Record day: Chargers' Rivers sets 2 completion marks in win

What started well in L.A. escalated downhill quickly for the Birds

Record day: Chargers' Rivers sets 2 completion marks in win
Los Angeles Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers pumps his fist after his team scored during the second half of an NFL football game against the Arizona Cardinals Sunday, Nov. 25, 2018, in Carson, Calif. (AP Photo/Kelvin Kuo) (Kelvin Kuo)

CARSON, Calif. (AP) — After a record-breaking day, Philip Rivers was quick to credit the guys on the receiving end of his pinpoint passes.

Rivers tied the NFL mark for consecutive completions and broke records for the most to start a game and the highest completion percentage in a game as the Los Angeles Chargers dismantled the Arizona Cardinals 45-10 on Sunday.

"There were some catches that could easily fall incomplete. There were a lot of guys involved in it," Rivers said.

The 15-year veteran was on target with his first 25 passes and finished 28 of 29 for 259 yards and three touchdowns in three quarters. It was also his 11th straight game with multiple TD passes.

Rivers' 25 straight completions tied Ryan Tannehill's mark from 2015. The Dolphins QB completed his last seven throws against the Tennessee Titans in on Oct. 18, 2015, and then his first 18 the following week against the Houston Texans.

Los Angeles Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers (17) is chased by Arizona Cardinals defensive tackle Corey Peters during the second half of an NFL football game Sunday, Nov. 25, 2018, in Carson, Calif. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong )
Los Angeles Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers (17) is chased by Arizona Cardinals defensive tackle Corey Peters during the second half of an NFL football game Sunday, Nov. 25, 2018, in Carson, Calif. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong ) (AP)

"There are far-off dreams where you wonder if you are going to have a game where you are never going to miss one and then you say, 'Probably not.' The fact that we were staying there in the fourth quarter says something," Rivers said.

Rivers came in having completed 67 percent of his throws this season, good for 13th in the league. Now he's at 69.5 percent, which would tie his career best.

Rivers — who said he did not know he was near Tannehill's record — tied the mark for consecutive completions with a 4-yard touchdown pass to Keenan Allen midway through the third quarter. He had his only incompletion on the next possession when he was rushed and was unable to connect on a short pass to Austin Ekeler.

Los Angeles Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers, right, throws against the Arizona Cardinals during the second half of an NFL football game Sunday, Nov. 25, 2018, in Carson, Calif. (AP Photo/Kelvin Kuo )
Los Angeles Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers, right, throws against the Arizona Cardinals during the second half of an NFL football game Sunday, Nov. 25, 2018, in Carson, Calif. (AP Photo/Kelvin Kuo ) (AP)

Rivers did break Mark Brunell's record for completions to start a game. Brunell had 22 straight for the Washington Redskins against the Houston Texans on Sept. 24, 2006. Rivers' 96.8 percent accuracy surpassed Kurt Warner's 92.3 percent, which was set in 2009 when he went 24 of 26 for Arizona against Jacksonville.

"He was hot," Chargers coach Anthony Lynn said. "Guys were getting open and making plays for him. There were some great catches out there today."

All three of Rivers' touchdown passes were plays near the boundary where the receiver was able to bring the ball in while being covered. Mike Williams caught two in the corner of the end zone, and Allen's was just inbounds while being draped by Arizona's Tre Boston.

Los Angeles Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers, left, celebrates after throwing a touchdown pass against the Arizona Cardinals during the first half of an NFL football game Sunday, Nov. 25, 2018, in Carson, Calif. (AP Photo/Kelvin Kuo)
Los Angeles Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers, left, celebrates after throwing a touchdown pass against the Arizona Cardinals during the first half of an NFL football game Sunday, Nov. 25, 2018, in Carson, Calif. (AP Photo/Kelvin Kuo) (AP)

"He makes everything easier for us as receivers," Williams said. "Philip put the ball up for me to go make a play and I'm just going up and making it."

Of Rivers' 28 completions — which went to seven players — eight came on screen passes behind the line of scrimmage. Five were in the air for 10 yards or more, including three that were 20 or more yards.

The Cardinals (2-9) jumped out to a 10-0 lead with scores on their first two possessions before the Chargers (8-3) scored touchdowns on six of seven possessions. Los Angeles seized momentum with a 28-point second quarter.

Los Angeles Chargers wide receiver Mike Williams, right, celebrates a touchdown catch with teammate Justin Jackson during the first half of an NFL football game against the Arizona Cardinals, Sunday, Nov. 25, 2018, in Carson, Calif. (AP Photo/Kelvin Kuo)
Los Angeles Chargers wide receiver Mike Williams, right, celebrates a touchdown catch with teammate Justin Jackson during the first half of an NFL football game against the Arizona Cardinals, Sunday, Nov. 25, 2018, in Carson, Calif. (AP Photo/Kelvin Kuo) (AP)

"We played a complete football game," Lynn said. "It started off slow but we made adjustments and guys responded."

Rivers was 19 of 19 in the first half for 187 yards. According to SportRadar, the last perfect first half with 15 or more attempts was by Warren Moon, who went 16 of 16 for Seattle against Oakland on Nov. 1, 1998. He completed all 10 passes during a two-minute drill that culminated in Williams' TD with 16 seconds remaining.

Melvin Gordon, who came into the game sixth in the league in rushing, ran for two touchdowns in the second quarter before suffering a knee injury in the third. He finished with 61 yards on 10 carries.

Los Angeles Chargers wide receiver Mike Williams, right, makes a touchdown catch next to Arizona Cardinals defensive back David Amerson during the first half of an NFL football game Sunday, Nov. 25, 2018, in Carson, Calif. (AP Photo/Kelvin Kuo)
Los Angeles Chargers wide receiver Mike Williams, right, makes a touchdown catch next to Arizona Cardinals defensive back David Amerson during the first half of an NFL football game Sunday, Nov. 25, 2018, in Carson, Calif. (AP Photo/Kelvin Kuo) (AP)

Austin Ekeler accounted for 103 yards from scrimmage (35 rushing, 68 receiving) and a touchdown.

Arizona's Josh Rosen, who grew up nearby in Manhattan Beach and played at UCLA, was 12 of 19 for 105 yards with a touchdown and interception. David Johnson had 17 carries for 63 yards. The Cardinals had 108 yards of offense in the first quarter but just 41 the rest of the game.

Steve Wilks Postgame Press Conference

"We talked about coming in here on the road, starting fast. I thought we did a great job of doing that, taking the first drive down and scoring, and from that point, the wheels just sort of fell off a little bit," Cardinals coach Steve Wilks said.

Arizona Cardinals quarterback Josh Rosen (3) throws against the Los Angeles Chargers during the first half of an NFL football game Sunday, Nov. 25, 2018, in Carson, Calif. (AP Photo/Kelvin Kuo )
Arizona Cardinals quarterback Josh Rosen (3) throws against the Los Angeles Chargers during the first half of an NFL football game Sunday, Nov. 25, 2018, in Carson, Calif. (AP Photo/Kelvin Kuo ) (AP)

41 AND COUNTING

Larry Fitzgerald's 25-yard touchdown from Rosen was his first career catch at StubHub Center, the 41st different stadium where Fitzgerald has a reception. He could extend that total when the Cardinals go to Atlanta's Mercedes-Benz Stadium on Dec. 16.

BOSA BREAKS OUT

Los Angeles Chargers wide receiver Mike Williams (81) makes a touchdown catch over Arizona Cardinals cornerback Bene Benwikere (23) during the first half of an NFL football game Sunday, Nov. 25, 2018, in Carson, Calif. (AP Photo/Kelvin Kuo)
Los Angeles Chargers wide receiver Mike Williams (81) makes a touchdown catch over Arizona Cardinals cornerback Bene Benwikere (23) during the first half of an NFL football game Sunday, Nov. 25, 2018, in Carson, Calif. (AP Photo/Kelvin Kuo) (AP)

Defensive end Joey Bosa, who returned last week after missing the first nine games with a bone bruise in his left foot, had two sacks and five tackles.

"I felt more confident knowing I went through 31 plays last week," said Bosa, who had the sixth multi-sack game of his three-year career. "It felt amazing to get a sack. It's been too long between sacks. It was fun."

INJURIES

Los Angeles Chargers defensive end Joey Bosa celebrates after sacking Arizona Cardinals quarterback Josh Rosen during the first half of an NFL football game Sunday, Nov. 25, 2018, in Carson, Calif. (AP Photo/Kelvin Kuo )
Los Angeles Chargers defensive end Joey Bosa celebrates after sacking Arizona Cardinals quarterback Josh Rosen during the first half of an NFL football game Sunday, Nov. 25, 2018, in Carson, Calif. (AP Photo/Kelvin Kuo ) (AP)

Cardinals: Linebacker Josh Bynes suffered a thumb injury during the second quarter. Wilks said the injury is not considered to be serious.

Chargers: Gordon did not return after his knee injury. Lynn said he hopes to know more on Monday, adding: "Hopefully what happened is not serious. His durability has been pretty good this season."

UP NEXT

Los Angeles Chargers wide receiver Mike Williams (81) celebrates his touchdown catch with teammate Mike Pouncey, left, during the first half of an NFL football game against the Arizona Cardinals, Sunday, Nov. 25, 2018, in Carson, Calif. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong )
Los Angeles Chargers wide receiver Mike Williams (81) celebrates his touchdown catch with teammate Mike Pouncey, left, during the first half of an NFL football game against the Arizona Cardinals, Sunday, Nov. 25, 2018, in Carson, Calif. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong ) (AP)

Cardinals: Travel to Green Bay next Sunday.

Chargers: Travel to Pittsburgh next Sunday for a prime-time game.

___

Los Angeles Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers, right, shakes hands with Arizona Cardinals quarterback Josh Rosen at the end of an NFL football game Sunday, Nov. 25, 2018, in Carson, Calif. (AP Photo/Kelvin Kuo)
Los Angeles Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers, right, shakes hands with Arizona Cardinals quarterback Josh Rosen at the end of an NFL football game Sunday, Nov. 25, 2018, in Carson, Calif. (AP Photo/Kelvin Kuo) (AP)

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Los Angeles Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers smiles on the sideline during the second half of an NFL football game against the Arizona Cardinals Sunday, Nov. 25, 2018, in Carson, Calif. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong )
Los Angeles Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers smiles on the sideline during the second half of an NFL football game against the Arizona Cardinals Sunday, Nov. 25, 2018, in Carson, Calif. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong ) (AP)