On the first drive of the game, the Chargers drove the length of the field with a balanced passing and rushing attack. Philip Rivers capped off the drive with six points from a lengthy catch and run touchdown to Dontrelle Inman.
Casey Hayward stopped the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ first drive when he stepped in front of a Jameis Winston pass intended for Mike Evans. Melvin Gordon and the offensive line did most of the heavy lifting in getting the offense in field goal range. Eventually, though, a sack on 3rd down led to a field goal attempt by Josh Lambo. He missed incredibly badly.
After getting the ball back on a shortened field, the Bucs offense looked unstoppable. Doug Martin eventually plowed into the end zone after it looked like he would be stopped for no gain.
With the game tied, Philip Rivers and co. took back over looking to take back the lead. After getting inside the five, the Chargers actually leaned on the running game and Melvin Gordon punched the ball in from the 2-yard line to go back ahead by 7.
The Chargers defense then managed to hold firm as they limited the Bucs offense to a quick three-and-out followed by a punt without a return. The Chargers offense, though, then returned the favor by also going three-and-out. They managed to do it while also completing an 18-yard catch and run, however.
The Bucs then went on a very long drive, both in terms of yards and time elapsed. They got to the Chargers 30 just inside the 2-minute warning and then Joey Bosa showed up in a big way. He sacked Winston for a 12-yard loss and time ran under 1 minute. A draw play got most of the yardage back and set up a field goal attempt. Roberto Aguayo promptly pushed it wide right. Now, that’s a great second-round pick.
Tampa Bay received the kickoff to start the second half. They methodically drove the length of the field before stalling inside the 10-yard line. Roberto Aguayo came on to attempt a field goal, converted, and then had to attempt again from five yards farther back after a false start.
The Chargers then spent about seven plays moving five yards before punting. The Bucs traded their own three-and-out. And then on the Chargers’ next play, Rivers was intercepted by Lavonte David off a tipped pass. David returned it the short distance needed for a pick-six.
On the next drive, the Chargers seemed more committed to running the ball and Melvin Gordon made that commitment look smart as he ripped off multiple long runs. Then Rivers actually had a clean pocket and Tyrell Williams got way behind Brent Grimes for a long go-ahead touchdown.
As the fourth quarter began, the Chargers held a 21-17 lead. On 3rd & 3, Mike Evans was flagged for offensive pass interference, but the Chargers declined the penalty and Aguayo came on to attempt another field goal. Like the time before, he converted.
The offense took over again, and again went three-and-out. The Bucs then ran four plays and scored a touchdown to Cameron Brate. Up five points, they decided to go for two. Mike Evans converted the attempt to put them up by seven points.
A quick sack surrendered by D.J. Fluker and a short completion to Antonio Gates set up a 3rd & 11. Rivers found Gates again for the 1st down. A short run and an intermediate pass set up a 3rd & 1, and Gordon picked it up with a very impressive run. A few plays later, Rivers threw a duck that was intercepted to seal the game.