GREEN BAY, WIS. – The Green Bay Packers remain undefeated ousting the San Diego Chargers 27-20 Sunday afternoon despite Phillip Rivers throwing for 503 yards. Green Bay is one of six teams that are still undefeated in the NFL.
This game was billed as a matchup of two elite caliber quarterbacks in Aaron Rodgers and the Chargers’ Phillip Rivers. Rodgers did have an average game passing for 255 yards and two touchdowns, but it was Rivers who broke Chargers’ records with 43 completions on 65 attempts and, along with the yards, passed for two touchdowns. It was the Packers’ rushing attack behind James Starks who made the difference as he rushed for 112 yards and a touchdown, along with catching one of Rodgers’ passing touchdowns.
The Chargers began the game with the ball as Rivers completed three straight passes to receiver Keenan Allen to start the drive, but the Packers’ defense forced a punt. The Packers’ first play on offense saw Starks break a 25 yard run and Rodgers controlled the tempo with a 22 yard pass to receiver James Jones. Rodgers would march the offense down to the shadow of the Chargers’ end zone and Rodgers threw a 5 yard touchdown pass to Starks to get the first score of the game.
On the ensuing drive Rivers controlled San Diego’s west coast offense completing short passes to Allen and tight end Antonio Gates. Rookie running back and Wisconsin native Melvin Gordon also broke a 25 yard run to get the Chargers’ offense into field goal range. San Diego could not capitalize having to settle on a Josh Lambo 36 yard field goal. The next drive saw the longest run by a Packers running back in two years as Starks spun off a pile of linemen and turned on the jets to carry the ball 65 yards for his second touchdown of the game. The Packers ended the first with a 14-3 lead.
The Chargers next drive was much like their last as Rivers completed more short passes to Allen to get into the red zone. San Diego did not score as they elected to go for it on fourth down and did not avail as they turned the ball over on downs. Packers receiver Ty Montgomery got banged up on the next drive and would not return for the remainder of the game, but Green Bay still got into San Diego’s red zone after a 46 yard prayer to receiver Jeff Janis. The Chargers’ defense forced a fourth down and Green Bay had to settle on a 23 yard Mason Crosby field goal to take a 14 point lead.
On the ensuing drive, safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix forced Melvin Gordon to fumble the ball, and the Clay Matthews recovery gave the Packers excellent field position. The Packers could not capitalize after Rodgers was sacked by Chargers linebacker Jeremiah Attaochu which forced a Tim Masthay punt.
The following Chargers drive saw a giant swing in the game as Rivers continued to the use the short passing game to soften the Packers’ defense and that led to a 38 yard pass to Keenan Allen to get the Chargers into the red zone. As time ran out Rivers would complete a one yard touchdown pass to receiver Dontrelle Inman to cut their deficit to seven. The Packers went into the half with a 17-10 lead.
After Green Bay began the second half with a three and out, Rivers completed a deep 50 yard pass to receiver Malcolm Floyd and a 14 yard pass to Allen to get the Chargers to the Packers’ 20 yard line. Rivers would cap the drive off with a 19 yard touchdown to tight-end Ladarius Green to tie the game at 17.
After both teams punted in their next possessions, the Packers were able to get out of their slump as Rodgers was able to hit Randall Cobb for 26 yards and John Kuhn for 19 yards to get into the red zone. Green Bay was able to regain the lead after Rodgers hit James Jones for an eight yard touchdown. The Packers ended the third with a 24-17 lead.
Rivers and the Chargers would continue to put the Packers’ defense on skates with short passes to Inman, Floyd and running back Danny Woodhead to get into field goal range but the drive was stopped after Rivers was sacked by Mike Daniels and Mike Neal to force the Chargers to kick a 32 yard field goal to cut the deficit to four. The Packers would answer back after Rodgers connected to tight-end Richard Rodgers for 25 yards and Janis for 33 yards to get into the red zone.
The Chargers defense would hold down, forcing the Packers to kick a 28 yard field goal to retake a seven point lead.
The final drive for the Chargers would be the pivotal one as Rivers continued his record breaking day driving the offense to the Packers goal line with under two minutes left. After three missed attempts to score a touchdown, Rivers targeted Woodhead on fourth and goal but it was broken up by rookie corner Damarious Randall to end the game.
Next, the Packers have the week off. The Chargers head back to San Diego to face their AFC West nemesis Oakland Raiders.