With an emotional victory over a playoff contender on the road, the San Diego Chargers padded their confidence and created some separation in the AFC wild-card race.
The object now for the Chargers is to ride the momentum all the way into the postseason.
Down by 10 points with just over six minutes to go, San Diego rallied behind Philip Rivers to beat the Baltimore Ravens 34-33 on Sunday and extend its winning streak to three games.
"This win means a lot to us," said wide receiver Kennan Allen, who had 11 catches for 121 yards and two touchdowns. "We hope we can just keep going and run the table."
The Chargers (8-4) moved a game ahead of Baltimore (7-5) in the wild-card hunt and earned the tie-breaker edge if the teams finish even.
But San Diego has a very tough December: home games against New England and Denver followed by trips to San Francisco and Kansas City
"We've got two tough home games coming up and we need to get rolling," said former Ravens linebacker Jarret Johnson, who enjoyed a sweet return to Baltimore.
The Ravens, meanwhile, must rebound from a painful loss if they are to return to the playoffs after last year's 8-8 disappointment.
"We're in a little bit of a tougher spot," wide receiver Torrey Smith said, "but at the end of the day all we can work on is what we can control."
Some things we learned about the Chargers and Ravens:
RED ALERT: Baltimore had to settle for field goals four of the seven times it got inside the San Diego 20, including a late fourth-quarter drive that stalled at the 13 with just over two minutes left.
The ensuing field goal gave Rivers enough time to mount an 80-yard drive that concluded with a 1-yard touchdown pass to Eddie Royal with 38 seconds remaining.
"You've just got to execute," Ravens running back Justin Forsett said. "We pride ourselves on finishing, and we didn't finish what we needed to."
Smith said, "It was the difference in the game. We wouldn't have had to worry about them scoring at the end if we had scored more touchdowns."
CENTER OF ATTENTION: If there was an unsung hero in the Chargers' victory, it was center Trevor Robinson, the Notre Dame product claimed off the Bengals practice squad in early October when injuries decimated San Diego's interior offensive line.
Robinson subbed when starting center Chris Watt limped off with a calf injury early in the third quarter.
Adjusting on the fly to a new center is nothing new to Rivers. The Chargers had already lost three centers — Nick Hardwick, Doug Legursky and Rich Ohrnberger — to season-ending injuries.
But the newly configured line performed nearly flawlessly during the pivotal fourth quarter.
"Trevor stepped in big," Rivers said. "Fifth center. More centers than losses, so that's pretty crazy."
NO TIMEOUTS? NO PROBLEM: Rivers got the ball on his own 20-yard line with 2:22 left in the fourth quarter, no timeouts remaining and the Ravens ahead 33-27. If there was any panic in the huddle, it wasn't evident.
Two quick passes to Allen moved San Diego 26 yards before the two-minute warning, and Rivers employed a no-huddle offense to keep the pressure on Baltimore.
"We were thinking we had to score, we don't have any more timeouts," said wide receiver Malcom Floyd, who made a key 8-yard reception on third-and-3 to extend the decisive drive. "Philip was calling the right plays, and we just had to move fast. I don't think they were ready for our no-huddle offense. We saw they were a little winded and we tried to take advantage of that."
BITTERSWEET ACCOMPLISHMENT: Forsett rushed for 106 yards to reach the 1,000-yard mark for the first time in his seven-year career.
It's been a heck of a season for Forsett, who stepped up after Ray Rice was initially suspended for two games and ultimately released by the Ravens after a video surfaced showing Rice hitting his then-fiancee.
Forsett's third straight 100-yard game left him at 1,009 yards for the season.
"It's bittersweet," he said. "It's a great accomplishment for us and the team, but we want to come out of here with a win, and we didn't get that done."
SPREADING THE WEALTH: Rivers completed passes to eight receivers on a 383-yard afternoon. Even though it seemed like Allen, Royal, and tight end Antonio Gates (eight catches, 83 yards) were his favorite targets, Rivers kept the Ravens secondary on its toes by integrating multiple receivers into the offense.
"When you've got so many talented guys who can do so many different things (and) you've got a great quarterback, he's going to take what the defense gives him, regardless of what play is called," coach Mike McCoy said.
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