Chargers beat winless Jaguars 24-6
The San Diego Chargers showed no problems with a short week, a cross-country flight and an early start.
It surely helped that they were facing the winless Jacksonville Jaguars.
Philip Rivers threw for 285 yards and a touchdown, Ryan Mathews ran for 110 yards and a score, and the surging Chargers beat the Jaguars 24-6 Sunday.
The Chargers (4-3) played nothing like a tired team or one looking ahead to its bye week. Then again, the Jaguars have made everyone look good.
Jacksonville (0-7) has lost every game this season by double digits, becoming the first team since the 1984 Houston Oilers to garner that dubious distinction. The Oilers lost their first 10 games that season by at least 10 points.
Rivers completed his first 14 passes, picking apart Jacksonville's defense with short throws and clock-eating drives. He finished 22 of 26. Mathews topped the century mark for the second consecutive week.
The Chargers had a chance to make it 21-3 before halftime, but Rivers tried to run for a score with 7 seconds left on the clock. He was stopped short, giving the Jaguars some momentum and a sliver of hope heading into the locker room.
It was short-lived.
The Chargers scored on their first two drives of the second half, pushing the lead to 24-6. They pretty much ran out the clock from there. Mike Scifres punted for the first time with 10:47 remaining.
It was a solid performance considering some believed the Chargers would be primed for an upset. They were coming off a big win against Indianapolis on Monday night and had just a few days to prepare for Jacksonville before embarking on the long flight across three time zones.
Making the win even more impressive: San Diego overcame the loss of two offensive linemen. Left tackle King Dunlap left in the first quarter with a concussion. Mike Remmers replaced him, but went down four plays later with a right leg/ankle injury.
The Chargers flopped right tackle D.J. Fluker to the left side, moved right guard Jeromey Clary to right tackle and inserted Rich Ohrnberger in at right guard.
And they didn't miss a beat.
Mathews' 3-yard run with 14:08 remaining sent many Jaguars fans scrambling for the exits - again. The Jaguars have been outscored 89-11 in three home games.
The Chargers have won both games on the East Coast this season. They led 14-0 after two possessions Sunday. Danny Woodhead capped an 80-yard drive with a 2-yard plunge, then Rivers hooked up with Eddie Royal for a 27-yard score.
Jacksonville was its own worst enemy.
Sen'Derrick Marks was flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct following a 1-yard run on a second-and-34 play, giving San Diego an automatic first down. The Jaguars also self-destructed with several sacks in the red zone.
Possibly worse was coach Gus Bradley's inability to call timeout just before a long pass play from Rivers to Keenan Allen late in the first half. Allen looked like he may have been down by contact before getting up and running for a 36-yard gain.
The Chargers hurried to the line and snapped the ball before Bradley started screaming at officials for a timeout. Bradley spent several minutes arguing with officials as the teams headed to their locker rooms.
The Jaguars managed little offense until garbage time.
Chad Henne completed 23 of 36 passes for 318 yards, with an interception. He was sacked six times.
Maurice Jones-Drew ran nine times for 37 yards. Mike Brown caught five passes for 120 yards. Cecil Shorts III (8-80) and Justin Blackmon (6-58) were active and in the starting lineup. So was tight Marcedes Lewis, giving Jacksonville its entire receiving corps for the first time all season.
The end result was the same.
AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org