Last season, Green Bay finished second in the league with a franchise-record 14 giveaways. The Packers, however, had three in the first quarter on Thursday night.
The first, a fumble on a botched handoff to James Starks, turned into San Diego's first touchdown when Philip Rivers hit tight end Antonio Gates for a 23-yard touchdown. The touchdown came immediately after standout inside linebacker Desmond Bishop was helped off the field. Coach Mike McCarthy said it was a knee sprain with perhaps an additional injury to Bishop's hamstring, though a more thorough exam in Green Bay would determine the true extent of the injury.
Graham Harrell, who finished 15-of-27 for 135 yards, led a pair of touchdown drives. The first was a two-minute series before halftime, with a 28-yard completion to Randall Cobb setting up a 3-yard touchdown to Cobb. The second was a run-heavy drive in which rookie Marc Tyler carried seven times, including three in a row in which he gained 2 and 3 yards before punching it in from the 1 with 11:21 remaining in the game. McCarthy went for the two-point conversion, hoping to put Green Bay in front 15-14 rather than tied 14-14, but Harrell threw incomplete to Jarrett Boykin.
The Chargers tacked on a touchdown just after the two-minute warning, with Curtis Brinkley's 1-yard run capping a nine-play, 76-yard drive to make it 21-13.
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Bill Huber is publisher of Packer Report magazine and PackerReport.com and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org, or leave him a question in Packer Report's subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at twitter.com/PackerReport.