Patriots 10

(3-2, 2-1 away)

Chargers 30

(3-3, 2-1 home)

Coverage: NBC

8:15 PM ET, October 12, 2008

Qualcomm Stadium, San Diego, CA 

1 2 3 4 T
NE 0 3 0 710
SD 10 7 10 330

Top Performers

Passing: P. Rivers (SD) - 306 YDS, 3 TD

Rushing: L. Tomlinson (SD) - 20 CAR, 74 YDS

Receiving: V. Jackson (SD) - 5 REC, 134 YDS, 1 TD

Rivers, Chargers hit stride in defeat of Patriots

Associated Press

SAN DIEGO -- Finally solving their Patriots problem may very well have saved the season for Philip Rivers and the San Diego Chargers.

Rivers threw three touchdown passes and San Diego's defense stuffed quarterback Matt Cassel on fourth-and-goal from the 1-yard line to highlight a 30-10 win over New England on Sunday night.

Fast Facts

• The Chargers avenged last season's AFC Championship Game loss with a 30-10 thrashing of the Patriots. Philip Rivers threw for 306 yards, sealing his sixth career regular-season 300-yard passing game and second this season.

•  LaDainian Tomlinson rushed for just 74 yards on 20 carries, marking the fifth time in six games he's been held under 100 yards rushing this season.

• Sunday was the second loss by 20 or more points for the Patriots this season and the first time it's happened since Bill Belichick took the job in New England.

• The win snapped a three-game losing streak for San Diego against New England. The Chargers' win was just their third victory in the teams' last 16 meetings.

-- ESPN research

Rivers and the rest of the Chargers (3-3) know that beating the Patriots doesn't make up for the loss that kept them out of the Super Bowl or that mind-numbing home playoff defeat two seasons ago.

What it did, though, was put to rest the questions about the Chargers' maddening inconsistency, especially since they head out on a long and winding road trip that takes them to Buffalo and then London for a game against the New Orleans Saints.

"This was obviously a big game for us," Rivers said. "We didn't intentionally downplay it. It wasn't necessarily a payback game at all. But it was big because of the situation we are in, because it gets us back to .500 before we go on this world tour here the next couple of weeks."

Rivers drew raves for his toughness by playing the AFC Championship Game with a shredded ligament in his right knee, but he couldn't get the Chargers into the end zone that day and they lost 21-12 to the Patriots at Foxborough.

He had no trouble Sunday night, when he threw touchdown passes of 49 yards to Malcom Floyd, 4 yards to Vincent Jackson and 1 yard to Antonio Gates. It was the fourth time this season that Rivers threw three TD passes. Rivers completed 18 of 27 passes for 306 yards.

Of course, the Chargers didn't have to face Tom Brady, out for the season with a knee injury. Cassel, making his fifth career start, was sacked four times and intercepted once. He was 22-of-38 for 203 yards.

"We knew that there was going to be a lot of energy in the stadium tonight. We knew that they were gonna come out and try to shut us out early," Cassel said. "They did a good job. They got ahead, and we weren't able to really catch up and score points."

New England (3-2) had its regular-season road winning streak snapped at 12, which is the second-longest in NFL history. The Patriots scored their fewest points since their last road loss, 21-0 at Miami on Dec. 10, 2006.

New England's Sammy Morris scored on 1-yard run with 5:18 left and Stephen Gostkowski kicked a 47-yard field goal in the second quarter.

Trailing 17-3, the Patriots tried to make a game of it when Cassel led them to a first-and-goal at the 1 on the opening drive of the second half. After Cassel threw two incompletions and Morris was stuffed, Cassel dropped back on fourth down. With all his receivers covered, he attempted to run up the middle but was buried at the 2.

"When you can go out there and have that type of a stand at that crucial point in a game, it brings an attitude, it brings a feeling and an energy that stays with you for the rest of the time," defensive end Luis Castillo said. "We hope it starts the season for us."

Cassel said the last play was a progression read. "We went through it, and I didn't see anybody open. I was hoping to maybe make a play with my legs, and it just didn't happen. Goal line is goal line. You go down there, and it's the grit and the grind of the game. They did a good job. They have good guys up front."

Rivers then led the Chargers 98 yards on four plays, with Gates slipping into the end zone to catch a 1-yard pass for a 24-3 lead.

Rivers had a 59-yard completion to Jackson on the second play of the drive, and the Chargers got the ball at the 1 after Jackson was dragged down by Ellis Hobbs, who was flagged for pass interference.

Rivers threw a touchdown pass of 49 yards to Floyd and another of 4 yards to Jackson in the first half.

Floyd's first catch in almost a year was a big one. With wide receiver Chris Chambers inactive due to a sprained ankle, Floyd benefited from extra playing time. He ran a post pattern and outjumped cornerback Deltha O'Neal for the ball before tumbling into the end zone with 3:58 to go in the first quarter.

It was Floyd's first catch since Oct. 14, 2007, and his first touchdown since the 2006 season. He was inactive the final 10 regular-season games and all three playoff games.

Rivers threw a 4-yard scoring pass to Jackson just before halftime. Jackson was wide open after Hobbs ran into safety James Sanders.

LaDainian Tomlinson became the 17th player to rush for more than 11,000 career yards.

San Diego's Nate Kaeding kicked field goals of 25, 35 and 23 yards.

Game notes

New England's 299 yards were the fewest the Chargers have allowed this season. ... Tomlinson gained 74 yards on 20 carries. His 405 yards (3.7 average) are his lowest total through six games in his eight-season career. ... Chargers RB/PR Darren Sproles left with an ankle injury in the fourth quarter. ... Jackson caught five passes for 134 yards.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


Team Stat Comparison

1st Downs1819
Passing 1st downs
Rushing 1st downs
1st downs from penalties
3rd down efficiency
4th down efficiency
Total Plays6855
Total Yards299404
Yards per play4.47.3
Total Drives1211
Yards per pass
Interceptions thrown
Sacks-Yards Lost
Rushing Attempts
Yards per rush
Red Zone (Made-Att)1-32-5
Fumbles lost
Interceptions thrown
Defensive / Special Teams TDs00

Passing Leaders


Rushing Leaders


Receiving Leaders


Scoring Summary

sdFG10:44Nate Kaeding 25 yd Field Goal
Drive info: 10 plays, 73 yds, 4:19
sdTD4:06Malcom Floyd, 49 yd pass from Philip Rivers (Nate Kaeding kick is good)
Drive info: 4 plays, 62 yds, 1:55
neFG7:18Stephen Gostkowski 47 yd Field Goal
Drive info: 7 plays, 14 yds, 3:30
sdTD1:10Vincent Jackson, 4 yd pass from Philip Rivers (Nate Kaeding kick is good)
Drive info: 4 plays, 31 yds, 1:15
sdTD7:11Antonio Gates, 1 yd pass from Philip Rivers (Nate Kaeding kick is good)
Drive info: 4 plays, 98 yds, 2:05
sdFG4:22Nate Kaeding 35 yd Field Goal
Drive info: 4 plays, 9 yds, 2:35
sdFG10:52Nate Kaeding 23 yd Field Goal
Drive info: 13 plays, 77 yds, 6:50
neTD5:20Sammy Morris, 1 yd run (Stephen Gostkowski kick is good)
Drive info: 8 plays, 46 yds, 3:41