The San Diego Chargers and Atlanta Falcons were both 2-0 going into this game. San Diego was coming off of a big win against the Tennessee Titans while Atlanta won a close game against the Denver Broncos. Atlanta had a short week of practice due to playing on Monday night so the Chargers had the advantage of being more rested. Both teams were chasing a 3-0 record since a football team that starts 3-0 has a 70% chance to make the playoffs.
Atlanta received the ball to start the game. On their first series, Matt Ryan led an explosive offense down the field for a touchdown. He tore apart the Chargers defense and never had to rely on running the ball. On the PAT, there was a bad snap so the score was 6-0 with 9:43 left in the 1st Quarter.
The rest of the 1st quarter was a defensive battle for every series. The Chargers knew they needed to score going into the 2nd quarter. Phillip Rivers led the Chargers down the field and moved all the way into the red zone. On 1st and goal, Ryan Matthews got the handoff and fumbled the ball. The Falcons offense was able to capitalize on the turnover and drive down the field for the touchdown. Ryan connected with Tony Gonzalez and the score was 13-0 with 2:32 left in the 2nd quarter.
With the second half winding down, it was imperative that the Chargers score and get some momentum going. They started at their own 20 yard line and had a long way to go. On 3rd down, Rivers threw an interception on a pass intended for Antonio Gates. Once again, the Falcons used the turnover to score a touchdown with Ryan connecting with Julio Jones. The score was 20-0 with 0:59 left in the 2nd quarter. That would be all the scoring for the 1st half.
The Chargers received the kickoff to start the 3rd quarter. They got all the way to the Atlanta 23 yard line but Rivers could not find anyone to throw to. Nate Kaeding kicked a field goal and the score was 20-3 with 11:10 left in the 3rd quarter.
The Falcons went three and out on their next series. Rivers started moving the offense downfield and was getting in a rhythm. Rivers was looking for Antonio Gates and threw another interception. The Falcons had a long drive which moved all the way into the start of the 4th quarter. Matt Ryan made a huge mistake on 2nd and goal and threw an interception. The Chargers could not capitalize on the turnover and went three and out. Mike Scifres had a bad punt and the Falcons started on the Chargers 32 yard line. Michael Turner got the ball and it only took him three plays to get into the end zone. The score was 27-3 with 8:51 left in the 4th quarter. That would be it for the scoring but I have to mention that Dante Rosario fumbled with 2:11 left in the 4th quarter and it was also the Chargers 4th turnover.
The Chargers were killed in this game by turnovers. The Falcons turned 3 of the 4 turnovers into touchdowns. If there had been more time on the clock, I have no doubt the Falcons would have scored off of the 4th turnover. The defense was tired with the amount of time they were on the field. It’s up to Rivers and that offense to get long drives so the defense can rest and they could not do that. Now the Chargers need to go into Arrowhead stadium to stop a Kansas City Chiefs team that looked great in their win against the New Orleans Saints. They need to get it all together because the first game against the Denver Broncos is on the horizon.