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Sunday, September 29, 2013
Rapid Reaction: Chargers 30, Cowboys 21

By Eric D. Williams

SAN DIEGO -- A few thoughts on the San Diego Chargers30-21 win against the Dallas Cowboys.

What it means: With several starters out, the short-handed Chargers rebounded from a tough loss on the road last week at Tennessee with an impressive win at home against the Cowboys. With the win, San Diego improved to 2-2 on the year.

Rivers clicks with Gates: San Diego’s longtime quarterback-to-tight end duo of Philip Rivers and Antonio Gates revved it up against the Cowboys. Rivers completed 35 of 42 passes for 401 yards and three touchdowns. Rivers’ only blemish was an interception to Dallas linebacker Sean Lee returned for a 52-yard touchdown. It’s Rivers' fifth, 400-yard passing game of his career. Rivers’ favorite target was Gates, who finished with 10 catches for 136 yards, including a 56-yard touchdown for San Diego’s final score of the game.

Stock watch: Rookie receiver Keenan Allen had his best day as a pro, finishing with five receptions for 80 yards. With Malcom Floyd out for a second straight game due to a neck issue, Allen did a nice job of stepping in to fill the void.

Defense creates pressure: The Chargers came into Sunday’s contest with just six sacks in three games, but managed to sack Dallas quarterback Tony Romo three times. With two starting cornerbacks and pass-rush specialist Dwight Freeney (quad) unavailable in the second half, the Chargers held Romo to 245 total passing yards, and contained running back DeMarco Murray to just 70 yards on the ground.

Turnover drought ends: The Chargers managed to create a turnover late, with cornerback Crezdon Butler forcing Dallas rookie receiver Terrance Williams to fumble the ball as he reached for the goal line. Fellow cornerback Richard Marshall recovered the fumble in the end zone with 2:42 left in the game. The play resulted in San Diego’s second turnover this season.

What’s next: The Chargers go on the road for San Diego’s first AFC West contest of the year at Oakland on Sunday, tentatively scheduled for a 4:25 p.m. ET/1:25 p.m. PT kickoff.