For nearly a decade the Chargers have been really good at finding ways to lose football games.
On Sunday they found a way to win one, with help from one of the other worst teams in the NFL. The Bolts beat the Giants 27-22 in New York for their first win of the season.
The first points of the day came on an offensive miscue. Buried deep in their own territory Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers was in the middle of changing a play when center Spencer Pulley snapped the ball. The unprepared passer leapt on the ball and knocked it out the back of the end zone to avoid what would have likely led to a New York touchdown. The safety put the Giants up 2-0.
The Giants got a more traditional score when running back Orleans Darkwa took off on a 23-yard touchdown run to make it 9-0. Darkwa seemed like he was on pace for a career day but then the Giants coaching staff inexplicably did not give him another carry for the rest of the first half.
New York’s play-calling folly helped the Chargers get back in the game. After newly returned kicker Nick Novak hit a 20-yard field goal the Bolts took a rare lead when Rivers found running back Melvin Gordon for a 6-yard touchdown. The Chargers took a 10-9 lead to halftime.
In the 2nd half the Chargers looked like they would pad the lead. They drove to the New York 14 yard line but Rivers threw a bad ball and was picked off by Darian Thompson in the end zone. On the ensuing drive the Giants offense finally opened up. Quarterback Eli Manning dropped a pretty pass into the hands of Roger Lewis Jr. for a 29-yard touchdown and a 16-10 lead.
Rivers answered back with a 25-yard touchdown pass to tight end Hunter Henry and a 17-16 lead that pas short-lived. A breakdown in coverage allowed all-world wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. to get all alone down the right sideline and Manning found him for a 48-yard touchdown.
With the Giants up 22-17 the teams traded punts then Novak hit another field goal. Then the New York coaching staff lost its mind and lost the game. For some reason they had Manning throwing the ball. He left one high and Beckham injured his ankle trying to make a catch. He was the fourth Giants wideout to leave the game with an injury, joining Sterling Shepard, Brandon Marshall and Dwayne Harris.
And yet still, on 3rd and 7, they called a pass play. Manning was sacked by Melvin Ingram, the ball came loose and the Chargers recovered on the Giants 11-year-line. A few plays later Rivers found Gordon again for a 9-yard, game-winning touchdown. Gordon also ran for 105 yards, his first 100-yard effort of the season.
The Chargers improve to 1-4 while the Giants fall to 0-5. The Bolts have another road trip next week to play the Raiders in Oakland.