Chargers-Eagles: What we learned

Kevin Noonan, The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange

PHILADELPHIA -- In less than a week, the San Diego Chargers went from a crushing loss to an exhilarating win and both times it happened the same way -- on a last-second field goal.
Actually, there were seven seconds left when Nick Novack kicked a 46-yard field goal to lift the Chargers to a 33-30 victory over the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday at Lincoln Financial Field. That comes just six days after San Diego dropped its opener 31-28 when Houston's Randy Bullock kicked a 41-yarder as time expired.
"Coming off a short week, on the road, against a good team, we knew this was going to be a real test for us,'' Mike McCoy said after his first victory as Chargers coach. "Like I told the team, this is what happens when you continue to fight hard for 60 minutes.''
If the game lasted 62 minutes it might have had a different outcome as both offenses marched up and down the field -- the Chargers rolled up 539 yards of total offense and the Eagles had 511.
"It was definitely one of those games where you got the feeling that the team that had the ball last was going to win,'' said Chargers wide receiver Eddie Royal, who caught three touchdown passes from quarterback Philip Rivers and now has five TD catches in two games.
The Eagles (1-1) had tied the game on Alex Henery's 32-yard field goal with 1:51 left before Rivers led the Chargers to Novack's game-winner, his fourth field goal of the game. Royal scored his third touchdown of the game with 3:11 left to give San Diego a 30-27 lead on a 15-yard screen pass that came right after the Eagles had taken their first lead of the game on a 2-yard run by quarterback Michael Vick.
Rivers completed 36-of-47 passes for 419 yards and the three TD passes to Royal, as the Chargers (1-1) made up for last week's collapse against Houston when they blew a 20-point lead in the second half. Rivers' passer rating for Sunday's game was 124.3.
Vick completed 24 of 37 passes for 428 yards and two touchdowns, good for a passer rating of 122.4. He also ran for a 2-yard TD.
"They kept us off the field and out of rhythm in the first half,'' Vick said. "In the second half, we were able to get in a rhythm and score 20 points, but it wasn't enough."

What the Chargers said
"We felt like we got into a good rhythm and we felt like their defense was a little bit on the ropes. ... It was a gutty win, one like I can't remember us having in a while.'' -- quarterback Philip Rivers.
"We came out and were able to fight and scratch and claw for the win, and we've been on the other end of losses like this. We have had a mental block to finish games sometimes, but today we did not allow that to happen.'' -- safety Eric Weddle.

What the Eagles said
"You have to tip your hat to those guys. Philip Rivers is a tremendous quarterback who has proved that year in and year out. It seemed like they were on to every play and check that we made.'' -- cornerback Cary Williams.
"He's definitely a shifty guy who can make plays and make guys miss. I think we missed a couple of tackles on him. We just can't have that stuff. I feel like, as a defense, we let that game slip away.'' -- linebacker DeMeco Ryans on Chargers WR Eddie Royal, who scored three TDs.

What we learned Sunday at Lincoln Financial Field
1. The Chargers can come back and win games in the final second instead of lose them like they did last week vs. Houston. San Diego controlled the tempo most of the game, but the Chargers were especially impressive late in the game when they had to score a touchdown and a field goal and they did.
2. The Eagles offense will score a lot of points this season, but their defense might give up even more. That defense played well in the first half last week against Washington, but they fell apart in the second half and played poorly most of the game vs. the Chargers.
3. Sometimes it's better to be lucky than good. Eagles WR DeSean Jackson got behind the Chargers defense four times, but he and QB Michael Vick failed to connect on three of them -- one led Jackson out of bounds, one was overthrown and another probably should have been caught by Jackson. The fourth produced a 62-yard touchdown. And another Vick-to-Jackson touchdown pass of 37 yards was nullified by a penalty.
4. Chargers WR Eddie Royal is headed toward one of his best seasons. He's on pace to finish with 112 receptions for 912 yards and 40 touchdowns -- he has five TDs in two games and that already matches his career high set in 2008 when he played for Denver.

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