Philip Rivers throws four TD passes to help Chargers end six-game skid
All the San Diego Chargers needed to end a six-game losing streak was another cross-country trip to Jacksonville.
Philip Rivers threw four touchdown passes, two to Antonio Gates, and the Chargers beat the Jaguars, 31-25, on Sunday for their first victory in nearly two months.
Rivers passed Joe Montana (273) and tied Vinny Testaverde (275) for 11th on the NFL’s all-time list.
Rivers completed 29 of 43 passes for 300 yards. He was sacked twice and had his left ankle checked in the locker room at halftime. But his four TDs were enough against the Jaguars (4-7), who failed to recover an onside kick in the closing minutes.
The Chargers (3-8), meanwhile, found the end zone on all three red-zone possessions in the first half. Rivers hooked up with Dontrelle Inman from 2 yards out and then found Gates for a 9-yard score that put San Diego ahead 14-9.
Blake Bortles threw his 13th interception of the season on the ensuing possession, and Rivers and Gates connected for a 12-yard score and a double-digit lead three plays later.
The Chargers made it hold — barely.
Bortles found Julius Thomas for a 21-yard strike with about 11 minutes remaining, cutting the lead to 24-19. Thomas beat shut-down cornerback Jason Verrett for a first down earlier in the drive and got by safety Eric Weddle for his third touchdown of the season.
Rivers responded with another TD pass, this one a 5-yarder to Stevie Johnson with 4:45 remaining.
Johnson finished with seven receptions for 92 yards. Inman caught five passes for 65 yards. Gates hauled in four for 53 yards.
Bortles completed 30 of 49 passes for 329 yards, with two touchdowns and an interception.
Thomas caught nine passes for 116 yards. Allen Robinson finished with 56 yards receiving and a score.
Fellow Jaguars receiver Allen Hurns left the field on a stretcher with 3:44 remaining and was later ruled out with a concussion. Hurns’ helmet and neck seemed to land awkwardly on the turf as he tried to make a diving catch.
Both teams surrounded Hurns as he was strapped to a backboard and taken off the field. Hurns moved his arms and hands and flashed two thumbs-up as he left.
After the game, the Chargers had a subdued celebration, their first of any kind since beating Cleveland on Oct. 4.
Maybe not coincidentally, San Diego ended its last six-game losing streak in Jacksonville. The Chargers had lost six straight in 2011 before traveling cross country and beating Jacksonville 38-14.
The Chargers ended up winning four of their last five to finish .500 that season. They’re in a bigger hole this season and have a tough closing stretch that includes games against Denver, Kansas City and Oakland.
Jacksonville, meanwhile, lost ground in the muddled AFC South.
The Jaguars can blame their red-zone offense. They have scored just five touchdowns in their last 18 trips inside the 20-yard line.
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