The San Diego Chargers provided a glimmer of hope to their slim playoff chances by pounding the Jacksonville Jaguars 38-14 on Monday to end their six-game losing streak.
Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers returned to his Pro Bowl form with 294 yards passing and a trio of touchdown throws that helped San Diego (5-7) snap out of their funk and move two games off the lead in the AFC West with four to play.
“There’s four [games] to go, we’ve been here before and we believe we can do it,” Rivers told reporters after he reversed his recent play and avoided adding to his league-leading interception total this season.
“We’re going to do our part and see if it’s enough,” he said.
Rivers found Vincent Brown on a 22-yard strike that gave San Diego a 17-14 lead with 1 minute, 33 seconds left in the first half, then capitalized on a Jacksonville turnover to find Vincent Jackson with a 35-yard touchdown pass just before halftime.
He kept his passing touch going at the start of the second half to land a 52-yard bomb to Malcom Floyd for another touchdown as the Chargers soared ahead 31-14, before Ryan Mathews ran in a late score in the fourth quarter.
Mathews ran for 112 yards and fellow running back Mike Tolbert also added a rushing score in the first.
It was a third consecutive loss for the Jaguars (3-9) and first under coach Mel Tucker, who took over after Jack Del Rio was fired last week.
Despite falling behind 10-0 in the first quarter, rookie quarterback Blaine Gabbert led two scoring drives to put Jacksonville on top 14-10 with just under three minutes left in the second, but after the Chargers regained the lead on a quick drive, Gabbert threw a costly interception that allowed the visitors to add another score before halftime and seize control for good.
Maurice Jones-Drew led the Jacksonville Jaguars with 97 yards rushing and 91 yards receiving, including a touchdown.