Boy, the Chargers do love December.
Known for their annual late-season push during the holidays, the Chargers didn’t disappoint, earning a crucial, and quite frankly dominating, win over the Ravens 34-14. The victory moves San Diego to 7-7, putting them one game behind the Denver Broncos in the AFC West.
This really was a dominating performance against a team many thought would capture the top seed in the conference. The Chargers put up 415 yards, allowed only 272 and never trailed in the win.
For Philip Rivers, his penchant for turnovers was put aside Sunday night. He entered the game with 17 interceptions, but against the Ravens, the quarterback threw for 270 yards and a score, while keeping the ball out of the hands of the defense. Running backs Ryan Mathews and Mike Tolbert did the same, as the duo rushed for 130 yards and three touchdowns. Mathews led the way with 90 yards and a pair of scores.
It was a balanced attack for the Chargers’ offense. All together the offense strung together six scoring drives, four of which went at least 70 yards. Kicker Nick Novak missed a field goal, but connected on two others to go along with four extra points.
Defensively, the Ravens will have to throw some credit to linebacker Antwan Barnes. Barnes, who played in Baltimore from 2007-09, registered four sacks against the Ravens’ offensive line, leading the way for a San Diego unit that picked up seven sacks and two interceptions.
On a side note, you’ll remember my story earlier this week about tight end Antonio Gates nearing the record of the franchise’s all-time leader in receptions. Gates needed five, but grabbed only two passes in the victory, so he’s just three catches away from history.
To wrap things up, the Chargers are still alive in the AFC West, but will hit the road for the final two weeks with trips to Detroit and Oakland. The Ravens, meanwhile, fall to 10-4 and have to hope the Steelers lose on Monday Night Football to remain on top of the AFC North. They host the Browns next week.