What a difference a week can make.
Despite turning the ball over several times, the San Diego Chargers watched as Jacksonville tied a franchise record with six turnovers of its own, en route to a 38-13 victory over the Jaguars in front of some 62,000 fans Sunday afternoon in San Diego.
After a disappointing 21-14 loss to the AFC West rival Kansas City Chiefs last Monday evening on the road, the Chargers came back to the friendly confines of Qualcomm Stadium, albeit with a blackout enforced as the team failed to sell enough tickets 72 hours prior to game time.
Nonetheless, San Diego (1-1) rode the arm of QB Philip Rivers, who finished 22-of-29 passing for 334 yards and three touchdowns. The only down side on the day for the team’s field general was a pair of picks.
San Diego had to go to Rivers more than expected to deliver the win after rookie running back Ryan Mathews went down in the first half with an injured right ankle and had to be wheeled into the lockerroom.
With Mathews on the shelf, fullback Mike Tolbert (one receiving and one rushing TD) and tight end Antonio Gates, recorded a pair of touchdowns apiece, while San Diego’s ‘D’ held Jacksonville to a mere 71 yards rushing on the ground.
The day was especially rewarding for the All-Pro tight end Gates, who moved into 7th place all-time for catches by a tight end in the NFL, and moved into a second place tie (62) with Shannon Sharpe for most TD catches by a tight end in the league. Malcom Floyd added San Diego’s other score through the air on a 54-yard reception.
Meantime, Jacksonville QB David Garrard was picked off four times and sacked a pair of times. San Diego’s Antoine Cason recorded a pair of interceptions and started a fumble that led to another turnover.
“The things I wanted to see from our team were a physical presence and the ability to pressure contact the quarterback, and create turnovers,” San Diego Head Coach Norv Turner told the media afterwards. “If we can do those things, we can be the type of team I have been talking about.”
Jacksonville got its points off a pair of Josh Scobee field goals and a score in the final minute of play on a pass from Garrard to Mike Sims-Walker.
“I thought we traveled well, we prepared well. We just didn’t get it done,” Jacksonville Head Coach Jack Del Rio said in his opening remarks to the media afterwards, according to the Jags’ Web site. “I told our team I am as committed and energized as ever,” Del Rio added.
After this lopsided win for the Chargers, they appear to have their energy level back to where it needs to be to go after a fifth straight AFC West crown.
FIFTH QUARTER: The blackout was the first time since the 2004 season the Chargers had a regular season game not shown locally. San Diego hits the road next Sunday for a meeting with former AFC West rival Seattle, while Jacksonville plays host to Philadelphia. The Jags play all of the AFC West this season, having beaten Denver to open the season, Jacksonville still has a road date with Kansas City and a home contest with Oakland. San Diego’s next home game is Oct. 3 at 1:15 p.m. vs. Arizona.
11:42 San Diego Chargers SD TD Mike Tolbert rushed to the left for 2 yard gain (Nate Kaeding made PAT)
0 – 7
5:29 Jacksonville Jaguars JAC FG Josh Scobee kicked a 44-yard field goal
3 – 7
11:32 San Diego Chargers SD TD Philip Rivers passed to Antonio Gates down the middle for 9 yard gain (Nate Kaeding made PAT)
3 – 14
1:55 Jacksonville Jaguars JAC FG Josh Scobee kicked a 48-yard field goal
6 – 14
0:10 San Diego Chargers SD TD Philip Rivers passed to Antonio Gates to the right for 4 yard gain (Nate Kaeding made PAT)
6 – 21
4:55 San Diego Chargers SD FG Nate Kaeding kicked a 41-yard field goal
6 – 24
13:18 San Diego Chargers SD TD Mike Tolbert rushed to the left for 1 yard gain (Nate Kaeding made PAT)
6 – 31
8:06 San Diego Chargers SD TD Philip Rivers passed to Malcom Floyd to the right for 54 yard gain (Nate Kaeding made PAT)
6 – 38
0:41 Jacksonville Jaguars JAC TD David Garrard passed to Mike Sims-Walker to the left for 3 yard gain (Josh Scobee made PAT)
13 – 38