The Chargers won their first playoff game since 2008 with the help of Philip Rivers. Rivers completed 12 of 16 passes, one touchdown, but more importantly (and keep reading to find out why) threw zero interceptions.
A key moment in the game came when the Bengals were driving deep into San Diego territory and the Bengals were up 10-7 in the second quarter. Chargers’ defensive back Richard Marshall had just been burned for a long completion by Marvin Jones when, on the next play, linebacker Donald Butler stripped the ball from rookie running back Giovani Bernard. Marshall redeemed himself by recovering the fumble.
It was a close game in the first half and then bad Andy Dalton showed up in the second (this is why). He was responsible for turning over the ball on three consecutive drives in the second half. Early in the third quarter Dalton dove for extra yards and fumbled the ball untouched. He was then intercepted by Shareece Wright and Melvin Ingram on the two ensuing drives when the Bengals were trying to make their comeback.
Despite the three turnovers, the Bengals still had a chance to get back into the game only being down ten with eight minutes left. Dalton and the Bengals would then go on a drive that included running the worlds slowest no huddle offense. The drive ended when the Bengals inexplicably decided to throw long when they only needed three to convert the fourth down.
Running back Ronnie Brown scored a late touchdown on a lifeless defense to put the game on ice.
The Bengals have lost in the wildcard round three years in a row and still have not won a playoff game since the 80’s. Look for the Bengals to draft or sign a quarterback as competition for Dalton.
The Chargers’ last playoff win was against Peyton Manning and the Indianapolis Colts. To advance to the AFC Championship game, they will have to once again beat Manning now with the Denver Broncos. This game will serve as the rubber-match for the two AFC West rivals that split both games in the regular season.