SAN DIEGO — Philip Rivers and the San Diego Chargers slowly put to rest all that talk about Andrew Luck and the Indianapolis Colts’ offense.
It was hard for Luck to pull off another comeback, or even get into the end zone, while standing on the sideline.
Rivers threw a 22-yard touchdown pass to rookie Keenan Allen and Nick Novak kicked four field goals to give the Chargers a 19-9 victory against the Colts on Monday night.
“I wasn’t sure who the Colts were playing this week with all the ads I saw,” Rivers said, noting all the pregame buzz surrounded Indy (4-2), not the Bolts (3-3).
Rivers expertly guided a balanced offense on three scoring drives of at least 74 yards while rebounding from a three-interception night in a loss at Oakland.
That, and a lot of dropped passes by Colts receivers, kept Indianapolis (4-2) from taking a two-game lead over Tennessee in the AFC South. The Colts didn’t even score a touchdown. All their points came on three field goals by Adam Vinatieri.
A week earlier, Luck helped rally the Colts to a 34-28 victory against Seattle.
“We knew if we didn’t turn the ball over and we sustained drives, which we did — we had some 12, 14, 16-play drives — that we’d give ourselves a chance to win,” Rivers said. “We didn’t go into the game saying, ‘Let’s play ball control,’ Rivers added. “We wanted to score as many points as we could. We didn’t score that many, but we did sustain drives.”
Luck had no real chance against the Bolts because of two long drives in the second quarter that helped contribute to the Chargers dominating the time of possession: 38:31 to 21:29.
Allen got behind safety Delano Howell and cornerback Vontae Davis on a post route for the TD, completing a 12-play, 74-yard march that took 6:14 and gave San Diego a 7-3 lead.
Novak’s first FG capped a drive that went 79 yards in 17 plays in 7:58, kept alive by an illegal contact penalty on Colts CB Greg Toler.
Luck completed four straight passes to move the Colts into Chargers territory before Coby Fleener dropped a pass at the 25. Two plays later, Vinatieri kicked a 50-yard FG as time expired.
On the Colts’ only other possession of the second quarter, Darrius Heyward-Bey dropped what could have been a long TD pass down the right sideline.
“We stunk on third down today,” Luck said.
Rivers was 22 of 33 for 237 yards; Luck 18 of 30 for 202.
Indy’s Reggie Wayne got his 1,000th career reception in the fourth quarter on a 21-yard pass from Luck. He had five catches for 88 yards, giving him 1,001 for his career to pass Hines Ward (1,000) for eighth place on the NFL list.
Derek Cox snuffed out Indy’s final chance when he intercepted a pass tipped by Wayne with 1:07 to play.