EditorsNote: Tweaked headline to add “starting” debut; Noted Chargers as visiting team in lede graf; Added team reference to Hauschka in final graf
Philip Rivers threw for 256 yards and three touchdowns to lead the visiting Los Angeles Chargers in a 31-20 victory over the Buffalo Bills on Sunday at New Era Field.
Melvin Gordon found the end zone three times, once on the ground and two on short passes from Rivers. Gordon had 66 yards from scrimmage (28 rushing, 38 receiving) on 15 touches (nine carries, six catches).
After leading the NFL with 541 yards of offense in their season-opening loss to the Kansas City Chiefs, the Chargers (1-1) continued on that pace with 284 yards in the first half Sunday but slowed down as the game wore on and finished with 349 yards.
Rookie quarterback Josh Allen was 18-of-33 passing for 245 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions in his first career start for the Bills (0-2). He connected with Kelvin Benjamin on a 3-yard pass for his first career touchdown with 38 seconds left in the game.
Allen’s performance was a notable improvement from opening-game starter Nathan Peterman, who passed for 26 yards and didn’’ lead the Bills to a first down in the first half during last week’s 47-3 loss in Baltimore. Peterman made his starting debut in last year’s meeting with the Chargers, throwing five interceptions in the first half of a 54-24 loss.
Bills running back LeSean McCoy left the game in the fourth quarter with a rib injury after gaining 68 yards (39 rushing, 29 receiving).
Chris Ivory’s 1-yard run on the opening drive of the second half was Buffalo’s first touchdown of the season.
The Chargers found the end zone on four straight drives to build a 28-3 lead in the second quarter. Rivers threw a 10-yard touchdown to Mike Williams early in the first quarter, and Gordon scored on a 20-yard run along with scoring receptions of 9 and 2 yards.
Rivers was surgical in the first half, completing 15 of 16 passes for 178 yards and three touchdowns. He finished 23 of 27 and did not throw an interception.
Buffalo’s Stephen Hauschka kicked field goals from 43 and 40 yards in the first half. Caleb Sturgis made a 24-yard field goal for the Chargers in the fourth quarter.
—Field Level Media