Chargers rout Bills in Peterman’s disastrous debut
CARSON, Calif. — Chargers coach Anthony Lynn eyed two categories in the wake of Los Angeles beating the Buffalo Bills, 54-24, and he couldn’t hide his satisfaction.
“We played smart football,” Lynn said. “We didn’t turn the ball over and didn’t have a penalty until the fourth quarter.”
The Chargers gave no quarter in handing the Bills their third consecutive loss.
“We executed at a much better level,” quarterback Philip Rivers said. “We had a rhythm. We had a flow.”
Rivers threw two touchdown passes to Keenan Allen while Bills rookie Nathan Peterman tossed five first-half interceptions in his NFL debut as the Chargers thumped the Bills at the StubHub Center.
The Chargers (4-6) snapped a two-game slide in their first home game in nearly a month.
“This is a pivotal point in the season to say the least,” Rivers said.
The Bills (5-5), who benched Tyrod Taylor in favor of Peterman, lost their third consecutive game as they turned the ball over six times.
Rivers started his 186th consecutive regular-season game, the NFL’s second-longest active streak behind Eli Manning (209), after being limited this week in practice with concussion symptoms. He completed 20 of 32 passes for 251 yards and two touchdowns before stepping aside for Kellen Clemens in the fourth quarter.
“It felt good and I was glad to be back out there,” Rivers said. “This was uncharted territory for me. But we made sure we went through all the proper steps and it felt good to get out of the game clean.”
Peterman, a fifth-round pick from Pittsburgh, was dreadful as he made bad decisions and he couldn’t handle the Chargers’ pass rush. Peterman, who was 6 of 14 for 66 yards, was replaced by Taylor with 10 minutes remaining in the third quarter.
“I’ve had tough games before,” Peterman said. “You don’t lose, you learn.”
Taylor, the starter since 2015, led the Bills to a field goal in his first series, but that only cut the margin to 40-10. He also rushed for a score and finished 15-of-25 passing for 158 yards.
Defensive end Melvin Ingram returned a third-quarter fumble, forced by defensive end Joey Bosa, 39 yards for a score.
Allen had a big day, leading all receivers with 12 catches for 159 yards.
Casey Hayward, who paced the NFL with seven picks last year, had two of the Chargers’ five interceptions.
“All areas of our football team can improve,” Bills head coach Sean McDermott said as he declined to name next week’s starter.
“The game got away from us in a hurry because of turnovers,” McDermott said.
LeSean McCoy was the lone bright spot for the Bills, rushing for 114 yards and a score on 13 carries.
The Chargers’ Melvin Gordon sprinted in from 10 yards for a 34-7 halftime advantage.
Nick Novak’s second field goal, a 27-yarder, gave the Chargers a 27-7 cushion midway through the second quarter.
Allen’s second touchdown reception of the second quarter, for 2 yards, increased the Chargers’ lead to 24-7, as he scored on consecutive possessions. Allen doubled his season touchdown total in one quarter.
Allen’s 21-yard scoring catch pushed the Chargers ahead 17-7 in the second quarter, when he burned Leonard Johnson in single coverage.
“We didn’t shoot ourselves in the foot,” Allen said. “We cleaned up what we needed to clean up and our offensive line played great. I thought we executed on the big plays and we were also consistent.”
McCoy’s 27-yard run in the first quarter tied the score at 7, which was on the heels of his 37-yard scamper. McCoy’s touchdown came after Novak missed a 46-yard field-goal attempt.
The Chargers jumped to a 7-0 lead on linebacker Korey Toomer’s interception return for a touchdown on the Bills’ first series. Peterman’s pass ricocheted off fullback Patrick DiMarco and was corralled by Toomer. He returned it 59 yards, outrunning two linemen and tiptoeing down the sideline the final 10 yards for the score.
NOTES: Bills WR Kelvin Benjamin (knee) was injured on his lone reception of the game in the first quarter and didn’t return. SS Micah Hyde (arm), who has five interceptions, exited in the third quarter. CB Shareece Wright (non-injury) and RB Mike Tolbert (hamstring), two ex-Chargers, were inactive. ... Chargers LT Russell Okung (leg) exited in the second quarter. ... RT Joe Barksdale (toe) missed his fifth consecutive game. ... RB Branden Oliver was a healthy inactive, his backup role going to rookie Austin Ekeler, who scored a touchdown.