Chargers Hang on for Fourth Straight Win

With San Diego's defense giving yards in bunches, the offense came through with a 12-play scoring drive late in the game as the Chargers held off the Philadelphia Eagles for a 31-23 victory. The win pulls San Diego into a tie atop the AFC West.

The Chargers came out on fire in the first half against the Eagles. The offense scored touchdowns on two of its first four drives -- a 20-yard catch-and-run by Mike Tolbert and a 3-yard run by LaDainian Tomlinson -- to spot San Diego a 14-0 lead.

The defense did its part, keeping the Eagles out of the end zone in the first 30 minutes. Ron Rivera's group forced the Eagles to punt on their first three possessions, and on their fourth, the Eagles were unable to punch it in despite having a first-and-goal at the San Diego 1-yard line, instead settling for an 18-yard field goal by David Akers.

However, things got ugly for the defense after intermission. The Eagles began to march up and down the field under the guidance of Donovan McNabb, who completed 35 of 55 passes for 450 yards. McNabb also tossed fourth-quarter TDs to Jeremy Maclin and Brent Celek to pull the Eagles to 28-23 with more than seven minutes remaining.

RB LaDainian Tomlinson
Kevork Djansezian/Getty
That's when Rivers & Co. answered with a championship-caliber, clock-killing drive to win the game for San Diego. Rivers led a 12-play drive that took 6:42 off the clock and resulted in a 29-yard field goal by Nate Kaeding to give San Diego a more comfortable eight-point edge.

The Eagles got the ball back with 30 seconds left and moved within striking distance before McNabb was picked off by Antonio Cromartie with no time remaining. It was McNabb's first pick of the day despite dropping back 57 times.

The lack of turnovers was a direct result of San Diego's tepid pass rush, which was surprisingly mild after racking up 15 sacks in the previous three games. Against Philly, the Chargers got only two sacks (Brandon Siler and Paul Oliver), none by the defensive line or any of the outside linebackers.

Fortunately for the Chargers, they escaped with the win and now have a week to shore up their pass defense. Up next, San Diego will travel to Denver to take on the Broncos in a battle for first place in the AFC West. Denver lost earlier Sunday in Washington, 24-17, leaving them tied with the Chargers at 6-3 atop the division.

Lightning Quicks

--Tomlinson enjoyed his strongest game of the season, carrying 24 times for 96 yards (4.0 ypc) and scoring a pair of touchdowns. He has now run for a pair of touchdowns in each of San Diego's last two home games.

--Vincent Jackson caught just one pass for 10 yards. It marked the first time this season he was held under four catches or 45 yards.

--On the flip side, Eagles WR Jason Avant exploited San Diego's secondary to set career-highs with eight catches and 156 yards. He had only caught 15 passes on the season prior to Sunday's game.

--Siler maintained his place in the starting lineup, but Kevin Burnett returned from his ankle injury and played well, leading the team with eight tackles and make a pair of crucial stops on third down.

What's your reaction to Sunday's win over Philly? Talk about it in the message boards.

Michael Lombardo is a member of the Pro Football Writers of America and a long-time contributor to the network. His analysis has been published by the NFL Network, Fox Sports and MySpace Sports. He has followed the Chargers for more than 15 years and covered the team since 2003. You can see more of his updates by following him on twitter.

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