Rivers and Chargers go hot against Cardinals

CARSON, CA-Sunday was a good day for the Los Angeles Chargers. The stench left behind from the team’s disappointing defeat to the Denver Broncos just a week ago evaporated with the Chargers thumping the Arizona Cardinals at StubHub Center with a 45-10 win.

The Chargers looked like they were still feeling the effects of that Denver loss when Arizona came out and spanked them with a 10-0 first quarter lead. Well, that must have woke them up because the Chargers (8-3) ran roughshod over the Cardinals (2-9) in the second period, scoring 28 points in that quarter alone on their way to posting their eighth win of the season.

“They played a complete football game today,” Chargers coach Anthony Lynn said. “They signed up to play for four quarters, and that’s what they did. It wasn’t all pretty. They started out a little slow, but we made some adjustments, guys responded, they executed, and we came away with the win.”

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Los Angeles Chargers wide receiver Mike Williams (81) goes up to snag this touchdown pass thrown by Philip Rivers. Photo by Steven Baffo/News4usonline

If you’re looking for a dominant factor in the Chargers’ victory, there were none. This was truly a team win. The Chargers offense operated efficiently. The defensive unit squashed the Cardinals offense after that first quarter stumble, shutting Arizona out the rest of the game. Both the offensive and defensive units put on their hard hats and went to work against the Cardinals. There were plenty of standouts in this victory.

Wide receiver Mike Williams did his thing. Before he was taken out of the game with a knee injury late in the game, running back Melvin Gordon III was being his explosive self. Joey Bosa came alive with a couple of sacks. Then there was the presicion passing of quarterback Philip Rivers, who torched Arizona’s defense to the tune of establishing several NFL marks when he went 25-for-25 on his way to completing 28 of the 29 passes he threw for 259 yards.

“It was a fun day,” Rivers said. “It was efficient, to say the least. There were a lot of great catches. A lot of catches on the boundary. A lot of guys caught the ball, that what I was saying. I think we should acknowledge all of those guys. They were part of it, all 25 or 28 of them. The guys upfront protecting, because we ask a lot of those guys, the run-pass game. They never blink. Whenever a play is called, they go all out.”

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Running back Melvin Gordon III (28) grinds his way past the Arizona Cardinals defense. Gordon finished the game with 61 yards rushing and two touchdowns in the Chargers’ 45-10 win Sunday, Nov. 25, 2018. Photo by Steven Baffo/News4usonline

Arizona coach Steve Wilks, whose team felt the burn of Rivers’ hot hand, said the Chargers’ signal-caller was definitely a factor in the outcome, but his team could do a better job defensively to clean up some things.

“No. 1, Philip is a great quarterback,” said Wilks. “We’ve got to do a good job defensively of really hugging up to our coverage, being tighter, contesting throws, being in position to make plays on the ball.”

Williams continues his upward trajectory as a dominant force on the field. Williams climbed the ladder on two of Rivers’ three touchdown passes on the day to come down with a couple of acrobatic scores.

“The second one was just awesome,” Rivers said. “We tried to get the play out of bounds, obviously. It was third-and-two, but we wanted to get out of bounds, kind of stay aggressive. [WR] Keenan [Allen] did a great job keeping his feet in on that one, down in the 3-yard line. We said, ‘Shoot, let’s throw Mike a fade.’ He went up and got it. Great job keeping his feet in. A lot of guys made great catches today. [RB Austin] Ekeler had a few where they were not very accurate and he caught them. Keenan kept his feet in on that third down conversion for the half. Then the touchdown, Mike had two back in the end zone. Numerous guys did a heck of a job catching the football.”

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Los Angeles Chargers running back Austin Ekeler (30) going for the extra yard against the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday, Nov. 25, 2018. Photo by Steven Baffo/News4usonline

Williams, who caught just four passes for 25 yards, made the two touchdown passes he had noteworthy as he outjumped an Arizona defender on his nine-yard scoring reception in the second quarter and made an ordinary two-yard scoring toss look extraordinary with a ballet-type grace to come with his feet in bounds in the endzone to complete the Chargers’ scoring period.

“That’s what we expect from Mike,” Lynn said. “He’s a 50/50 guy. He can go up. He can jump out the gym. He can go out and get the ball, and that’s what he’s been doing all year. He’s been doing it in training camp. He’s been doing it in practice. It’s not a surprise for us to see him to do it in a game.”

It was a great afternoon for the Chargers offense. Besides Williams, Gordon also produced a multiple touchdown day, scoring on touchdown runs of 5 yards and 28 yards. Gordon finished the game with 61 yards on the ground to go with his two scores.

“He’s a beast,” said running back Austin Ekeler, who added a two-yard touchdown run in the third quarter. “He’s one of the best in the league. I wasn’t surprised at all. Two touchdowns, he was out there killing it.”

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