SAN DIEGO (AP) — This is why the San Diego Chargers gave Philip Rivers an $84 million contract extension during training camp.
Rivers rallied San Diego to 30 straight points, including throwing a go-ahead, 13-yard touchdown pass to tight end Ladarius Green early in the fourth quarter, and the Chargers stunned the Detroit Lions 33-28 in what could be their final home opener at Qualcomm Stadium.
Rivers overcame two interceptions, including a 31-yard return for a touchdown by Glover Quin, to complete 35 of 42 passes for 404 yards and two scores.
Green was subbing for Antonio Gates, who’s suspended without pay for four games for testing positive for PEDs. Keenan Allen had 15 catches — tying the club record set by Hall of Famer Kellen Winslow in 1984 — for 166 yards.
The Chargers trailed 21-3 after Matthew Stafford threw an 18-yard touchdown pass to Eric Ebron midway through the second quarter. Rivers was picked off by Darius Slay in the end zone just before halftime to keep the score at 21-10.
But the second half was all San Diego. Rivers threw a 12-yard touchdown pass to Stevie Johnson and rookie Josh Lambo kicked a 25-yard field goal to close to one point. The go-ahead TD pass to Green came with 11:49 to play.
The Chargers’ future in San Diego is uncertain, with ownership looking to move to Los Angeles.
This one was in doubt, too, until Rivers took charge.
The Lions dominated the first half.
Rookie Ameer Abdullah scored easily on his second run, a 24-yarder. Quin’s interception return on a poor decision by Rivers and Ebron’s touchdown catch made it look as if it was going to be a blowout.
Chargers rookie Melvin Gordon appeared to score on a powerful 21-yard run with a great second effort, but it was ruled that he was down by contact.
San Diego started its comeback when Danny Woodhead scored on a 9-yard run late in the second quarter. The Chargers looked to close the gap more, but Rivers was picked off in the end zone just before halftime.
Chargers rookie Kyle Emanuel, a fifth-round draft pick, had a sack and an interception.
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