Rivers, Sproles Lead Bolts to 24-20 Victory

It's a new season and a new team, but the same old San Diego Chargers took the field Monday night against the Oakland Raiders. And it was the usual suspects, Philip Rivers and Darren Sproles, who allowed the Chargers to narrowly escape a crushing loss in their season opener.

Visit SDBoltReport.com later on Tuesday as we'll start rolling out exclusive postgame interviews with several of the Chargers' star players.

Philip Rivers put the team on his back and carried it to victory with a sensational showing in the fourth quarter of Monday's game. Rivers connected on 10 of 12 passes in the fourth quarter while directing two touchdown drives, the second of which was capped off by a 5-yard TD run by Darren Sproles with only 18 seconds remaining.

The first fourth-quarter scoring drive resulted in a 15-yard TD catch by Vincent Jackson, who finished the game with five catches for 56 yards. He was one of five Chargers players to finish with five receptions, joined by Antonio Gates (83 yards), Sproles (43 yards) and Legedu Naanee (49 yards).

The exciting finish overshadowed a shaky debut for the 2009 Chargers. The Raiders controlled the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball and held more than a three-minute advantage in time of possession.

LB Kevin Burnett
Ezra Shaw/Getty
Then there was the blown coverage in the final three minutes of the game, when Clinton Hart and Antonio Cromartie let a miscommunication result in a 57-yard touchdown pass to rookie Louis Murphy on fourth-and-15.

Of even greater concern were the injuries, especially on the offensive line. Louis Vasquez and Nick Hardwick both went down with leg injuries in the third quarter and were replaced by Brandyn Dombrowski and Scott Mruczkowski, respectively.

Hardwick refused to talk of his injury after the game, but he didn't sound optimistic.

Asked about his personal goals for the season, he said: "I don't know...I may have to change them now."

The Chargers won't have much time to heal up given the short work week; the Baltimore Ravens come into town for the Bolts' home opener on Sunday, Sept. 20. If possible, that game figures to be even more physical than Monday's.

What are fans saying about Monday's game? Talk about it in the message boards.

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