SAN DIEGO — Philip Rivers and the San Diego Chargers kept Andrew Luck on the sideline most of the night, giving the Indianapolis Colts quarterback no chance for another comeback.
Rivers threw a 22-yard touchdown pass to rookie Keenan Allen and Nick Novak kicked four field goals to give the Chargers a 19-9 victory against the Colts on Monday night.
Rivers methodically moved the Chargers (3-3) on three scoring drives of at least 74 yards as he rebounded from a three-interception performance in a dismal loss at Oakland.
That, and a lot of dropped passes by Colts receivers, kept Indianapolis (4-2) from taking a two-game lead over Tennessee in the AFC South.
A week earlier, Luck helped rally the Colts to a 34-28 victory against Seattle.
“We knew if we didn’t turn the ball over and we sustained drives, which we did — we had some 12, 14, 16-play drives — that we’d give ourselves a chance to win,” Rivers said.
“We didn’t go into the game saying `Let’s play ball control,’ Rivers added. “We wanted to score as many points as we could. We didn’t score that many, but we did sustain drives. I thought Keenan Allen stepped up big. They were doubling Gatesy (Antonio Gates) a lot, and Danny Woodhead stepped up big. The offensive line was great. That’s the way we need to be able to run the football. If we can mixed the run in, we got a chance.”
All the talk entering the game was about the Colts’ offense.
“I wasn’t sure who the Colts were playing this week all the ads I saw,” Rivers said.
Luck had no real chance against the Bolts because of two long drives in the second quarter that helped contribute to the Chargers dominating the time of possession 38 minutes, 31 seconds to 21:29.
Allen got behind safety Delano Howell and cornerback Vontae Davis on a post route for the TD, completing a 12-play, 74-yard march that took 6:14 and gave San Diego a 7-3 lead. It was Allen’s second TD catch of the season.
Novak’s first field goal capped a drive that went 79 yards in 17 plays in 7:58. The drive was kept alive when cornerback Greg Toler was whistled for illegal contact for pushing receiver Lavelle Hawkins out of bounds on third-and-6 from the Chargers 45.
Luck then completed four straight passes to move the Colts into Chargers territory before Coby Fleener dropped a pass at the 25. Luck scrambled for 6 yards and threw an incompletion before Adam Vinatieri kicked a 50-yard field goal as time expired.
On the Colts’ only other possession of the second quarter, Darrius Heyward-Bey dropped what likely would have been a long touchdown pass down the right sideline.
Novak also had field goals of 33, 34 and 50 yards, with the final one coming with 1:55 left. Vinatieri finished with three field goals.
Chargers cornerback Derek Cox snuffed out Indy’s final chance when he intercepted a pass that was tipped by receiver Reggie Wayne with 1:07 to play.
Rivers was 22 of 33 for 237 yards and no interceptions. Luck was 18 of 30 for 202 yards.
Wayne got his 1,000th career reception in the fourth quarter on a 21-yard pass from Luck. Wayne had 5 catches for 88 yards, giving him 1,001 for his career. He passed Hines Ward (1,000) for eighth place on the NFL list.
San Diego established its running game with 147 yards. Ryan Mathews ran for 102 yards on 22 carries for his first 100-yard game of the season.
There were family ties in this one: Chargers defensive coordinator John Pagano beat older brother Chuck, the Colts’ coach.
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