NFL Game Summary - San Diego at Dallas
(Sunday, December 13th)
Final Score: San Diego 20, Dallas 17
Arlington, TX (Sports Network) - Philip Rivers improved to a perfect 16-0 in
December games with 272 passing yards and a touchdown, and the San Diego
Chargers continued Dallas' December woes with a 20-17 win at Cowboys Stadium.
Rivers completed 21-of-32 passes and was intercepted once for the Chargers
(10-3), who have won eight straight games to take a commanding two-game lead
over the Broncos in the AFC West with three games to play. LaDainian Tomlinson
added 50 yards and a score on 21 carries, giving him at least 10 touchdowns in
all nine of his NFL seasons, a league record.
Vincent Jackson contributed with seven catches for 120 yards, while Antonio
Gates had a receiving touchdown. Nate Kaeding extended his streak of made
sub-40-yard field goals to 65 with two on Sunday.
The 16-game December win streak by the Chargers is the longest in league
history. Their last December loss came in Drew Brees' final game as the San
Diego starter in 2005.
Tony Romo fell to 5-10 in December for his career after throwing for 249 yards
and two scores on 19-of-30 efficiency for the Cowboys (8-5), who lost for the
fifth time in their last six December games. Felix Jones led the rushing
attack with 51 yards on 10 carries, while Marion Barber had 47 yards on the
ground on 14 carries.
Miles Austin had a touchdown reception, and Roy Williams had four catches for
74 yards in defeat. The Cowboys are now a game behind the Eagles for first
place in the NFC East. Philadelphia beat the New York Giants, 45-38, later
The Cowboys also lost DeMarcus Ware, who sprained his neck in the fourth
quarter. Ware slammed his helmet into a Chargers offensive lineman on a pass
rush and was put onto a stretcher and carted off the field. He was taken to a
local hospital for X-rays and further evaluation, but his future status is
With the score 10-3 in favor of San Diego in the third, Mike Scifres pinned
the Cowboys down at their own one-yard line on a punt, but Romo led the team
all the way down the field for the game-tying touchdown.
With a little over seven minutes left in the third, the Cowboys never faced a
third down. Barber ran for 10 yards on the first play to get them away from
the end zone, and a 21-yard completion to Austin brought Dallas to the San
Two plays later, Romo hit a wide open Williams for a 25-yard gain to the
eight, and Barber took it to the one on the following play. After a false
start, Romo found Austin all alone in the end zone for a six-yard touchdown
and a 10-10 game as the quarter ended.
The Chargers, though, responded by going back in front on the ensuing
possession. Facing a 3rd-and-12 from his own 47, Rivers found Jackson down the
right sideline for a 39-yard gain and a first down. On the next play, Rivers
hit Gates near the left pylon for a 14-yard touchdown and a 17-10 lead with
10:56 to play.
Dallas followed with a meager three-and-out on its next series, and San Diego
took over at its own 11 with a little over nine minutes remaining. The
Chargers proceeded to drain 7:13 off the clock and add a Kaeding 34-yard field
goal on a 15-play series, making it 20-10 with just 1:56 to play.
"Those are the kind of drives that you need late in the year," Rivers said.
"Those are playoff-winning drives. Defense holds them, up seven, you drive and
get a field goal with two minutes left. That's how you win games on the road,
and it took all of us to get that done."
The Cowboys went down the field quickly on their next drive, as Romo threw a
nine-yard touchdown pass to Patrick Crayton to complete a nine-play, 86-yard
drive; however, the score came with only two seconds left, and Gates recovered
the onside kick to seal the win for San Diego.
Dallas drove right down the field on the game's opening drive but had to
settle for Nick Folk's 31-yard field goal. This marked the 17th straight
opening drive where the Cowboys have failed to find the end zone, the longest
active streak in the NFL.
The Chargers responded by doing what Dallas couldn't, driving 84 yards in
seven plays for a touchdown. Tomlinson capped the series with a one-yard
score, which gives him 136 this decade -- tying him for most ever in a decade
with Cowboys great Emmitt Smith, who accomplished the feat from 1990-99.
After Dallas went three-and-out on its next drive, the Chargers extended their
lead to 10-3 early in the second quarter on Kaeding's 29-yard field goal.
The Cowboys then appeared as though they were going to tie the game, gaining a
1st-and-goal from the four after the three-headed attack of Jones, Barber and
Tashard Choice gained all 69 yards of the series on the ground up to that
San Diego, though, held Barber to a three-yard rush on first down, then
stopped him three straight times for no gain to regain possession without
allowing any points.
"I like the call; probably most of (the fans) did, too, being inside the one,"
Romo said. "Especially with the guys we have up front and the (running) backs.
For whatever reason, we didn't get it done. No excuses, the team didn't get it
On the ensuing possession, Rivers threw his first interception since Week 9,
giving Dallas good field position, but Folk pushed a 42-yard field goal
attempt to the left to keep it a seven-point game, which was the margin at
"You could feel the playoff type game that it was, what it meant for both
teams," Rivers said. "(I) can't say enough about our defense and special
teams, they were unreal. The goal-line stand, I throw the silly interception,
and then the stop and the missed field goal -- that was two huge stops."
Rivers' touchdown pass to Gates was the 100th of his career...San Diego
improved to 6-1 on the road this season...The Cowboys went just 1-for-8 on
third down conversions, while the Chargers went 5-for-12...Gates finished with
44 yards, giving him 1,038 on the season...Romo was put on holding duty for
field goals for the first time since mishandling the ball in a 2007 playoff
game against Seattle. He was the holder when Folk missed the 42-yard attempt
in the second quarter.
12/14 00:45:59 ET
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