interim coach.
Rivers passed for 250 yards and Keenan Allen had 12 receptions for 159 yards and two touchdowns for the Chargers (4-6), whose offense capitalized on the extraordinary bounty created by its defense.
Joey Bosa particularly harassed Peterman, with his pressure contributing to Peterman’s second and third picks. Bosa also forced a fumble while sacking Taylor on fourth down in the third quarter, and Melvin Ingram returned it 39 yards for a touchdown.
Taylor hit LeSean McCoy with a 12-yard TD pass on fourth down in the fourth quarter. McCoy also rushed for 114 yards and an early score.
One week after a heartbreaking overtime loss in Jacksonville, the Chargers snapped a two-game skid and got back into fine form on both sides of the ball. Melvin Gordon and Austin Ekeler rushed for TDs, and Nick Novak kicked four field goals.
Peterman actually completed his first two passes, and his first interception wasn’t his fault. The pass hit fullback Pat DiMarco in the hands and went airborne, allowing Toomer to catch it for a rollicking return down the Buffalo sideline.
The Bills even tied it in the first quarter when McCoy made two runs totaling 64 yards, including a 27-yard scoring run for the Bills’ first touchdown in a first quarter this season.
But Peterman threw his third interception to Tre Boston while getting planted on his back by Bosa, and Allen then caught his first touchdown pass since the Chargers’ opener on a beautiful back-shoulder throw by Rivers.
Los Angeles took a 47-10 lead in the third quarter and got many of its regulars off the field in the second half to rest for its Thanksgiving game at Dallas.
Bills: Buffalo played without starting LT Cordy Glenn and WR Jordan Matthews, who sat out with a knee injury. … The Bills lost new WR Kelvin Benjamin to a right knee injury after a 20-yard catch on their opening drive. … S Micah Hyde injured his knee early in the second half.
Chargers: LT Russell Okung left the field gingerly in the second quarter, but missed only two snaps. … WR Travis Benjamin was sidelined by a strained abdominal muscle.
Rivers spent the week in the NFL’s concussion protocol after reporting symptoms on Monday , but he was cleared in time to keep alive his streak of consecutive starts since the 2006 opener. The veteran went 21 of 33 before Kellen Clemens played the fourth quarter.
Bills kicker Stephen Hauschka set an NFL record by making his 13th consecutive field goal of 50 yards or longer during the third quarter. He also tied the franchise record with his sixth 50-yard field goal of the season.
Bills: At Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday.
Chargers: At Dallas Cowboys on Thursday.
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