Chargers' Keenan Allen (13) makes a reception against Green Bay
Packers' Sam Shields during the first half of an NFL football
game, Sunday, Oct. 18, 2015, in Green Bay, Wis.
GREEN BAY, Wis. — Rookie
cornerback Damarious Randall had a feeling that Philip Rivers' final
pass might be headed his way.
Fourth-and-goal from the 3 with 15 seconds left, and the San Diego
Chargers needed a touchdown to tie the Green Bay Packers and
possibly force overtime.
Randall had to keep tabs on both Antonio Gates and Danny Woodhead
lined up on the right side of the formation.
The first-round draft pick lunged to poke away Rivers' short throw
to Woodhead near the front right pylon in the final seconds to
preserve the Packers' 27-20 victory on Sunday, overcoming a career
performance by Rivers.
"Biggest play of the game," coach Mike McCarthy said. "Damarious is
off to a great start."
The fans inside Lambeau Field erupted with a collective sigh of
relief. Green Bay (6-0) survived its biggest scare of the season to
Chargers running back Melvin Gordon (28) is tackled by Green Bay
Packers' Micah Hyde, front right, during the first half.
Rivers set franchise marks with career
highs of 43 completions, 65 attempts and 503 yards passing. He threw
for two touchdowns for the Chargers (2-4). His 43 completions were
the most in NFL history in a loss; he needed one more, at least.
But as the fourth-down play developed, Randall remembered that San
Diego ran the same play on second down, but tried to get the ball to
This time, linebacker Clay Matthews covered Gates inside. Woodhead
broke outside, with Randall trailing from behind.
"I was acting like I really wasn't seeing him, but honestly, I was
just trying to bait him a little bit," Randall said.
On his back after being knocked down by linebacker Julius Peppers,
Rivers arched his neck up, then went back down in frustration and
flailed his arms.
Another Chargers loss occurred in the final seconds. San Diego lost
to Pittsburgh on the last play on Monday night.
"Brutal loss, obviously, losing the way we did," coach Mike McCoy
Packers' Damarious Randall (23) celebrates after breaking up a
pass intended for San Diego Chargers' Danny Woodhead on the
The ending overshadowed Rivers'
The 12-year veteran tied Pittsburgh's Ben Roethlisberger (2009) for
second on the list for most yards passing against the Packers. Only
Detroit's Matthew Stafford had more, 520 on Jan. 1, 2012.
Rivers walked to the microphone at his postgame news conference and
"Gosh, I don't know. I just made a comment, 'Hey, you've got to
laugh to keep from crying,'" Rivers said. "Another one, another one
It was the most porous outing of the season for the Packers'
But the stout pass rush finally caught up to Rivers in the second
half. Datone Jones sacked Rivers on third-and-7 from the Packers 40
to end one drive.
Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers (12) reacts after James Starks
ran 65-yards for a touchdown during the first half.
Until then, a Chargers line missing
three starters held up well, with Rivers orchestrating a
quick-strike offense and finding holes in the secondary.
"We just didn't win the one-on-one matchups today," safety Micah
Hyde said. "Thank God for our red zone defense."
The Packers started strong and finished barely in front. Running
back James Starks had touchdowns on a 65-yard run and a 5-yard pass
in the first quarter.
Green Bay went up for good after quarterback Aaron Rodgers found
James Jones for an 8-yard pass in the corner of the end zone for a
24-17 lead with 40 seconds left in the third quarter.
The defense allowed Josh Lambo's 32-yard field goal with 11:14 left.
But the Packers came up with their most important stop at the end.
The battered Packers offense did just enough.
"We don't need to win pretty every week. We'd like to," Rodgers
He was 16 of 29 for 255 yards. At one point, Rodgers had as many
completions as Keenan Allen had receptions midway through the fourth
"We should have scored 40, we should have. And that's what's
frustrating, because our defense played their tail off," Rivers
But a hip injury kept Allen sidelined for much of the second half.
He wound up with 14 receptions for 157 yards.
Rookie running back Melvin Gordon was benched in the second half
after two fumbles. He finished with seven carries for 29 yards in a
disappointing return to the state where he set records in college
with the Wisconsin Badgers.
NOTES: Starks finished with 112 yards rushing on 10 carries.
He started for Eddie Lacy, who had 3 yards on four attempts. Lacy,
who sprained his right ankle earlier this season, played with his
right foot heavily taped. ... S Eric Weddle left in the second half
with an unspecified injury.