In the end, a rookie stood up to Philip Rivers and kept the Green Bay Packers unbeaten.
Green Bay stopped San Diego on fourth-and-goal from the 3 with 15 seconds left thanks to first-round pick Damarious Randall, and overcame a career day by Rivers to hold off the Chargers 27-20 on Sunday.
Rivers set franchise marks with career highs of 43 completions, 65 attempts and 503 yards passing. He threw for two touchdowns for the Chargers (2-4). His 43 completions were the most in NFL history in a loss; he needed one more, at least.
Randall denied that as he lunged to poke away Rivers’ short pass to Danny Woodhead near the front right pylon in the final seconds. Rivers was on his back after being knocked down, arched his neck up, then laid back down in frustration and flailed his arms.
San Diego lost to Pittsburgh on the last play on Monday night.
The fans inside Lambeau Field erupted with a collective sigh of relief. Green Bay (6-0) survived its biggest scare of the year to stay unbeaten.
The Packers started strong and finished barely in front. Running back James Starks had touchdowns on a 65-yard run and a 5-yard pass in the first quarter.
The Packers went up for good after Aaron Rodgers found James Jones for an 8-yard pass in the corner of the end zone for a 24-17 lead with 40 seconds left in the third quarter. The defense bent and allowed Josh Lambo’s 32-yard field goal with 11:14 left.
Green Bay’s stout pass rush finally caught up to Rivers in the second half. Datone Jones sacked Rivers on third-and-7 from the Packers 40 to end one drive. Until then, a Chargers line missing three starters held up well, with Rivers orchestrating a quick-strike offense and finding all the holes in the secondary.
It was the most porous outing of the year for the Packers’ defense.
But the Packers came up with their most important stop at the end. Rivers was under pressure from linebacker Julius Peppers when he threw his final incompletion.
For the Packers, it was another relatively choppy outing for the offense.
Rodgers was 16 of 29 for 255 yards. At one point, Rodgers had as many completions as Keenan Allen had receptions midway through the fourth quarter.
But a hip injury kept Allen sidelined for much of the second half. He wound up with 14 receptions for 157 yards.
Starks finished with 112 yards rushing on 10 carries. He started for Eddie Lacy, who had 3 yards on four attempts. Lacy, who sprained his right ankle earlier this season, played with his right foot heavily taped.
Source: The AP