AFC West: San Diego Chargers

Rapid Reaction: San Diego Chargers

September, 21, 2014
Sep 21
4:06
PM ET
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BUFFALO -- A few thoughts on the San Diego Chargers' 22-10 victory over the Buffalo Bills in Week 3 at Ralph Wilson Stadium.

What it means: With the win, San Diego moves to 2-1 on the season. Since 2013, the Chargers are now 5-2 in East Coast games that begin at 10 a.m. PT.

Bolts create explosive plays: The Chargers had six passing plays of 20-plus yards and no passing plays of 40-plus yards heading into the Buffalo game. But that changed on Sunday. Malcom Floyd finished with two 49-yard catches. Eddie Royal had a catch for 23 yards and tight end Ladarius Green finished with catches for 26 and 20 yards.

Stock watch: With Ryan Mathews out due to a knee injury and Danny Woodhead suffering an ankle injury on the first drive, Donald Brown shouldered the running back workload for the Chargers. Brown finished with 62 yards on 31 carries and also had five catches for 27 yards. It’s the most carries Brown has had in a single game in his NFL career.

Energized Chargers: Playing the Seattle Seahawks usually leaves the opposing team bruised and battered afterward. Entering Sunday's game, teams that played the Seahawks went 6-9-1 the following week, dating back to the start of the 2013 season, according to ESPN Stats & Information. (Note: That doesn't count Week 17 of 2013, when the Seahawks played the Rams, who did not make the playoffs.) While the Chargers dealt with their fair share of injuries this week, they traveled across the country and managed to earn a hard-fought road victory after defeating Seattle at home in Week 2.

Game ball: Royal scored both touchdowns for the Chargers in the red zone on 3- and 5-yard receptions. San Diego has struggled in the red zone offensively this year. Royal’s polished route running and toughness proved the difference on both plays. He finished with four receptions for 42 yards.

What’s next: The Chargers head back home to Qualcomm Stadium, where they will host the Jacksonville Jaguars in a Week 4 matchup at 4:05 p.m. ET.

W2W4: San Diego Chargers

September, 21, 2014
Sep 21
8:15
AM ET
The San Diego Chargers (1-1) travel to the East Coast to take on the Buffalo Bills (2-0) at 1 p.m. ET at Ralph Wilson Stadium. Here are three things we’ll be watching for on Sunday.

1. Dial up some explosive plays: The Chargers have done a nice job controlling time of possession offensively. San Diego is No. 2 in the NFL in time of possession on offense (35:13). However, the Chargers could do a better job creating explosive plays, which makes it easier to get into scoring position. With penalties, turnovers and just poor execution, it’s hard to expect San Diego’s offense to grind out long, sustained drives every week. The Chargers have six passing plays of 20-plus yards (tied for 13th in the NFL) and no passing plays of 40-plus yards. On the ground, the Chargers have just one run of 20-plus yards (T-14th in the NFL). Offensive coordinator Frank Reich would like to dial up some explosive plays. “Each week, we as a coaching staff we look for a couple of what they would call layups -- a big gainer,” Reich said. “But they’re hard to come by in this league. A lot of those explosive plays are just made by great players doing amazing things, like what Antonio (Gates) did last week.”

2. Toughen up in the red zone: The Chargers are doing a decent job defensively, giving up 19.5 points per game (No. 12 in the NFL). However, defensive coordinator John Pagano would like to do a better job in the red zone. The Chargers have given up touchdowns four out of five times inside the 20-yard line (80 percent), which is second last in the NFL. The Bills are No. 29 in red-zone offense with a 30 percent conversion rate. “We have to do better in the red zone,” Pagano said. “We can’t do the things that we’ve been doing down there. And it starts with me. We made an emphasis on it again this week. We’ve got to make sure that they kick field goals and not score touchdowns. And we can’t have the mental lapses that we’ve had.”

3. Make EJ Manuel beat you: Offensively, the Buffalo Bills have done a nice job leaning on the run game and limiting what Manuel has to do offensively. In his second season, Manuel has been efficient, completing 67 percent of his passes for 375 yards, with two touchdowns and just one interception through two games. However, Manuel has a career 78.5 fourth-quarter passer rating. Pagano has to figure out how to contain Buffalo’s potent run game and make Manuel complete stick throws in tight windows in order for his team to win late in the game.
SAN DIEGO -- With Ryan Mathews out for an extended period with an MCL knee strain, the San Diego Chargers will have to figure out how to replace the production from a player who rushed for 1,255 yards and six touchdowns last season.

"We're definitely a better team with Ryan," Chargers tight end Antonio Gates said. "But we're also a darn good team without him, too. We've just got to find a way to get him healthy. To me, he's still one of the premier backs in this league."

Mathews
While Mathews works diligently to get back on the field, the arduous task of replacing his production will be a group effort by a cadre of running backs that are considered one of the strengths of the offense.

And that effort starts with Donald Brown. The top free agent signing by Chargers general manager Tom Telesco during the offseason, Brown inked a three-year, $10.4 million deal to serve as the complementary back for Mathews.

Brown rushed just nine times for 19 yards in two games. But now the University of Connecticut product will be pressed into the every-down back role for San Diego with Mathews out.

"It will be nice to get more opportunities," Brown said. "The way I look at it, whether it's one carry or all the carries, you just have to make the most of each and every one of them."

Brown
Brown, who grew up in New Jersey, said his parents and sister will drive to Buffalo for the game. Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers likes the cerebral approach Brown takes to his preparation for game day.

"Donald's a super, super pro," Rivers said. "He often finds little intricacies in the plan, and asks me questions about them that I may not even have thought of, and that just tells you how hard he studies it."

While Brown handles the workload in the middle of the field, Woodhead maintains his role as San Diego's third-down and red-zone back.

Woodhead finished with 37 touches and seven touchdowns in the red zone last season -- San Diego's most productive running back inside the 20. Woodhead also leads the running back group with 67 snaps through two games.

Rivers trusts Woodhead will be in the right spot on the field, so expect his snap count and touches to increase with Mathews out.

Woodhead
"I'm approaching this week like any other week, and that's just preparing for whenever I may get an opportunity as far as plays or whatever it may be," Woodhead said, when asked about the possibility of an expanded role in the offense. "Whenever I'm supposed to be in, the coaches will tell me I'm in. And that's really what I'm focusing on."

Finally, with Mathews out undrafted rookie free agent Branden Oliver could see his first action during the regular season. Oliver finished with 35 rushes for 161 yards and a touchdown during exhibition play, averaging 4.6 yards per carry.

The road trip is a homecoming of sorts for the cat-quick Oliver, who played at University at Buffalo. Also, if active, expect Oliver to contribute on special teams.

"It means a lot, man," Oliver said, when asked about the chance at playing time. "God is good just for allowing me to have the opportunity to go back there and possibly play for the first time in my career, in the city where I spent five years playing college football. So it's great.

"Buffalo is like my second home, so it's going to be a great feeling."
Good morning.

Robert Mays of Grantland examines the San Diego Chargers’ ball control offense, and how Philip Rivers moved the ball so effectively against one of the best defenses in the NFL.

Mays: “San Diego built the second-best offense in football last year by staying on schedule. Only five teams ran the ball on a higher percentage of first-down plays than the Chargers, who did it 54.2 percent of the time. Ryan Mathews led the league in first-down rushes with 175, averaging 4.15 yards in the start of a process that helped build the offense into a study of efficiency.”

ESPN Buffalo Bills reporter Mike Rodak says safety Da'Norris Searcy could be the key to containing Antonio Gates in this video.

According to Nate Silver of Fivethrirtyeight.com the Chargers have a 59 percent chance of making the playoffs.

In this ESPN Insider piece, ESPN NFL handicapper Dave Tuley ranks the Chargers No. 8 in his Vegas NFL power rankings.

Will Brinson of CBS Sports writes that the Chargers’ Super Bowl odds have moved from 40-1 to 20-1.

Ricky Henne of Chargers.com says that rookie running back Branden Oliver is ready if needed.

Jordan Beane of Chargers.com talks with Danny Woodhead about his expanded role in this video.

Michael Gehlken of U-T San Diego writes the Chargers’ improved depth has shown up early this season.

Tom Krasovic of U-T San Diego says the Chargers have improved their speed on defense through two games.

Michael Burland of Pro Football Focus reviews San Diego’s options at running back with Ryan Mathews out.
SAN DIEGO -- Exposed?

San Diego Chargers players I spoke with appeared unfamiliar with the term in reference to the team's performance against Seattle Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman.

According to a report from U-T San Diego, multiple Chargers used that word to describe the vociferous cornerback's play over the weekend.

Sherman
Chargers second-year receiver Keenan Allen publicly expressed the strongest sentiment on Sherman.

"He's just a normal guy," Allen said. "We can go at him. We are not going to shy away from him. He's not really a shutdown corner."

The Chargers completed five passes for 60 yards against Sherman a week after Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers failed to throw a pass to his side in the opener for both teams.

Sherman left the locker room after the game without talking to reporters, but responded in a conversation with reporters in Seattle on Wednesday.

"I played pretty well," Sherman said. "But it's really funny that two little Chargers say I was exposed. One had 50 yards [Allen had five receptions for 55 yards], and one had 60 [Eddie Royal had seven receptions for 69 yards]. It makes you laugh."

Before Sherman's comments were known on Wednesday, receivers in San Diego's locker room spoke glowingly about the most vocal member of the Legion of Boom.

"Richard's a great player," Royal said. "I don't think the game changed my opinion about him. It made me have that much more respect for him, and the way he competes. He's a physical player. He's a smart player, and I think he's as good as advertised.

"He's one of the best in the game, and there's no question about that in anybody's mind."

Added receiver Malcom Floyd: "I wouldn't say he was exposed. I don't know if that's the correct word to use. I just think we did better than the few teams that have played him, and made some plays on him. I think he's one of the best corners in the league. So I wouldn't say he's been exposed."

Safety Eric Weddle echoed similar comments about Sherman on the Jim Rome Show.

"He's going to be targeted every time you go out there -- we all know that," Weddle said. "He knows that. We got a couple catches on him, but like he said, he didn't give up any touchdowns or big plays -- maybe a couple of third downs. But you're going to have to do a lot more than that to be exposed."

Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers said heading into the contest that he wouldn't shy away from Sherman, and that was the case over the weekend. However, San Diego's veteran quarterback said he's ready to focus on his team's next opponent, the Buffalo Bills.

"We've moved on from that," Rivers said. "Keenan was great. And like I told y'all going in, I thought No. 41 (Byron Maxwell) on the other side was a heck of a corner also."
SAN DIEGO – Coach Mike McCoy said his team has moved on from basking in the afterglow of a big victory over the Seattle Seahawks.

According to McCoy, the San Diego Chargers are focused on the team’s next opponent, the Buffalo Bills.

“We played our style of football,” McCoy said about his team’s win over Seattle. “We won the time of possession, did a nice job and won the plays when we had to. It doesn’t matter when you play it; you have to go out there and play your best game. The big test now is to improve from last week.”

As they began preparation for the Bills, six San Diego players did not practice Wednesday: cornerback Brandon Flowers (groin), tight end Antonio Gates (hamstring), running back Ryan Mathews (knee) and outside linebackers Dwight Freeney (not injury related), Jeremiah Attaochu (hamstring) and Melvin Ingram (hamstring).

Out since the second preseason game at Seattle on Aug. 15, safety Jahleel Addae (hamstring) returned to practice on a limited basis. Offensive linemen Johnnie Troutman (back) and Rich Ohnrberger (back) also were limited participants.

Cornerback Chris Davis (ankle) and defensive lineman Corey Liuget (ankle) were full participants.

Mathews is out for an extended period of time with an MCL strain in his right knee. Flowers also could miss a second straight game with a lingering groin injury. If Flowers can’t play, rookie Jason Verrett would make his second career start. Freeney took a veteran rest day.

Gates named AFC Player of the Week

September, 17, 2014
Sep 17
10:45
AM ET
Gates
SAN DIEGO – For the first time in his 12-year NFL career, San Diego Chargers tight end Antonio Gates was honored as the AFC Player of the Week.

Gates, 34, earned the award for his impressive performance in his team’s 30-21 victory over the Seattle Seahawks. Gates finished with seven receptions for 96 yards, tying a career-high for touchdowns with three.

Gates now has 90 career touchdown catches, passing Don Maynard (88), Larry Fitzgerald (87), Andre Reed (87) to move up to No. 11 on the all-time list. Gates is second among all tight ends behind Tony Gonzalez (111).

Ingram, Freeney bring the heat

September, 16, 2014
Sep 16
6:15
PM ET
SAN DIEGO -- They swung and missed against the Arizona Cardinals in the season opener, letting quarterback Carson Palmer elude potential sacks on at least three occasions.

However, the San Diego Chargers’ dynamic duo of Melvin Ingram and Dwight Freeney finally connected on a sack each against one of the more elusive signal-callers in the NFL in Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson.

Ingram
“Me and him, we just kind of talked to each other about finishing,” Ingram said when asked about the missed sacks against Arizona. “Just let’s got out and finish, finish, finish.”

San Diego’s game plan defensively against Wilson was to bring pressure, but also force Seattle’s running quarterback to make plays within the pocket. The Chargers held Wilson to just 18 rushing yards, with 13 of those coming on a scramble in the fourth quarter.

Mission accomplished.

“You’ve got a guy in Russell Wilson who likes to scramble, move around in the pocket,” Freeney said. “You don’t know where he’s going to end up, which means for us that you have to be somewhat disciplined in your lanes, but know that he can pop up anywhere. So don’t be surprised when you see him.”

Ingram said San Diego’s defense gained a stronger belief in their abilities by containing an explosive Seattle offense that boasts playmakers such as Percy Harvin, Marshawn Lynch and Wilson. Now, the Chargers hope to build on that performance by playing well on the road against the 2-0 Buffalo Bills.

“We got a big confidence boost from that, but we can’t let it make us too big-headed,” Ingram said. “We’ve got to still stay level-headed, and go out there and work on the Bills this weekend and try to get another victory.”

Like Seattle, the Bills have a quarterback who can run in E.J. Manuel, and an offense focused on running the football.

“They have a great offense,” Ingram said. “They’re 2-0. It’s the same thing -- they have a quarterback that can get outside the pocket, so we’ve just got to go out and play assignment football.”

WR Vincent Brown headed to Oakland

September, 15, 2014
Sep 15
6:00
PM ET
According to ESPN NFL Insider Adam Caplan, former San Diego Chargers receiver Vincent Brown will sign with AFC West division rival Oakland Raiders on Monday.

According to Caplan, Brown signed a one-year deal.

ESPN NFL Nation beat writer Bill Williamson reports that Brown already has a locker in the team’s practice facility.

Brown was surprisingly waived/injured by the Chargers' during final roster cut downs. Brown suffered a calf strain on the second day of training camp, but was expected to return to the field early in the regular season.

However, general manager Tom Telesco said the organization liked the depth they had at receiver, and decided to go in a different direction.

Brown, 25, played all 16 games for the first time in his NFL career in 2013, finishing with 41 receptions for 472 yards and a touchdown. Brown had only one drop on the year.

The Chargers play the Raiders for the first time this season on Oct. 12 in Oakland.
SAN DIEGO -- Chargers coach Mike McCoy confirmed running back Ryan Mathews suffered an MCL sprain in his right knee against the Seattle Seahawks and will be out for "a little bit of time."

Brown
Mathews is expected to be out four-to-five weeks with a Grade 2 MCL sprain (partial tear).

“He’ll be back out there as soon as he can,” McCoy said. “So, it’s unfortunate, but it’s part of the game. Knowing the way he works, and the way he’ll rehab, he’ll be back out there as soon as he’s ready.”

McCoy said running back Donald Brown will take on an expanded role in the offense with Mathews out. The Chargers signed Brown to a three-year, $10.4 million contract during the offseason as insurance in case Mathews was out for an extended period of time.

Brown finished with 537 yards and six touchdowns for the Indianapolis Colts in 2013, averaging 5.3 yards a carry. Offensive coordinator Frank Reich is confident in Brown’s ability to make plays, and he knows Brown understands the offense. But in two games with the Chargers, Brown has 19 yards on nine carries, averaging 2.1 yards per rush.

“Donald’s played a ton of football,” McCoy said. “The number of snaps he got in Indy, in a very similar system when he was with Peyton [Manning], so coming here we knew exactly what he could do. So he played a lot of football, and we’ve got a lot of confidence in him.”

McCoy also said that rookie Branden Oliver also will take on a larger role in the offense with Mathews out.

The Film Don't Lie: Chargers

September, 15, 2014
Sep 15
4:00
PM ET
A weekly look at what the Chargers must fix.

The San Diego Chargers travel to Buffalo on Sunday for a Week 3 contest against the 2-0 Buffalo Bills. San Diego offensive coordinator Frank Reich will have to devise some plays to create space for his running backs. And he’ll have to manufacture those runs against a pretty good Buffalo defensive front that’s holding teams to an average of 83 rushing yards per contest, No. 6 in the NFL.

The Chargers ran the ball 37 times for 101 yards. Last season, the Chargers finished 10-1 when they ran the ball at least 27 times. Throughout his career as a coach and offensive coordinator, teams led by Chargers coach Mike McCoy have finished 36-14 in games they have run the ball at least 27 times.

Still, through two games the Chargers are averaging just 2.5 yards per carry, which is tied with Jacksonville for the worst in the NFL. And bringing that number up will be made harder by the fact that every-down running back Ryan Mathews will be out four to five weeks with an MCL sprain in his right knee injury. At 3.1 yards per carry, Mathews leads San Diego’s stable of running backs.

 
videoSAN DIEGO -- He’s not exactly a speed demon, but San Diego Chargers' quarterback Philip Rivers was not shy about pulling the ball down and getting a few yards with his feet in his team’s 30-21 victory against the Seattle Seahawks.

Rivers said he worked on improving his conditioning during the summer with interval running. That offseason conditioning regiment certainly helped the 32-year-old make it through the 118 degree field temperatures on Sunday without any issues.

And when Rivers couldn't find a open receiver, he made plays with his feet.

Rivers almost finished with more rushing yards than another quarterback known for running the football, Seattle Seahawks signal caller Russell Wilson. Rivers ran the ball 11 times for 17 yards, while Wilson finished with 18 yards on two rushing attempts.

“A lot of those scrambles were hitch, hitch, hitch then leave,” Rivers said. “It wasn’t like there was pressure, and that was the reason I had to get out of there. I thought our offensive line did a heck of a job protecting.”

Rivers’ ability to improvise and move the chains helped San Diego dominate time of possession. The Chargers finished with a 42:15-17:45 edge in time of possession. San Diego also finished an impressive 10 of 17 (59 percent) on third down, essentially playing keep away from Seattle’s offense.

One thing San Diego did effectively was get positive yardage in early downs so that they had a lot of third and short situations against a tough Seattle defense.

“It’s just a matter of doing what’s best,” San Diego head coach Mike McCoy. “We’re going to play some teams that are going to cover things. And if it’s not there, and he can take advantage of it by getting four or five yards on first or second down, take advantage of it instead of trying to throw something away and be second and long.”

SAN DIEGO -- Don't print those retirement party invitations for Antonio Gates just yet.

Contrary to popular opinion, Gates isn't ready to be put out to pasture. Just ask young linebackers on the Seattle Seahawks' defense such as K.J. Wright, Malcolm Smith and Bobby Wagner.

Matched up in single coverage against Gates most of the day, the 34-year-old tight end constantly shook loose from defenders a decade younger than him, tying a career-high for touchdowns in a game with three.

“I'm 24,” joked Gates, when asked about his age. “One thing that I have learned from being around is outsiders tend to have their own perspective about players, but it never bothered me one time. If I could make this team, which is a very good football team, I feel like I have something left in the gas tank.

“The coaches always believed in me, and I never really once thought about what others had to say, because I'm really not sure what critics or the professional experts are going off of, because last year I was No. 3 in the NFL at the tight end position. My main focus is to just try to help us win football games every single Sunday.”

The Seahawks finished with the No. 1 pass defense in the NFL last season. Three of the four members of the team's Legion of Boom -- cornerback Richard Sherman and safeties Kam Chancellor and Earl Thomas -- went to the Pro Bowl. Yet Gates appeared to get open whenever he wanted, exposing what could be the Achilles' heel of the best defense in the NFL: Seattle's inability to blanket tight ends.

“Those two guys were just phenomenal today when they needed it,” Seattle coach Pete Carroll said about Gates and San Diego quarterback Philip Rivers. “That was really a big, big element in this game, just the chemistry between those two guys. We couldn't figure out how to stop it.”

Added Chancellor: “They have that bond -- that quarterback-tight end bond. And he is very crafty. He is a crafty tight end.”

Gates was targeted seven times by Rivers. He finished with seven catches for 96 yards and three TDs. Rivers and Gates have now combined for 65 touchdowns, the most by a quarterback-tight end combo in NFL.

Gates now has 90 career touchdown catches, passing Don Maynard (88), Larry Fitzgerald (87), Andre Reed (87) to move up to No. 11 on the all-time list. Gates is second among all tight ends behind Tony Gonzalez (111).

Gates now has 13 catches for 177 yards and three touchdowns in two games this season. But he was no slouch in 2013, leading San Diego with 77 catches for 872 yards and four touchdowns.

Gates' most important catch was perhaps his most spectacular in San Diego's win over the Super Bowl champs. Singled-covered on the left side of the field by Wright, Gates managed to shake loose again in the second half.

Rivers moved inside the pocket to buy some time, lofting a perfect strike to Gates that he reeled in with one hand with Chancellor closing in. Gates raised his arms in celebration while still on his back in the end zone. The catch gave San Diego a commanding 27-14 lead with a little over three minutes left in the third quarter.

“I knew it was man coverage,” Gates said. “I wanted to sell something else, and I was able to get on his up-field shoulder and the rest was history. I stuck my hand out, and I was able to make the one-hand grab.

“That just shows tremendous confidence in what the call was, from the offensive coordinator on down to the quarterback, because it's a progression. And he stayed with the progression, and it was up to me to make the play.”

Rivers said Gates' one-handed catch was just another example of the chemistry developed between the two during their decade of playing together.

“It's just two guys who have been together a long time,” Rivers said. “I read him. He felt probably what I was seeing and thinking. Those ones are really gratifying, when you make plays together like that.”

Added Gates: “He's great at reading my posture and knowing what I'm trying to get done. But I think the biggest thing is that he trusts me.”
SAN DIEGO -- A few takeaways from the San Diego Chargers' locker room after the team's 30-21 victory against the Seattle Seahawks:
  • Keenan Allen discussed going against Seattle Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman on Sunday. The Green Bay Packers did not throw to Sherman’s side in Seattle’s season-opening victory. However, the Chargers did not avoid Sherman, throwing to his side a handful of times with Allen matched up against the Pro Bowl cornerback. Allen finished with five catches for 55 yards. The Chargers completed five catches for 60 yards to Sherman’s side. “We took some shots at him,” Allen said. “We won. We were able to convert whenever we wanted to.”
Gates
  • Antonio Gates talked about facing single coverage for most of the game against the Seahawks, a favorable matchup for the 34-year-old tight end. “The Legion of Boom is what I’ve been hearing about all week,” Gates said. “Obviously, they believe in their skills to cover. It was a situation where fortunately I was matched up on linebackers at times, and I was able to come away with the win, and Philip Rivers was able to put the ball basically where no other player could get it.”
  • Rivers was emotional talking about teammate Nick Hardwick not being on the field against the Seahawks on Sunday. The 11-year veteran center was placed on season-ending injured reserve with a neck injury this week. The injury could mean the end of Hardwick’s career. Rivers paid tribute to Hardwick by wearing his No. 61 on the back of his helmet. “I thought about him quite a bit out there today,” Rivers said. “Especially pregame and the national anthem, thinking he may not be back out there again. He may not put on that helmet again with that No. 61 sticker.”
  • Reserve center Rich Ohrnberger was solid playing in place of Hardwick. He also helped take down a fan who had made his way onto the field in the second half, chest-bumping the fan onto the ground so security could subdue him. “He just started grabbing onto someone, and that’s when it crosses the line,” Ohrnberger said. “So huddle-bouncer/center, the more you can do is my philosophy. So we got him on the ground, and security did a great job.”

 

Rapid Reaction: San Diego Chargers

September, 14, 2014
Sep 14
7:21
PM ET
SAN DIEGO -- A few thoughts on the San Diego Chargers' surprising 30-21 victory over the Seattle Seahawks in the team’s home opener.

What it means: The Chargers avoid going 0-2 with an impressive win over the defending Super Bowl champs. San Diego showed some resiliency, leading for a second straight game heading into the fourth quarter. The Chargers gave up an 11-point lead in an opening-season loss to Arizona, but managed to hold onto a 27-21 advantage heading into the fourth quarter against the Seahawks.

Stock watch: Antonio Gates, the 34-year-old tight end, showed that he still has plenty of gas left in the tank. Gates scorched Seattle’s "Legion of Boom" defense with seven receptions for 96 yards, tying a career high with three touchdown catches.

Chargers controlled tempo: San Diego’s offense controlled the tempo of the game by dominating time of possession, holding a 31:08 to 13:52 advantage over Seattle through three quarters.

Defense throttles Seattle run game: The Seahawks ran for 207 yards in the team’s season-opening win against Green Bay. However, San Diego’s defense held the Seahawks to 108 rushing yards on just 13 carries.

Qualcomm crowd brings it: With a large contingent of Seahawks’ fans making the trek from the Pacific Northwest, San Diego fans were loud and proud at Qualcomm Stadium, giving the Chargers a distinct home-field advantage for the first home game of the season.

Game ball: Philip Rivers rebounded from a poor performance in the season opener against Arizona, shredding one of the best pass defenses in the NFL. Rivers finished 28-of-37 for 284 yards, throwing three touchdowns to Gates and finishing without an interception. Rivers also ran 11 times for 17 yards, including a long of 12 yards.

What’s next: The Chargers travel to the East Coast to take on the Buffalo Bills in a Week 3 contest on Sunday, 1 p.m. ET.

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