Chargers vs. Bucs: Quarter by quarter

First quarter

Chargers 14, Bucs 7


Key play : Chargers wide receiver Danario Alexander, starting for the ineffective Robert Meachem, caught a 3rd-and-10 pass near the first-down mark, broke a cornerback's tackle, angled away from a safety and went 80 yards for a 7-0 lead on the game's third snap.

Key stat : Philip Rivers was 5-for-6 for 148 yards and two touchdowns, good for a 158.3 rating.


Not in the boxscore : Antonio Gates gained good position against Bucs safety Ronde Barber, causing a third-down holding penalty that prolonged the Chargers' second scoring drive. Malcom Floyd was knocked from the game by a high hit from rookie safety Mark Barron.

Second quarter

Bucs win the quarter 10-7

Chargers take 21-17 lead into halftime


Key play : The Bucs blocked a Mike Scifres punt and ran it 29 yards for a go-ahead touchdown. Rushing from Tampa Bay's left end, Dekoda Watson got past blocker Corey Lynch, who was a Buc from 2009-11, and Adam Hayward ran it in for a 17-14 lead. Scifres was shaken up on the play.

Key stat : Rivers was in control, making him 34-of-38 over the last six quarters.

Not in the box score : Rivers made good lateral moves to create extra time and complete passes, prolonging the 14-play, 80-yard drive at the end of the first half. Ryan Mathews ran hard between the tackles, and Corey Liuget and Donald Butler were stout in run defense.

Third quarter

Bucs win the quarter 7-0

Key play : After a failed spot challenge by his coach, Greg Schiano, Bucs quarterback Josh Freeman (6-foot-5, 240) took a 4th-and-1 snap, angled left and straight-lined four yards for the first down, leading to a go-ahead touchdown.

Key stat : Rivers sustained his third-down mastery, improving to 8-for-9 for 135 yards. On a late-quarter drive, he hit Alexander for 19 and six yards to convert on third downs.

Not in the box score : On receiver Diquan Underwood's touchdown catch, Chargers linebacker Demorrio Williams didn't get help from strong safety Atari Bigby, who was in the vicinity but didn't see the ball. Bucs linebacker Quincy Black shot into the backfield and slammed helmet-to-helmet with Ryan Mathews, who did well not to fumble. Black, able to move his hands and feet, was fastened to a board and carted off the field.


Fourth quarter

Bucs 10, Chargers 3

Key play : Rolling right without much pressure, Rivers neared the sideline and inexplicably threw a short pass to Bucs cornerback Leonard Johnson, who ran it 83 yards for a touchdown. It was one of Rivers' worst career passes. The Chargers were at Tampa Bay's 23 on 3rd-and-4, trailing 24-21 with 13-plus minutes left. The pass rush wasn't strong. The target, Eddie Royal, wasn't open.

Key stat : The interception return was Tampa Bay's second TD off a return in the game.

Not in the box score : A fortunate bounce allowed the Chargers to continue a drive that led to three points. Bucs cornerback E.J. Biggers appeared to break up a third-down pass meant for Royal, but the ball popped in the air and into Royal's lap for a 20-yard gain.