Protecting Rivers paramount, say beat up offensive linemen

SAN DIEGO (AP) A number of San Diego Chargers offensive linemen were forced out of Sunday's ugly 31-14 loss at Minnesota.

Philip Rivers was, too, and that's not acceptable to the guys who are supposed to keep him upright.

''We've got to do a better job protecting Philip,'' said center Chris Watt, who started and was in for 11 plays before being forced out with a groin injury suffered a week earlier.

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Rivers was hit so hard in the third quarter that coach Mike McCoy called timeout so the franchise QB could get his wind back. Rivers eventually was pulled for his own good. He committed two turnovers and was sacked four times for the second straight week.

The Chargers (1-2) dropped to last in the AFC West.


AP NFL website: and