Chargers lose a close one in Green Bay

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Take away the final score and the San Diego Chargers had a good, to great game against the Green Bay Packers. Quarterback Philip Rivers passed for 503 yards, only the 17th time a team passed for 500 or more yards. And he didn’t have any interceptions.

His primary target in Lambeau Field was Keenan Allen. He caught 14 of Rivers’ 43 passes, before being hurt and had to leave the game with a hip injury. Allen had 157 yards on the day.

Aaron Rodgers (Wikipedia)
Aaron Rodgers (Wikipedia)

Everyone agrees Aaron Rodgers and his Green Bay offense are the best in the NFL right now, but the Chargers defense kept Rodgers on his heels with almost constant pressure. They forced Green Bay to go three and out on three of four possessions in the second half. That’s great defense against a Rodgers-led offense.

Both quarterbacks were sacked three times, so the pass defense was excellent on both sides of the ball.

The Chargers kept it close the entire game and tied it up in the third quarter when Rivers connected with Ladarius Greene for a 19-yard touchdown pass.

As fast as the Packers started, they slowed down their production and San Diego was able to come back. But when the Chargers tied the game the Packers came back and scored. After that the Packers kept the lead.

Chargers rookie running back Melvin Gordon had a mixed day. He carried the ball seven times for 29 yards, 25 of those yards coming on one run. But he fumbled the ball twice, recovering the first one, but losing the second. Thanks to a stiff Charger defense, the Packers were unable to convert on the turnover.

Danny Woodhead had another good day — as a pass receiver.

But for all their successes on the field, it wasn’t enough to beat the Packers in their home, Lambeau Field. They haven’t lost at home since 2013.

The Chargers knew that had a steep climb to try and beat the Packers in Green Bay, earlier in the week Philip Rivers said it would take more than 17 points to beat the Packers. He and the Chargers scored 20, seven short of the Packers 27

In their final drive of the game the Chargers marched the ball from their own 20 to the Packers three-yard line. With 20 seconds left in the game Philip Rivers passed to Woodhead, but the ball was batted away by Packers cornerback Damarious Randall.

It was another tough loss for the Chargers. After the game Rivers was philosophical about the loss, saying that if they keep trying like they did Sunday and last week, it will click for the Chargers and they will start winning again.

Philip Rivers (Claudia Gestro)
Philip Rivers (Claudia Gestro)

With their banged up offensive line the Chargers chose to rely on the passing game and they had a lot of success with it. But the Packers had a more balanced offense, with running back James Starks gaining 112 yards on ten carries. His first run of the game was for 65 yards and a touchdown. He first went to his left, but was blocked, so he bounced to the right and went down the sideline to score.

The Packers, who wore their throwback uniforms (1937), remain unbeaten this season and next week they have a bye. The Chargers fall to 2-4. Their next game is at home in Qualcomm Stadium against their biggest rivals, the Oakland Raiders.

The Chargers were without wide receiver Stevie Johnson on the offensive side and on defense linebacker Manti Te’o and Craig Mager didn’t play.

Final score in Sunday’s game: 27-20, Green Bay.

(Top photo: The Chargers’ final play when the pass from Philip Rivers to Danny Woodhead was batted away by Damarious Randall of the Packers. From YouTube.)

(L.A. Post-Examiner Staff contributed to this article)