On 2nd and Goal with 34 seconds to go in the first half, Rivers hands the ball to Ryan Mathews. Mathews tries to go up and over the line and in doing so, he fumbles the ball and Arizona recovers. A familiar story, right?
Enter Antonio Gates to save the day.
Rashad Johnson, the Cardinals' Strong Safety recovered the ball and tried to return it. As he was being tackled, he lateraled it OLB Sam Acho. As Acho was trying to secure the ball, Gates came up and punched the ball out. It was recovered by John Phillips and he ran it in for the Touchdown. Perfectly designed play by Ken Whisenhunt.
End–of–the–half theatrics aside, here's what you need to know: the Chargers Defense has been dominating, and the Chargers Offense managed to put together two solid scoring drives when they marched 92 and 77 yards downfield to score in the first and second quarters. Heck, even the Chargers Special Teams have looked good, blocking a field goal attempt.
Rivers has looked better before. 10-for-18 with no touchdowns and an interception doesn't exactly instill confidence. And just when it looked like Rivers and newly-acquired WR Seyi Ajirotutu were finding their rhythm, Ajirotutu goes down with an injury.
Here's hoping the Chargers starters can come out of this game relatively unscathed and we have reason for hope going into the regular season.