AP: Drew who? Rivers impresses as Chargers rout Packers

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#GoIrish #Aztecs #SDGulls #Raiders #THFC #RipCity
Staff member
Jun 20, 2005
Chula Vista, CA

SAN DIEGO (AP) — The Philip Rivers era began with a bang.

The San Diego Chargers’ new quarterback, cool in the pocket and crisp with his passes, threw for 169 yards and led the Chargers on two early scoring drives Saturday night in a 17-3 victory over Green Bay.

Packers quarterback Brett Favre, pressured by the San Diego defense for most of the four series he played, was unable to generate much offense. The loss spoiled the head coaching debut of Green Bay’s Mike McCarthy.

The 36-year-old Favre, who pondered retirement in the offseason but decided to return, completed 5 of 10 passes for 66 yards and was sacked twice on consecutive plays in the first quarter. He came out of the game early in the second.

Aaron Rogers, Green Bay’s first pick in the 2005 draft and Favre’s heir apparent, was 9-of-11 for 124 yards while playing nearly half the game.

Rivers, who became the Chargers’ starter when they let Drew Brees leave for New Orleans, played all but one play of the first half and completed 15-of-21.

He connected on a 22-yard touchdown pass to Vincent Jackson on San Diego’s opening series to cap a 64-yard drive, then engineered an 18-play, 86-yard march the first time they had the ball in the second quarter.

Michael Turner sprinted 13 yards around the right end for the score that gave San Diego a 14-0 lead 2:16 before halftime.

The 24-year-old Rivers, a former North Carolina State standout, threw for more yards — and equaled his touchdown total — in the first half of the exhibition victory than he had combined during his four career appearances during the NFL regular season.

As Brees’ backup the past two years, Rivers was 17-of-30 for 148 yards, with one touchdown.

Rivers came to San Diego after he was drafted No. 4 by the New York Giants in 2004. The Chargers took Eli Manning with the first pick, then swapped him to the Giants for Rivers because Manning did not want to play for San Diego.

The 6-foor-5, 228-pound Rivers completed a variety of passes against the Packers.

After Jackson caught a perfectly thrown ball in full stride in the end zone for an apparent 17-yard touchdown four minutes into the game, the Packers called for a video replay, and the pass was ruled incomplete because Jackson stepped out of bounds.

No problem for Rivers. After a 5-yard penalty moved the ball back to the 22, the Chargers’ quarterback lofted another pass to a diving Jackson in the end zone for an undisputed TD.

On the second scoring drive, a 10:44 affair that ate up most of the second quarter, Rivers snapped a quick, hard throw to Jackson across the middle for a 16-yard pickup to the Green Bay 23-yard line on third-and-9.

Then on third-and-2 from the Packers’ 15, Rivers whirled away from defensive pressure and tossed a short, soft pass to Jackson for a 2-yard gain and first down at the 13.

San Diego built its lead to 17-0 on a 23-yard field goal by Nate Kaeding late in the third quarter. Green Bay’s Billy Cundiff finally put the Packers on the board with a 23-yard field goal early in the fourth quarter.

Ryan Krause had six catches for 64 yards, and Jackson had four for 46 and the TD.

San Diego All-Pro running back LaDainian Tomlinson, who rarely plays during the preseason, sat out the game.