After countless mistakes and penalties, the Chargers squeaked out a 27-22 win over of the Giants in their first win of the season.
It was a battle of 0-4 teams that saw 11 punts and safety in the first half alone. Philip Rivers said earlier in the week this game would be a real barn burner, and it lived it up to that hype.
Eli Manning had a decent performance despite losing all of his wide receiver weapons to injury. He was also the recipient of five sacks delivered by the Chargers defense. Two were administered each by Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram. In the final quarter, Manning was sacked by Ingram and lost the ball as the Chargers took over near the 10-yard line. Rivers moved out to his right and found Gordon for the game-winning touchdown.
The Chargers' opening drive was a disaster on third down, as quarterback Philip Rivers couldn't handle a bad snap, and Rivers knocked the ball out of the end zone for a safety. The Giants defensive rush didn't make anything easy for the Chargers offense on the drive.
The Chargers had a nine-game losing streak dating back to last season, which is the longest in the NFL. Only nine teams have given up more points than the Bolts through four games (93), plus the defense spend a lot more on the field.
The Giants found the secret to evading the Chargers defense by using the running game. After a successful catch by Odell Backham Jr. from Eli Manning in Chargers territory, Giants sought running back Orleans Darkwa for a 23-yard touchdown and 9-0 lead.
The Chargers couldn't find any offensive rhythm until their third drive, when Tyrell Williams caught a 22-yard catch that continued the drive finally past midfield. A Jean-Pierre Paul penalty kept the Bolts drive alive, and later cleared the way for a Rivers to Melvin Gordon 6 yard breakaway touchdown.
Rivers found Hunter Henry to the Giants 29 yard line for an 11-yard gain. Several plays later, Rivers dumped a pass to Gordon, who stiff-armed Jenoris Jenkins for a 15-yard gain which continued the drive. Rivers and Keenan Allen still weren't communicating effectively on the field as Allen went out of bounds and came back in to touch the ball in the end zone. That resulted in a penalty where the Bolts settled for a 20 yard field goal by Nick Novak, for a 10-9 halftime lead.
Both Bosa and Ingram have a combined 12 sacks on the season.
With wide receivers Sterling Shepard and Brandon Marshall ruled out due ankle injuries they suffered in the first half, Odell Beckham became a bigger target for Manning in the second half. Manning continued his aerial attack, when he launched a pass downfield to Roger Lewis Jr. for a 29-yard touchdown. Lewis beat out top-notch cornerback Casey Hayward on the play for his third career touchdown catch.
Allen came through on both 3rd down conversions on the drive, that later set up Rivers' pass to Hunter Henry for the touchdown.
It was only a matter of time before Odell Beckham Jr. would heat up. After his sensational performance in the third quarter, Manning found Beckham on a 48-yard touchdown pass for a 22-17 lead in the final quarter. The Bolts did a solid job on Beckham in the first half; however, they were unable to keep him in check in the second half. Beckham's spectacular catches kept the Giants alive in the third quarter.
On the Giants drive, after an attempted catch, Beckham left the game late in the fourth quarter with an ankle injury, and was immediately sent to the X-ray room.
Eli Manning finished 21/35 for 21/36 for 225 yards passing, with two touchdowns and an interception in the loss. Philip Rivers finished with 21/44 for 258 yards passing and three touchdowns on the day.
The Los Angeles Chargers will face the Raiders in Oakland next Sunday.