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Rivers, Jackson rally Chargers past Seahawks 20-17

Discussion in 'Latest Chargers News & Headlines' started by robdog, Dec 24, 2006.

  1. robdog

    robdog Code Monkey Staff Member Administrator

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    Source: <a target="_blank" href="http://sports.yahoo.com/nfl/recap;_ylt=AlrShHhApPSXWr4R4J_A6dg5nYcB?gid=20061224026">Associated Press</a>

    <img width="319" height="218" alt="San Diego Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers reacts after throwing a 37-yard touchdown pass to receiver Vincent Jackson with 29 seconds remaining in the game against the Seattle Seahawks during the fourth quarter NFL football game action at Qwest Field in Seattle on Sunday, Dec. 24, 2006. (AP Photo/Kevin P. Casey)" title="San Diego Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers reacts after throwing a 37-yard touchdown pass to receiver Vincent Jackson with 29 seconds remaining in the game against the Seattle Seahawks during the fourth quarter NFL football game action at Qwest Field in Seattle on Sunday, Dec. 24, 2006. (AP Photo/Kevin P. Casey)" src="http://espn-i.starwave.com/media/apphoto/SEA11612250112.jpg" />

    By Gregg Bell

    SEATTLE (AP) -- The San Diego Chargers stole Seattle's win, but left the stunned Seahawks with the NFC West title.

    Philip Rivers, who missed on 22 of his first 28 passes, found Vincent Jackson alone in the end zone for a 37-yard touchdown pass with 29 seconds left to send the Chargers to their ninth straight win, 20-17 win over Seattle on Sunday.

    But the Seahawks' sting was somewhat soothed by Arizona's upset at San Francisco minutes earlier. That meant Seattle (8-7) clinched its third consecutive NFC West title despite its third straight loss.

    San Diego (13-2), the AFC West champion, knew it could not clinch the top seed in the conference because Baltimore (12-3) won earlier Sunday at Pittsburgh. The Chargers will need to beat the Cardinals at home next week to ensure homefield advantage throughout the postseason.

    The Chargers clinched a first-round bye earlier Sunday, when the Indianapolis Colts lost to the Houston Texans.

    Shaun Alexander ran for 140 yards and both Seattle touchdowns to rally the Seahawks from a 10-0 deficit in the second half. His spinning, 9-yard score put the Seahawks up 14-13 with 13 minutes left. A Josh Brown field goal with 5 minutes to go upped that lead.

    But then Rivers, who struggled again following an 8-for-23, two-interception game last week, got going. He completed two throws for 24 yards before Jackson caught safety Michael Boulware cheating up on a deep pass route. Jackson easily slipped behind Boulware for his second touchdown catch of the game.

    Seahawks coach Mike Holmgren chose to look past the stunning finish and the two bad division losses that preceded it.

    "This doesn't have to be a morgue," Holmgren said. "To be honest with you, I am more on the upbeat side than the downbeat side. That's a good football team, the Chargers. ... There were a lot of good things that happened today. I'll take it."

    San Diego set a franchise record for victories in a season despite a relatively modest day from LaDainian Tomlinson, the favorite to win the league's MVP award. Tomlinson had 123 yards on 22 carries, his ninth consecutive 100-yard game. But more than half of those came on one play, a 62-yard romp in the first half. The long run set up a 9-yard reception by Jackson for San Diego's first score.

    Rivers missed on his first nine passes and finished 10-for-30 overall for 181 yards.

    After allowing five sacks, dropping three passes and committing a penalty that nullified a touchdown on a kickoff return, the Seahawks finally scored nine minutes into the third quarter. Alexander ran inside a Walter Jones block of fellow Pro Bowler Shawne Merriman for a 33-yard touchdown to pull Seattle within 10-7.

    The Seahawks took their first lead, 14-13, with 13 minutes left. Alexander spun out of Derrick Robinson's grasp at the 7 and then bulled through Drayton Florence and a facemask by Terrence Kiel at the goal line for a 9-yard score.

    Earlier, the Seahawks' renowned "12th Man" crowd booed their team's offense. Matt Hasselbeck threw two interceptions in the first half, including an overthrow of wide-open Bobby Engram that Clinton Hart intercepted at the Chargers 6 with 1:02 left before halftime.

    Hasselbeck was 17-for-37 for 189 yards. He has thrown 15 interceptions, after throwing nine last season.

    Former Super Bowl MVP Deion Branch dropped four passes amid a steady rain. Engram also bobbled a low throw.

    NOTES

    Merriman had three sacks, and Jacques Cesaire added two for the Chargers. Merriman has 15 1/2 sacks this season, tied with Aaron Kampman of Green Bay for the NFL lead, despite missing four games because of a league suspension for flunking a steroids test. ... Jackson's score in the second quarter helped the Chargers to avoid their first scoreless opening half in 14 months.
     

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