By BERNIE WILSON, Associated Press
SAN DIEGO (AP) — Philip Rivers and the San Diego Charges were afterthoughts going into Monday night's game against Andrew Luck and the Indianapolis Colts.
"I wasn't sure who the Colts were playing this week, all the ads I saw," Rivers said.
Rivers helped take Luck out of the game by expertly guiding a balanced offense on three scoring drives of at least 74 yards in the Chargers' 19-9 victory on Monday night. He threw a 22-yard touchdown pass to rookie Keenan Allen and Nick Novak kicked four field goals for the Chargers (3-3), who bounced back from a dismal loss at Oakland.
"We need to be able to run it, we need to have that nice balance," Rivers said. "There'll be some games where we'll spread out throwing it. And they'll be some games like this. This is kind of an old-school NFL win right here. It's good for our team to get that done."
The Chargers still trail the undefeated Denver Broncos and Kansas City Chiefs by three games in the AFC West.
"I thought this was a turning point for our season," Rivers said. "That doesn't mean it's going to take care of itself, but 2-4 would have been quite a bind to be in. We've got to get Jacksonville next week before the bye and find ourselves at 4-3 and see what happens the rest of the way."
The Colts didn't even score a touchdown. All their points came on three field goals by Adam Vinatieri.
A week earlier, Luck helped rally the Colts to a 34-28 victory against Seattle.
Luck had no real chance against the Bolts because of two long drives in the second quarter that helped contribute to the Chargers dominating the time of possession 38 minutes, 31 seconds to 21:29.
Allen got behind safety Delano Howell and cornerback Vontae Davis on a post route for the TD, completing a 12-play, 74-yard march. It was Allen's second TD catch of the season.
Novak's first field goal capped a drive that went 79 yards in 17 plays. The drive was kept alive when cornerback Greg Toler was whistled for illegal contact for pushing receiver Lavelle Hawkins out of bounds on third-and-6 from the Chargers 45.
Luck then completed four straight passes to move the Colts into Chargers territory before Coby Fleener dropped a pass at the 25. Luck scrambled for 6 yards and threw an incompletion before Vinatieri kicked a 50-yard field goal as time expired.
Five things to know after the Chargers beat the Colts:
LONG DRIVES: The Chargers held the ball most of the second quarter in outscoring the Colts 10-3. Allen scored to cap a 12-play, 74-yard drive that consumed 6:14 to take a 7-3 lead, and Novak kicked a 31-yard field goal to end a drive that went 79 yards on 17 plays in 7:58. The Chargers had a drive later in the game of 15 plays, 74 yards and 9:13.
BALANCE: Allen caught nine passes for 107 yards, giving him consecutive 100-yard games. Ryan Mathews ran for 102 yards on 22 carries for his first 100-yard game of the season. "That's the way we need to be able to run the football," Rivers said. "If we can mix the run in, we got a chance."
THE DROPS: The Colts had big dropped passes all night. The biggest was when Darrius Heyward-Bey dropped what likely would have been a long touchdown pass down the right sideline in the second quarter. As Luck drove the Colts down the field in the closing minute of the second quarter, tight end Coby Fleener dropped a pass at the 25. The Colts had to settle for Vinatieri's 50-yard field goal as the clock expired.
WAYNE'S WORLD: Colts receiver Reggie Wayne got his 1,000th career reception in the fourth quarter on a 21-yard pass from Luck. Wayne had five catches for 88 yards, giving him 1,001 for his career. He passed Hines Ward (1,000) for eighth place on the NFL list. "It's a great honor," Wayne said. "It's a humbling experience to be in an elite class with a bunch of guys who have helped pave the way for guys like myself. I wish it was more of a greater celebration. I would rather take the 'W' than any accolades."
THE PAGANOS: There were family ties in this one: Chargers defensive coordinator John Pagano beat older brother Chuck, the Colts' coach. "Give John Pagano the credit he deserves," Chargers coach Mike McCoy said. "He did an outstanding job of getting these players ready. It's him and the rest of the whole defensive staff."
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