Published September 19, 2010
SAN DIEGO – As good as Philip Rivers was, the San Diego Chargers' defense was even better.
Rivers threw for 334 yards and three touchdowns and the Chargers forced six turnovers in beating the Jacksonville Jaguars 38-13 in their home opener Sunday.
Chargers rookie running back Ryan Mathews hurt his right ankle in the second quarter and didn't return. He also fumbled for the second straight game, one of San Diego's three turnovers.
David Garrard was intercepted four times. The six turnovers tied Jacksonville's team record and led to 17 points for the Chargers.
The Chargers (1-1) bounced back from an embarrassing 21-14 loss at Kansas City on Monday night. The Jaguars (1-1) regressed following an opening win against Denver.
Rivers threw touchdown passes of 9 and 4 yards to tight end Antonio Gates in the first half, then hit Malcom Floyd on a 54-yarder in the fourth quarter. Mike Tolbert scored on runs of 2 and 1 yards.
Rivers completed 22 of 29 passes, with two interceptions. It was his 16th career 300-yard day.
Antoine Cason had two interceptions for San Diego while Brandon Siler and Kevin Burnett each had one. Cason also forced a fumble by Mike Sims-Walker that Burnett recovered. Antwan Applewhite forced a fumble by Maurice Jones-Drew that Paul Oliver recovered.
Jacksonville got its only touchdown with 37 seconds to play, a 3-yard pass from Garrard to Sims-Walker. Josh Scobee kicked field goals of 44 and 48 yards. The first was set up by a fumble by Mathews and the second was set up when Mike Scifres' punt was blocked by Rashad Jennings.
The Chargers had their miscues, too, but at least managed to find the end zone. Rivers moved San Diego 74 yards in six plays on the game's first drive, with Tolbert scoring on a 2-yard run.
The second quarter included a dizzying exchange of turnovers, plus the blocked punt. Cason's second pickoff, of a tipped pass, set up Rivers' 9-yard TD pass to a wide-open Gates for a 14-3 lead.
After Scobee kicked his second field goal, the Chargers moved 87 yards in eight plays, capped by Gates' 4-yard TD catch.
Oliver's fumble recovery set up Nate Kaeding's 41-yard field goal in the third quarter, and Burnett's interception set up Tolbert's 1-yard run early in the fourth. Burnett picked off a wobbly pass that was the result of Siler hitting Garrard.
Garrard made way for backup Luke McCown early in the fourth quarter. He came back, though, after McCown was shaken up.