Rivers off to fast start as Chargers rout Packers

SAN DIEGO (AP) -- Chargers coach Marty Schottenheimer has high
expectations for new quarterback Philip Rivers.

Rivers didn't disappoint in his debut, throwing for 169
first-half yards and leading two early scoring drives in a 17-3
victory over Green Bay in Saturday night's preseason opener for
both teams.

"I thought he played excellent," Schottenheimer said. "He
played pretty much like I expect him to."

The Chargers showed their faith in Rivers, a third-year pro, by
letting Drew Brees leave for New Orleans during the offseason.

Cool in the pocket and crisp with his passes, Rivers was
15-of-21 while playing the entire first half except for the final
play. He connected on a 22-yard touchdown pass to Vincent Jackson
on the Chargers' opening series to cap a 64-yard drive, then
engineered an 18-play, 86-yard scoring march the first time they
had the ball in the second quarter.

"He was standing in the pocket, stepping into his passes like
he's been doing his whole life," said Keenan McCardell, San
Diego's leading wide receiver last season.

"Nobody in the huddle had any doubt. He gave you all what you
wanted to see," added McCardell, who had two receptions for 22
yards in the victory.

Rivers took the game in stride.

"We threw a lot of completions, threw a touchdown pass,"
Rivers said. "It was a good start. We had some things we didn't do
well, but it's early. It's just what you want to do in the first
preseason game."

Packers quarterback Brett Favre, pressured by the San Diego
defense for most of the four series he played, was unable to
generate much. The loss spoiled the head coaching debut of Green
Bay's Mike McCarthy.

The 36-year-old Favre, who pondered retirement in the offseason
but decided to return, completed five of 10 passes for 66 yards and
was sacked twice on consecutive plays in the first quarter. He came
out of the game early in the second.

"We've got a long way to go," Favre said. "We weren't very

McCarthy wasn't pleased with his first game at the helm.

"We leave here with a sense of reality of how we started our
preseason," said McCarthy, a former assistant under Schottenheimer
at Kansas City. "This isn't about me. This is about where we are
as a team, and we didn't play the way we're capable of playing.

"It starts with me. I have to get prepared."

In the first half, before both coaches began wholesale
substitutions, the Chargers' defense held the Packers to 89 yards
while San Diego's offense churned out 204 yards.

Aaron Rogers, Green Bay's first pick in the 2005 draft and
Favre's heir apparent, was 9-for-11 for 124 yards while playing
nearly half the game.

The 24-year-old Rivers, a former North Carolina State standout,
threw for more yards -- and equaled his touchdown total -- in the
first half of the exhibition victory than he had during his four
career appearances in the NFL regular season combined.

As Brees' backup the past two years, Rivers was 17-of-30 for 148
yards, with one touchdown.

Rivers came to San Diego after he was drafted No. 4 by the New
York Giants in 2004. The Chargers took Eli Manning with the first
pick, then swapped him to the Giants for Rivers because Manning did
not want to play for San Diego.

The 6-foot-5, 228-pound Rivers completed a variety of passes
against the Packers.

After Jackson caught a perfectly thrown ball in full stride in
the end zone for an apparent 17-yard touchdown 4 minutes into the
game, the Packers called for a video replay, and the pass was ruled
incomplete because Jackson stepped out of bounds.

No problem for Rivers. After a 5-yard penalty moved the ball
back to the 22, the Chargers' quarterback lofted another pass to a
diving Jackson in the end zone for an undisputed TD.

San Diego built its lead to 17-0 on a 23-yard field goal by Nate
Kaeding late in the third quarter. Green Bay's Billy Cundiff
finally put the Packers on the board with a 23-yard field goal
early in the fourth quarter.

San Diego All-Pro running back LaDainian Tomlinson, who rarely
plays during the preseason, sat out the game.

Game notes
San Diego return specialist Darren Sproles sprained his
left ankle in the first quarter and didn't return, and Chargers
offensive tackle Jeromey Clary left in the third quarter with an
apparent leg injury. Green Bay safety Marviel Underwood went out in
the first quarter with a knee injury. ... Back judge Don Dorkowski
was hurt in a collision in the first quarter, limped off the field
and sat out a couple of series before returning. Field judge Buddy
Horton gave Dorkowski a high five as he jogged, still limping, onto
the field.


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