The Chargers surrendered 21 first quarter points – the team came into the game having allowed 38 first quarter points over their first eight games. They also allowed ten third quarter points, matching the amount they had yielded in the third quarter all year.
"They jumped out to that huge lead, and we were getting laughed at going into the locker room at halftime," explained Mike Goff. "Marty (Schottenheimer) and the coaches did a great job telling us, ‘That's done and over with. All you can do now is go out and play your heart out.'"
"The guys never gave up," added Rivers. "There was a little bit of disbelief but we kept fighting. We could have easy have pointed fingers. We didn't do that. We kept battling and nobody ever lost hope."
Chad Johnson passed the 200-yard receiving barrier in the third quarter. It has been over 20 years since San Diego allowed a 200-yard receiver against. Stephone Paige made eight receptions for 309 yards on December 22, 2005 at Kansas City.
"I don't even know how many yards I had, but we didn't get the ‘W.' We are not where we need to be, and even though we were winning, it would have seemed funny to be out there celebrating," admitted Johnson. "The celebrations came last year because we were on a roll. Things aren't right yet to do it this year."
Johnson set a new franchise record for receiving yards in the process with 260. He was also the last player to score three receiving touchdowns in a game against San Diego, accomplishing the feat the last time these two teams met in 2003.
Carson Palmer's 282 yards in the first half were a career high for the quarterback. Cincinnati's field goal midway through the third quarter to make the score 31-21 set a new season high for points allowed by San Diego. Kansas City had scored 30 points against the Bolts three weeks prior.
"It gives you a little bit of confidence, but nothing gives you confidence like winning," said Palmer. "We're playing to win. We're not playing to have 400 or 500 yards of total offense. We're playing for a win, and we didn't do that today."
Palmer passed for 440 yards against the San Diego defense. The last time an opponent passed for over 400 yards was December 29, 2002 when Matt Hasselbeck passed for 449 yards.
Clinton Hart missed an easy interception in the second quarter as the ball hit his hands and popped out. The next play was a big completion to T.J. Houshmandzadeh for a first down on third-and-18. It led to a Chris Henry touchdown.
San Diego scored 42 second half points. It was San Diego's highest point total since a 50-28 win over Miami on September 7, 1986
"I was just trying to have one more point on the board than them at the end of the game," said Schottenheimer. "We got into a rhythm and were able to move the ball today. When I looked at the scoreboard and saw two teams in the 30s, it immediately took me back to the old AFL days. It was a shootout."
"It was a difficult football game to lose — one that was a tale of two halves," added Cincinnati head coach Marvin Lewis.
The Chargers have scored at least 20 points in eight of their nine games this season, they've scored over 30 five times and over 40 on three occasions. The Chargers already have three 40-point games this season, matching last year's total. The team record for 40-point games in a season is five, set in 1960.
San Diego continues to lead the NFL in scoring with 297 points over nine games for an average of 33 points per game. Their point differential of 102 points (297-175) is second best in the NFL.
The Chargers and Bengals combined for the most combined points scored this season and had 11 plays of 20-yards or more. The 89 points they amassed were the most in a game since the Bolts hooked up with St. Louis on October 1, 2000 and scored 93 points.
The San Diego Chargers pulled off the biggest comeback in 23 years on Sunday, giving head coach Marty Schottenheimer his 193rd career victory to put him in a tie with former Pittsburgh Steelers coach Chuck Noll for fifth most all-time. The last time the Chargers overcome a 21-point deficit was October 9, 1983, when they fell behind 21-0 before beating Seattle 28-21 in San Diego.
The Chargers have won eight straight games in November and are 3-2 on the road this year.
The Chargers went 6-for-6 in red zone efficiency and have scored on every drive they have been inside the 20-yard line minus a kneel down against Pittsburgh.
Nick Hardwick had his ankle rolled in the third quarter and had to be helped off the field. He was able to put light pressure on his foot. Hardwick returned to the game in the fourth quarter.