NEW ORLEANS, LA - OCTOBER 07: Ryan Mathews #24 of the San Diego Chargers dives over Malcolm Jenkins #27 of the New Orleans Saints to score a touchdown and lead 24-14 lead during the third quarter at Mercedes-Benz Superdome on October 7, 2012 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
The Chargers gave the Saints their first win Sunday Night in New Orleans.
It came down to a last second drive to try and bring the Chargers back from a 31-24 deficit.
The drive was going great until the holding penalty on Jeromey Clary. And then the pass interference call on Antonio Gates. And then the holding call on Nick Hardwick.
Finally, the Chargers got a call their way with an illegal use of hands penalty on defensive end Martez Wilson.
But it was too little too late.
Left guard Jared Gaither got injured on the second to last play of the drive, but did not get off the field. On the next play, Wilson blew through Gaither and forced quarterback Philip Rivers to fumble.
Before the destructive last drive, San Diego had held their own in the Superdome. They scored first after winning the toss on a 15-yard pass to wide receiver Robert Meachem.
After that Brees tied it up with his record-breaking touchdown pass to Devery Henderson.
Chargers outscored the Saint 10-7 in the second quarter. Rivers, again matching up with Meachem and kicker Nick Novak, put it through the uprights from 20 yards out.
In the third quarter the shootout continued with a Saints TD. Chargers running back Ryan Matthews responded by getting airborne and scoring his first touchdown of the season.
But in the fourth New Orleans started really breaking away and outscored the Bolts 10-0.
Game over. Saints 31, Chargers 24.
The win for his team was just the icing on the cake for Saints quarterback Drew Brees.
Brees broke the NFL record for consecutive games with a touchdown pass. Legendary quarterback Johnny Unitas had held the record at 47 for half a century before Brees broke it in the first quarter tonight, making it his 48th consecutive game.
Saints head coach Sean Payton was suspended for the season because of last season’s bounty hunting debacle. Tonight, the league lifted the suspension, per Brees’ request, so Payton could be there if/when Brees broke the record.
Brees and Unitas are both former Chargers.