Chargers Win Ugly

The Chargers overcame a rough first half to down the defending NFC champion Chicago Bears, 14-3. After a first half that featured a blocked field goal, a careless interception and a horrible non-call by the referees, the Chargers scored two touchdowns to pull away from a Bears team lacking any offensive firepower.

With the exception of his first-quarter interception – in which he tried to force the ball to Antonio Gates despite double-coverage -- Philip Rivers appeared sharp. He completed 22 of 31 passes for 190 yards, despite enduring five drops from his receiving corps. Gates had two of the drops but earned redemption by catching nine passes for 107 yards and a score. Of course, one of those catches was the 17-yard score from LaDainian Tomlinson, which put the Chargers on top for good.

The real story of the game was the Chargers defense, which limited the Chicago Bears to 202 total yards and an average of less than 4 yards per play. That was certainly enough the fluster the easily flappable Rex Grossman, who completed 12 of 23 passes for 145 yards and a gift interception floated to Marlon McCree. Grossman was sacked thrice, with Shaun Phillips, Jacques Cesaire and Eric Weddle doing the honors.

The only Bears score, a 27-yard field goal by Robbie Gould, were courtesy a short field following the Rivers interception.

Grossman didn't get much help from his running game. Cedric Benson ran for just 42 yards on 19 carries in his first start in place of the departed Thomas Jones, who rushed for more than 1,200 yards in each of his last two seasons with the Bears. Benson also lost a fumble, as did back-up running back Adrian Peterson.

Last season, Chicago relied on dangerous return man Devin Hester to pick up some of the scoring slack. The Chargers were able to keep him in check. Mike Scifres punted to him six times and gave him nothing to return. Hester received just one opportunity one kickoffs and returned it 29 yards.

With the Bears doing little to put points on the board, it was only a matter of time until their defense buckled. That happened on the final drive, when the Chargers offense ran the final 6:02 off the clock to secure the victory. Michael Turner had runs of 9, 5 and 11 yards on the drive as the Chicago front – which held Tomlinson without a single rushing yard until the end of the first half – began to wear out.

Lightning Quicks: Darren Sproles suffered a concussion on the opening kickoff…the 22-yard punt by Scifres that bounced off Brandon McGowan ricocheted off the wire used to guide the above-field camera…Anthony Waters was inactive after missing a pair of practices to attend his grandmother's funeral…fellow rookies Brandon Siler, Scott Chandler and Paul Oliver were also inactive…second-year tackle Jeromey Clary was active and used in the team's jumbo packages while Roman Oben was inactivated.


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