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Te'o makes debut

By Bernie Wilson

Associated Press

POSTED:
LAST UPDATED: 05:28 a.m. HST, Sep 30, 2013


SAN DIEGO » Philip Rivers, with a nice bit of defense thrown in, ensured the San Diego Chargers didn't blow another fourth-quarter lead.

Rivers threw for 401 yards and three touchdowns, including a 56-yarder to Antonio Gates that helped the Chargers beat the Dallas Cowboys 30-21.

The Chargers (2-2) blew late leads in their two losses. On Sunday, they scored the final 20 points to beat Dallas (2-2) in a game that marked the debut of Chargers linebacker Manti Te'o. The Laie product had been sidelined since Aug. 8 with a sprained foot. And while his first game wasn't as memoriable as Rivers' performance, he still managed three tackles and got into the flow of a game that Rivers made sure was the right tempo in the no-huddle, no-hurry offense under new coach Mike McCoy.

"I feel in sync. I have a rhythm and I'm comfortable in the pocket when we get that no-huddle going," Rivers said. "It's big being 2-2 instead of 1-3. I know we've been there before, but it's tough to dig yourself out of 1-3, especially when you're playing with young guys and guys you didn't expect to be in there. They can gain confidence off games like this."

Rivers completed 35 of 42 passes, his final TD pass, to Gates, being the 200th of his career. He threw two TD passes to running back Danny Woodhead.

After having three 400-yard games in his previous nine seasons, Rivers has two in this year's four games.

Rivers' 83.3 percent completion rate was the highest in NFL history for a 400-yard passing game. The previous mark was 81.8 percent (36-for-44) by San Francisco's Jeff Garcia against Chicago on Dec. 17, 2000.

After 35 interceptions the past two seasons, Rivers has been picked off only twice so far while throwing 11 touchdown passes.

"It was really what he did throughout the ballgame," Dallas coach Jason Garrett said. "He did a fantastic job. He really controlled the football and controlled the game. He did an outstanding job getting them into the right play over and over again.

"He threw the ball as well as he's thrown in a long, long time."

Rivers' biggest pass wasn't necessarily his prettiest. He short-armed one over the middle to Gates, who slid behind linebacker Sean Lee to haul it in and score with 6:54 to go.

Lee had intercepted Rivers on a deflected pass and returned it 52 yards for a 21-10 lead late in the second quarter. Dallas didn't score again.

"We were able to get some looks we thought we could take advantage of," said Gates, who had 10 catches for 136 yards. "The way he threw that ball, he put it in the right place and I was able to make the play."

San Diego's defense came up with a big stop in the final moments. Tony Romo moved the Cowboys to the San Diego 7, where he hit Terrance Williams at the 1. Williams was stretching for the end zone when he was hit by Crezdon Butler and fumbled. San Diego's Richard Marshall recovered for a touchback.

A week earlier, Butler was burned on a 34-yard touchdown pass from Jake Locker to Justin Hunter with 15 seconds to play to give Tennessee a 20-17 victory. Butler was in against the Cowboys because Derek Cox left with a knee injury.

"I saw that the ball was a little loose. We learn as a kid you can put a hit on the ball and it comes out," Butler said. "I had no idea he lost it. Then I rolled over and I saw Marshall had it.

"Last week was tough and I had to move on from that," Butler added. "Being a defensive back you have a short-term memory. I'm glad I made that play today."

It was only the second takeaway of the season for San Diego.

San Diego trailed 21-10 when Nick Novak started the comeback with a 42-yard field goal as the first-half clock expired.

The Chargers took the opening kickoff of the second half and Rivers moved them 80 yards, capping the drive with a 13-yard pass to Woodhead to pull to 21-20.

The way Rivers ran the offense, the Cowboys didn't have a chance to come back. They ran only seven offensive plays in the third quarter.

"That's what we see every day," Woodhead said of Rivers. "He was great, but he's always great."

After forcing Dallas to punt, San Diego took a 23-21 lead on Novak's 23-yard field goal that capped a drive starting from the Chargers 11.

Romo threw touchdown passes of 5 and 34 yards to Dez Bryant in the second quarter, when Dallas scored 21 points.

Lee got his interception return for a TD when Rivers was hit by tackle Jason Hatcher as he released the ball.






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allie wrote:
He did not embarrass us but nothing special either.
on September 30,2013 | 06:24AM
steelinhome wrote:
Defenders don't always have their names called by the play-by-play announcers. Defenders do their jobs by taking options away from the offense; those subtleties are impossible to see when viewing a game on tv. I like to think that Manti Te'o, playing a limited amount, was doing his job.
on September 30,2013 | 09:17AM
busterb wrote:
Not like guys who impersonate women.
on September 30,2013 | 01:06PM
krusha wrote:
Defense played a lot better for the Chargers in this game. Hope Teo stays healthy.
on September 30,2013 | 06:57AM
808cheesehead wrote:
Didn't see him after the second quarter. Did he get benched or hurt?
on September 30,2013 | 07:53AM
jussayin wrote:
I didn't see him when I was watching the last quarter. Did he play during the most important part of the game?
on September 30,2013 | 08:06AM
Descartes22 wrote:
This comment has been deleted.
on September 30,2013 | 08:11AM
allie wrote:
He won't make us forget Seau. I look for Teo to have an OK but short NFL career. He does not rate with Bowman or Willis of the Niners for example...lacks the toughness really.
on September 30,2013 | 12:56PM
RetiredWorking wrote:
IRT, how the F would you know anything about predicting Teo's future? You don't know squat.
on September 30,2013 | 05:51PM
Rok888 wrote:
You are comparing a rookie playing in his 1st game with the likes of Seau who was All Pro 9 years and saying he lacks toughness? You can tell what kind of toughness he has just from his 1st game of his career? Your comments are not justified...lets compare him to other players after a few years...
on September 30,2013 | 06:31PM
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