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(Sunday, November 8th)
Final Score: San Diego 21, NY Giants 20
East Rutherford, NJ (Sports Network) - Philip Rivers' touchdown pass to Vincent Jackson with 21 seconds left in the game was the difference, as the San Diego Chargers edged the New York Giants, 21-20.
Rivers finished 24-of-36 for 209 yards with three TDs and two interceptions for the Chargers (5-3), who won their third in a row. Jackson totaled 58 yards and two scores on five grabs, while Antonio Gates had 67 yards on five catches. Kris Wilson also had a touchdown catch in the win.
LaDainian Tomlinson was limited to 22 yards on 12 carries for San Diego, which has won three of the past four in this series.
Eli Manning was 25-for-33 passing with 215 yards and a pair of TDs for the Giants (5-4), who have dropped four in a row after starting the season with five straight wins. Brandon Jacobs led the ground attack with 67 yards on 11 carries, and Steve Smith had a score and 57 yards on eight grabs. Kevin Boss also had a score in the setback.
Despite the loss, the Giants had more total yardage, 304-226, and won the time of possession battle, 37:47-22:13.
"We're very upset and disappointed in the loss," said Giants head coach Tom Coughlin. "We played hard, we did a lot of good things but obviously we didn't do enough. We got to keep working, keep trying to improve...we fought our way out of things."
Although they had never faced each other prior to Sunday, Manning's and Rivers' careers will be forever intertwined. The Chargers used the No. 1 overall selection of the 2004 draft to select Manning, despite the Ole Miss product's publicly-known intentions that he wished not to play for the franchise, and subsequently traded his rights to the Giants after New York tabbed Rivers with the fourth pick of the first round. Rivers was sent to San Diego in a deal that also landed the Bolts a pair of draft picks, including a 2005 first-rounder that was used on standout outside linebacker Shawne Merriman.
Leading by four early in the fourth quarter, the Chargers started at their own 20. Rivers was sacked on first down and the visitors were faced with a 4th- and-25 before being forced to punt.
After Domenik Hixon returned the punt 13 yards, the Giants started at the Chargers 39. Mario Manningham's 14-yard catch moved the ball to the 20, Jacobs added a six-yard run and Ahmad Bradshaw had a six-yard gain. Two plays later, a wide-open Boss hauled in an eight-yard TD catch in the back of the end zone to give New York the lead, 17-14, with just under nine minutes to play.
San Diego was held to five plays on its ensuing touch, and the punt started the Giants at their own 23. Facing a 3rd-and-6 from their own 41, Manning dropped back and was sacked by Merriman, which led to a punt.
On the first play of the ensuing Chargers drive Rivers was picked off by Terrell Thomas, who ran it back 33 yards to the San Diego four-yard line. A holding call on first down moved the team back 10 yards, and they had to settle for a 22-yard field goal.
"It is disappointing when you get the ball at the five-yard line with a chance to score a touchdown and win that game, and we didn't do it," said Manning. "That is just disappointing. Penalties, penalties all night hurt us."
The Chargers started at their own 20 and moved to the 29 before the two-minute warning struck. A holding call on New York later in the drive moved the ball to the 39, and a 12-yard slant to Malcolm Floyd moved the chains across midfield. Gates' 10-yard grab made it 1st-and-10 from the 39, and Darren Sproles' 21-yard reception set up Rivers' 18-yard TD strike to Jackson that gave the Chargers a 21-20 lead with 21 ticks left.
"Philip (Rivers), he is in such control," said Chargers head coach Norv Turner. "We had struggled with some one-on-one matchups in the front and obviously we didn't in the last drive.?That was big.?We were able to block them in the last drive.?We dropped some balls throughout the game that we normally catch, but we caught them on the last drive.? I think our guys stepped up and did the things that they're capable of doing and did them at a real high level."
New York started at their own 29 with 15 seconds left after the kickoff, and an incompletion followed. Bradshaw then dropped a pass in the flat on second down and Manning took a sack to end the game.
"We let them off the hook," Coughlin said.
Neither team scored in the first quarter, although the Giants botched a field goal try on their first possession, and the Chargers got the ball with about three minutes left for a drive that bridged the first two frames.
Starting at the Giants 45-yard line, Rivers hit Jackson for a 16-yard reception on second down to move the ball to the 29. Three straight no-gain plays ensued as the opening stanza came to a close. On the first play of the second quarter, Jackson hauled in a 10-yard TD pass to give the visitors a 7-0 lead.
The Giants responded with a 16-play, 76-yard drive that ate up 10:35 of clock and was capped as Smith hauled in a six-yard TD pass, which tied the game.
The first four possessions of the second half resulted in three punts and an interception, before the Chargers got the ball back with just under seven minutes left in the third.
Starting at his own 49, Tomlinson had a two-yard run to move the ball across midfield. Four plays later, Rivers went deep for Jackson but it was incomplete. Corey Webster, though, was called for pass interference and it was 1st-and-goal from the New York 1. Two plays later, Wilson hauled in a two-yard TD pass to give San Diego a 14-7 lead with about four minutes left in the stanza.
The Giants got the ball back at their own 21, and eventually moved all the way to the red zone before the third quarter came to a conclusion. On the second play of the fourth quarter, facing a 3rd-and-9 from the 19, Manning hit Smith for an eight-yard gain but the receiver fumbled the ball, though the referees ruled that he was down. A challenge changed the ruling on the field to an incomplete pass and it was fourth down. The team settled for a 38-yard field goal that trimmed it to 14-10.
New York's scoring drive of 10:35 in the second quarter was the club's longest since October 31, 1993. Manning was also 9-for-9 on the trek, which was a career high for a single drive...The Giants have a bye next week and are next in action on November 22, hosting Atlanta. The Chargers host Philadelphia next week...Joe Girardi, manager of the World Series champion New York Yankees, was introduced before the game to applause.
11/09 00:23:50 ET