The Chargers beat Eli Manning and the New York Giants 37-14 Sunday as Philip Rivers found rookie Keenan Allen for two of his three touchdown passes.
The Chargers (6-7) kept alive their long-shot playoff hopes and helped eliminate the Giants (5-8) from the playoff picture.
"If you said we were going to be one game out of a playoff berth with three games to play, it wouldn't be ideal, but I think we would sign up for that," said Rivers, who led the Chargers to just their second win in the last six games.
The Chargers are tied with the New York Jets, one game behind Baltimore and Miami in the race for the second AFC wild-card spot. The Chargers visit Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos on Thursday night. The Broncos beat the Chargers 28-20 on Nov. 10.
Eli Manning dropped to 0-3 against San Diego since 2004, when the Chargers took him with the No. 1 overall draft pick and then sent him a short time later to the Giants for Rivers and a handful of draft picks.
Manning was booed all day by fans who still remember the slight they felt when Archie Manning, in the days before that draft, asked the Chargers not to take his son.
And now the Giants are out of the playoff hunt.
"That's not what the goal was," Manning said. "This organization and this team expects to make the playoffs and be in contention for championships and obviously to know that with three games to go, it's disappointing. Today's loss was a tough one."
The Chargers felt they played their most complete game of the year. They rushed for 144 yards, including 103 yards on 29 carries by Ryan Mathews.
New York cornerback Jayron Hosley said the Chargers "came out fighting and came out ready to play. We came out kind of flat. We started to pick it up at times, but we took too many blows."
Said Allen: "I think we got on top of these guys pretty early and put them out their misery. They didn't really want to play anymore."
Here are five takeaways from the game:
SAY WHAT, COACH? Chargers rookie coach Mike McCoy, who usually is as bland and cliched as can be, said during his postgame news conference: "I'm not in this business to play it close. We are trying to win. We're going to beat Denver on Thursday night." The Chargers later issued a revised statement that only obfuscated the issue: "We are trying to win. We're going (to Denver) to beat Denver on Thursday night." Maybe the ballcoach didn't mean to say what he said, but he said it.
KEENAN ALLEN: Allen had three catches to push his season total to 61, breaking LaDainian Tomlinson's team rookie record of 59 in 2001. Allen scored San Diego's first touchdown on a 43-yard reception. He dove at the pylon to complete the play. He was hurt while making a 12-yard catch late in the first quarter and went into the locker room. He returned late in the second quarter and caught his second scoring pass to give San Diego a 17-0 lead. Allen said he had an X-ray on his shoulder, which was negative, and then got a pain-killing shot before going back into the game. "My shoulder's fine," he said. "I just fell too hard, just trying to dive and get away from the contact, but I ended up hurting myself."
BOOOOOOO!!! Chargers fans let Manning have it all day. "Fans never affected my play and I just try to go out there and just try to play good football," Manning said. Asked if the fans affected Manning, Giants coach Tom CXXSSEFGV JGoughlin said: "I don't think so at all. I think their team affected us." Said Rivers: "I think it is funny after 10 years. I don't have the same feeling toward him. After 10 years you think they would let up. I just hope that they are glad that I'm here."
GIANTS MESS: The G-Men had three turnovers against the Chargers, the two interceptions by Manning and a fumble by Andre Brown. Manning's first interception set up Allen's first TD catch. Brown's fumble set up Rivers' 6-yard scoring throw.
RIVERS: The Chargers QB was 21 of 28 for 249 yards before being replaced by Charlie Whitehurst with more than five minutes left. He was sacked by Justin Tuck and fumbled on the first possession of the second half, with Cullen Jenkins recovering at the 18 to set up Peyton Hillis' 1-yard scoring run. Rivers appeared to injure his neck when he dove for the loose ball but stayed in the game.
What did the win over the Giants do for the Chargers? Talk in the message boards.
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