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Philip Rivers passed for 419 yards and three touchdowns to lead the Chargers past the Eagles on Sunday, 33-30. (AP)
Whoever had the ball last Sunday at the Linc was going to win.
That’s how good the offenses of the Eagles and Chargers were, and the opposite could be said for both defenses.
San Diego had the ball last, with 105 seconds left in a tie game, and Philip Rivers marched the Chargers downfield and won 33-30 on Nick Novak’s 46-yard field goal with seven seconds on the clock as the Chargers spoiled the Eagles’ home opener and Chip Kelly’s regular-season coaching debut at the Linc.
Alex Henery’s 32-yard field goal with one minute and 51 seconds to play forced a 30-30 tie but too much time remained for Philip Rivers, who dissected the Eagles’ defense all game long (see story).
Starting at San Diego’s 21-yard line, with 1:45 left on the clock, Rivers hit Antonio Gates twice for a total of 26 yards as the Chargers marched down the field and positioned themselves to take the final lead.
Novak, who had already nailed three field goals, made the 46-yarder to secure the win and send the Eagles to their first loss of the year.
Michael Vick passed for a career-best 428 yards, threw two touchdowns and ran for another and DeSean Jackson exploded for 193 receiving yards, but the Eagles’ defense couldn’t get the big stop in the fourth quarter that it desperately needed.
The Eagles somehow lost despite rolling up 511 yards, because the 545 they allowed was the fifth-most yards ever given up in team history.
They now enter a tough stretch, with a short turnaround for Thursday’s game against unbeaten Kansas City, followed by a road trip to Denver.
Hard to pick between Rivers or Eddie Royal, who had three touchdown catches, but Rivers was darn near perfect. He completed 36 of 47 passes for 419 yards and three touchdowns. He has seven TD passes after tossing four in the opener against Houston.
Give it to rookie right tackle Lane Johnson, who had two procedure penalties, one which negated a 37-yard touchdown pass to Jackson and forced the Eagles to settle for a field goal. Those four points made the difference.
Henery missed a 46-yard field goal in the final minute of the first half that kept the Eagles trailing, 13-10, at the break.
Chargers defensive back Marcus Gilchrist broke up a third-down pass from Vick to Jason Avant inside the Eagles’ 5 that forced the Eagles to settle for Henery’s game-tying field goal instead of giving them a fresh set of downs and an opportunity to score seven.
The Eagles’ defensive line and outside linebackers got no pressure on Rivers, who was sacked just once and not after halftime. Trent Cole made some decent plays but should have owned left tackle King Dunlap.
Reserve cornerback Brandon Hughes left in the third quarter with a hamstring injury. He played several downs with Bradley Fletcher out for the game and Brandon Boykin manning the slot often against San Diego’s spread offense. Vick came out of the game for a snap in the fourth after getting body slammed by a lineman but came back in.
The Chargers lost wideout Malcom Floyd to a neck injury in the third quarter. Floyd, who took a big hit from DeMeco Ryans, was hospitalized and had to be carted off on a stretcher (see story). He had five catches for 102 yards before leaving.
Did you know?
DeSean Jackson went over 150 receiving yards for the fifth time in his career, tying him with Tommy McDonald for most in Eagles history.
DE Vinny Curry, QB Matt Barkley, CB Bradley Fletcher, CB Shaun Prater, OT Matt Tobin, OT Dennis Kelly, TE Emil Igwenagu (see story).
The Eagles have short rest to prepare for Andy Reid’s arrival. Reid and the Chiefs come to town for a Thursday night showdown on the NFL Network. Donovan McNabb will have his No. 5 jersey retired and be honored at halftime.