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Rivers leads Chargers past Giants

The SportsXchange

SAN DIEGO -- For Chargers fans, it doesn't get much better: watching their team wallop the Giants, 37-14, and the opportunity to boo their quarterback, Eli Manning.

"After 10 years, you think they would let up," Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers. "I just hope that they are glad that I'm here."

That is seldom a question, especially as Rivers continued his Pro Bowl-caliber play. Rivers threw for three touchdowns and the Chargers' running game added another as the team's playoff hopes remain alive after winning for the second time in six outings.

"We played our most complete game yet," said Rivers, who came to San Diego in exchange for Manning in a 2004 draft-day trade after the Chargers drafted Manning first overall.

The Giants (5-8) pumped the brakes on their streak to relevancy. They had nearly erased their 0-6 start by winning five of their last six games. But the debacle in San Diego ended any chance for the postseason as turnovers and lackluster play derailed the Giants.

"I think we got on top of these guys pretty early and we put them out of their misery," said Chargers wide receiver Keenan Allen, who had two touchdown receptions. "They didn't really want to play anymore."

Billed as a showdown between quarterbacks Rivers and Manning, Sunday's game at Qualcomm Stadium was all about staying in the postseason picture.

The Chargers remain in the discussion for the second wild-card spot in the AFC after winning for just the second time in their last six games. They are tied with the Jets at 6-7, one game behind the Baltimore Ravens and Miami Dolphins for the No. 6 seed in the AFC playoffs.

The Giants are toast, relegated to playing out the string in their three remaining games. And according to Giants coach Tom Coughlin, it wasn't the jeers directed at Manning that discombobulated his squad.

"I don't think so at all," Coughlin said. "I think their team affected us."

The Chargers streaked to a 24-0 halftime lead as the Giants committed one mistake after another.

"We didn't play together," said Giants defensive end Justin Tuck, who had two sacks. "We had spots where we played decently but then there were some spots where they made some huge plays on third downs in the game. We can't expect to continue to start as slow as we did today and last week and come back from that, especially against good football teams like the one we played today."

Allen continued his stellar rookie season with two more scoring catches, running backs Danny Woodhead and Ryan Mathews added scores, the defense forced three turnovers and the Chargers, according to Rivers, "played their most complete game yet."

Rivers beat Manning for the second time in their careers, getting the best of him by completing 21 of 28 passes for 249 yards and three touchdowns with a lost fumble.

Manning was 20 of 32 for 259 yards, with one touchdown and two interceptions in losing at San Diego for the second time -- once to ex-Chargers quarterback Drew Brees.

"Obviously I've played here twice and haven't had success in either turn so I don't know if I'll get another opportunity or not," Manning said.

The Giants threatened to climb back into the game when Tuck forced a Rivers fumble deep in Chargers territory on the second half's first possession. Running back Peyton Hillis scored on a 1-yard run, slicing the Chargers' advantage to 24-7.

But Mathews' scoring run from the 1 -- he also rushed for 103 yards -- pushed the Chargers back ahead by 24 with 5:06 left in the third quarter.

The Chargers scored first in the opening quarter, converting Manning's 19th interception into seven points as cornerback Shareece Wright deflected a pass to linebacker Donald Butler. He returned it 30 yards, and three plays later, Allen beat cornerback Terrell Thomas for a 43-yard touchdown.

In the second quarter, Rivers found Allen again, this time from four yards for a 17-0 lead.

Two minutes before halftime, the Chargers were awarded an Andre Brown fumble after a review. The Chargers cashed that miscue into a touchdown with 19 seconds remaining, as Rivers connected with Woodhead from six yards for a 24-0 cushion.

The rout was on, as were the chorus of boos directed toward Manning as he lost to Rivers again.

"I think that's more for y'all and the fans I guess," Rivers said, on feeling any extra satisfaction in beating Manning. "I felt like I was competing and we were competing against the Giants defense. I know that's a sidebar story, but I've never felt like it's me versus him."

NOTES: Chargers DE Melvin Ingram was activated from the physically unable to perform list for Sunday's game. Ingram injured his knee in May. ... LT King Dunlap returned to the Chargers' lineup after missing two games with a neck injury. The Chargers had their opening day offensive line starting for the first time since Week 3. ... Chargers offensive coach Ken Whisenhunt is among the candidates being mention to replace Gary Kubiak as head coach in Houston. ... Giants DE Jason Pierre-Paul didn't start for the second straight game with a shoulder injury. ... Giants QB Eli Manning is 0-3 against the Chargers.
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