SAN DIEGO (AP) — Philip Rivers, with a nice bit of defense thrown in, ensured the San Diego Chargers didn't blow another fourth-quarter lead.
Rivers threw for 401 yards and three touchdowns, including a 56-yarder to Antonio Gates that helped the Chargers beat the Dallas Cowboys 30-21 Sunday.
The Chargers (2-2) blew late leads in their two losses. On Sunday, they scored the final 20 points to beat Dallas (2-2).
Running a no-huddle, no-hurry offense under new coach Mike McCoy, Rivers gets to the line of scrimmage with roughly 20 seconds left on the play clock, enough time to read the defense and check into a different play, if necessary. It's a luxury he didn't have in Norv Turner's offense.
"I feel in sync. I have a rhythm and I'm comfortable in the pocket when we get that no-huddle going," Rivers said. "It's big being 2-2 instead of 1-3. I know we've been there before but it's tough to dig yourself out of 1-3, especially when you're playing with young guys and guys you didn't expect to be in there. They can gain confidence off games like this."
Rivers completed 35 of 42 passes, his final TD pass, to Gates, being the 200th of his career. He threw two TD passes to running back Danny Woodhead.
After having three 400-yard games in his previous nine seasons, Rivers has two in this year's four games.
Rivers' 83.3 percent completion rate was the highest in NFL history for a 400-yard passing game. The previous mark was 81.8 percent (36 of 44) by San Francisco's Jeff Garcia against Chicago on Dec. 17, 2000.
After 35 interceptions the past two seasons, Rivers has been picked off only twice so far while throwing 11 touchdown passes.
"It was really what he did throughout the ballgame," Dallas coach Jason Garrett said. "He did a fantastic job. He really controlled the football and controlled the game. He did an outstanding job getting them into the right play over and over again.
"He threw the ball as well as he's thrown in a long, long time."
Rivers' biggest pass wasn't necessarily his prettiest. He short-armed one over the middle to Gates, who slid behind linebacker Sean Lee to haul it in and score with 6:54 to go.
Lee had intercepted Rivers on a deflected pass and returned it 52 yards for a 21-10 lead late in the second quarter. Dallas didn't score again.
"We were able to get some looks we thought we could take advantage of," said Gates, who had 10 catches for 136 yards. "The way he threw that ball, he put it in the right place and I was able to make the play."
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