Wrap-up: Saints 31, Chargers 24

October, 8, 2012
10/08/12
1:25
AM ET
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A look at the San Diego Chargers' heart-breaking 31-24 loss to the New Orleans Saints:

What it means: The Chargers blew a golden opportunity to take control of the AFC West. The Chargers fell to 3-2 on a day the other two teams in the AFC West that played (Oakland had a bye) lost.

Momentum swinger: The Chargers were dominating this game and it looked like it was taking a 31-14 lead in the third quarter on an interception return for a score. However, rookie Melvin Ingram was called for roughing the passer on what was a questionable call. The Saints took off after that penalty and ended up scoring 17 unanswered points.

Two tough turnovers: San Diego quarterback Philip Rivers played well, but an interception on a tipped pass and a fumble as the Chargers desperately tried to score on the final drive of the game sullied an otherwise good night for him. This game will be remembered for Ingram’s game-changing penalty.

Mathews’ game: San Diego running back Ryan Mathews had 80 yards on 12 carries, including a spectacular 13-yard touchdown run as he continued to show he is on his way to becoming a productive player.

Meachem breaks out: Former Saints receiver Robert Meachem had his breakout game as a Charger. He had two touchdowns after being nearly invisible in the first quarter of the season.

Big night for former Charger: New Orleans quarterback Drew Brees, who spent his first five NFL season with the Chargers, broke the NFL record for consecutive games with a touchdown pass with 48. He had shared the mark with Johnny Unitas.

What’s next: The Chargers have a pivotal AFC West game against visiting Denver, 2-3, on ESPN’s “Monday Night Football.”

Bill Williamson | email

ESPN Oakland Raiders reporter

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