Don’t look now, but the Los Angeles Chargers might just be back in the AFC playoff hunt.
Bills’ Rookie quarterback Nathan Peterman, making his first NFL start, threw five interceptions. The Chargers set a franchise record by scoring 37 points in the first half, en route to 54-24 blowout of the Buffalo Bills Sunday at StubHub Center.
Los Angeles now sits just two games back of the Kansas City Chiefs in the AFC West. My, how the tables have turned.
Despite the offensive explosion, the Chargers defense made headlines of their own. The Bolts D forced six turnovers and scored twice. The first came on a 59-yard interception return for a touchdown by linebacker Korey Toomer on the first drive of the game to give Los Angeles an early 7-0 lead after a Nick Novak extra point.
On the next Bills drive, Peterman was intercepted once again by cornerback Casey Hayward. Unfortunately, the Chargers were unable to capitalize, and Novak missed a 46-yard field goal.
It appeared that the Bolts might be in for a long day when the Bills responded with a 27-yard touchdown rush by running back LeSean McCoy. However, Los Angeles would retake the lead with a 33-yard Novak field goal, making the score 10-7.
The Bolts would not relinquish the lead again.
Safety Tre Boston went on to pick Peterman. Six plays later, quarterback Philip Rivers hit wide receiver Keenan Allen for a 21-yard touchdown, and the Chargers led 17-7. It was the first of what would be a monster game for Allen and the Bolts offense.
Hayward snagged his second interception of the game on the Bills’ next drive, and the Chargers possessed the ball on Buffalo 15-yard line. After three straight rushes from Melvin Gordon, Rivers found Allen for a two-yard touchdown reception. The Chargers were clicking on all cylinders and found themselves leading 24-7.
The Chargers would add two Novak field goals, as well as a 10-yard touchdown rush from Gordon, giving them a 37-7 lead at halftime. In addition to setting a franchise record for points in a half, the Bolts had already eclipsed their single-game point total for 2017…and they still had one whole half of football to play.
In the second half, Peterman was benched in favor of Tyrod Taylor, who had been removed as the starter, earlier in the week. The Chargers’ formidable pass-rushing duo would put an exclamation point on the win when Joey Bosa sacked Taylor. The sack led to a Taylor fumble, which would be scooped up by Melvin Ingram. Ingram took it 39 yards for a touchdown, thanks to Bosa’s 10.5 sack of the season. In the end, the 54-24 score actually makes this game sound closer than it truly was.
Allen finished the game with 12 catches for 159 yards and two touchdowns.
Rivers went 21-of-33 for 250 yards and two touchdowns.
The Chargers’ five interceptions are the most in one half in team history.
The Chargers 54 total points were the most scored by the team in a single game since 1985.
The Chargers will play the Dallas Cowboys at AT&T Stadium on Thanksgiving Day at 1:30 p.m. Pacific.
–Mike D’Abate is the Managing Editor for cover32.com/Chargers and covers the Los Angeles Chargers and New England Patriots. He is also a National Content Writer and covers the NFL for cover32.com.