Packers: Goal-Line Stand Saves Day Against Red-Hot Philip Rivers


How good was Philip Rivers of the San Diego Chargers at Lambeau Field on Sunday? He became just the third quarterback since 1960 to throw for at least 500 yards against the Green Bay Packers, for starters.

But the Packers stood tall when they had to, making a game-saving goal-line stand in the final minute of the game to survive with a 27-20 win over the Chargers, who came in off a last-second loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers on Monday night.

With 20 seconds left and the Chargers facing a fourth-and-3, rookie Damarious Randall tipped the ball away from San Diego running back Danny Woodhead in the right flat to preserve the victory and leave the Chargers three yards short of a game-tying, 80-yard drive in the final 2:37 of regulation.

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Rivers looked for his first read, tight end Antonio Gates, before going to Woodhead, a move that allowed Randall time to make the play.

“We were in Cover 2,” Randall told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. “I think he pump-faked because he didn’t see the first read (Gates) open. After (Woodhead) ran by me, I really didn’t see him at first. I was looking at the quarterback.”

Even though the Packer defense was shredded for 548 total yards, they held the Chargers to two touchdowns and two field goals in six red zone possessions.

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“We should have scored 40,” Rivers said. “It was a tough loss against a good team, against a team that will be playing well into January.”

The Chargers didn’t run much at all, gaining 60 yards on 21 attempts. But Rivers was 43-for-65 for 503 yards and two touchdowns.

According to, Rivers is just the third quarterback since 1960 to throw for 500 yards against the Packers, joining Ben Roethlisberger of the Pittsburgh Steelers (503 yards on Dec. 20, 2009) and Matthew Stafford of the Detroit Lions (520 yards on Jan. 1, 2012).

The Packers did sack Rivers three times, leaving San Diego with 488 net passing yards, the second most the team has allowed since 1940, per Pro-Football-Reference. Detroit’s 502 net passing yards in the New Year’s Day game in 2012 is the most allowed in that span.

It was the ninth time a team has racked up at last 548 total yards against Green Bay since 1940, the first since the Lions put up 561 on Nov. 28, 2013.

The most yards the Pack has allowed since 1940 was 611 in a loss to the Los Angeles Rams on Dec. 16, 1956.

Green Bay (6-0) seized control of the game with two first-quarter touchdown drives. James Starks scored the first of his two touchdowns on the game’s second possession, scoring on a 5-yard pass from Aaron Rodgers to cap an eight-play, 87-yard march.

Starks opened the drive with a 25-yard run and Rodgers hit James Jones for 22 yards on a short pass and run that got the Packers from their own 13 into San Diego territory in just two plays.

After San Diego got a 36-yard field goal from Josh Lambo, the Packers went to work again, with Starks bursting 65 yards, bouncing off a defender at the line of scrimmage before spinning to the right and streaking untouched the rest of the way.

Mason Crosby’s 23-yard field goal capped another long Green Bay drive midway through the second quarter to put the Packers up 17-3, but Dontrelle Inman caught a 1-yard pass from Rivers as time expired in the first half to cut the lead to 17-10.

A 19-yard touchdown from Rivers to Ladarius Green tied the game with 9:24 left in the third quarter, but the Packers took the lead back in the final minute of the period on an 8-yard pass from Rodgers to James Jones.

Lambo’s 32-yard field goal with 11:10 remaining made it 24-20 and Crosby pushed the lead back to seven with a 28-yard boot with 2:37 to go.

Rivers joined an exclusive club, becoming the first quarterback in NFL history to throw for at least 500 yards with no interceptions in a game his team lost. He is the eighth quarterback with 500 yards in a loss.

Kenosha native Melvin Gordon, who set a plethora of rushing records at Wisconsin last season, was held to 29 yards on seven carries.

Rodgers was 16-for-29 for 255 yards and two scores and was sacked three times, while Starks finished with 112 yards on 10 attempts.

Oct 18, 2015; Green Bay, WI, USA; Green Bay Packers running back James Starks (44) rushes for a touchdown in front of quarterback Aaron Rodgers (12) during the first quarter against the San Diego Chargers at Lambeau Field. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

Eddie Lacy, meanwhile, had only three yards on four carries.

“We went with James first, frankly, because he’s been playing extremely well and Eddie’s been a little banged up,” coach Mike McCarthy told The Associated Press.

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  • Jeff Janis had two receptions for 79 yards—his first two catches of the season—as Rodgers completed 16 passes to nine different receivers. No one had more than two grabs.

    Keenan Allen had 14 catches for 157 yards for San Diego, while Malcom Floyd and Gates each had 95 receiving yards—Floyd on five receptions and Gates with nine.

    Nate Palmer had 11 tackles for the Packers and Micah Hyde added 10. Datone Jones and Julius Peppers recorded sacks while Mike Neal and Mike Daniels split a third.

    Jared Abbrederis got his first NFL touch, returning a kickoff 30 yards.

    The Packers go to their bye week before returning Nov. 1, when they visit the Denver Broncos (6-0), who will also be coming off a bye after surviving Sunday with a 26-23 win over the Cleveland Browns on the road.

    Next: Best Of The Packers: Top 10 Wide Receivers Since 1960

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