Chargers beat playoff-bound Ravens

Updated: 2011-12-20 08:06

(China Daily)

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Philip Rivers and the San Diego Chargers looked playoff-ready, even if their postseason hopes remain slim.

Joe Flacco and the Baltimore Ravens earned a playoff berth before kickoff, then looked anything but the dominating, well-balanced team they had been.

Rivers threw for one score and reached the 4,000-yard mark for the fourth straight season, Ryan Mathews ran for two scores and hit 1,000 yards rushing, and the Chargers beat the Ravens 34-14 on Sunday night.

The Chargers (7-7) won their third straight following a six-game losing streak and are tied with Oakland for second in the AFC West, a game behind Denver with two to play. Denver and Oakland both lost on Sunday. The Chargers finish with road games against Detroit and the Raiders.

The Ravens (10-4) had their four-game winning streak snapped, but clinched a playoff berth earlier in the day thanks to losses by the New York Jets, Oakland and Tennessee.

Even though Ray Lewis was back with the Ravens after a four-game injury layoff, the Ravens only had two punishing hits on Rivers. He dominated, completing 17 of 23 passes for 270 yards to lead the Chargers to scores on six of their first seven possessions. He didn't throw an interception and the only sack the Ravens got was wiped out on a personal foul against Terrell Suggs.

Rivers joined Peyton Manning (1999-04 and 2006-10) and former teammate Drew Brees (2006-11) as the only QBs in NFL history with at least four-straight 4,000-yard seasons.

Baltimore's Joe Flacco got the treatment many thought Rivers would. Flacco was sacked five times - three by former Ravens linebacker Antwan Barnes - and intercepted twice. Overall, the Chargers had seven sacks and Barnes finished with four.

Mathews scored on runs of 1 and 3 yards.

Associated Press

(China Daily 12/20/2011 page23)