鈥?Although the Los Angeles Chargers’ offense is constantly running over its opponents these days Mitchell Trubisky Jersey , Philip Rivers wasn’t sure how he ended up as a lead blocker for receiver Travis Benjamin on a 22-yard reverse run .“Gracious, I’ve never been this far down the field in my life since high school,” Rivers thought to himself as he looked for somebody to hit 鈥?and his coaches cringed.But just about everything the Chargers do is working out well lately. After a 30-13 rout of the Redskins on Sunday for their fourth straight victory, they’re finding themselves in prime position to compete for a playoff spot.After their 0-4 start, that’s something that seemed even more unlikely than Rivers becoming a blocker.Rivers passed for 319 yards and two touchdowns, and the Chargers continued their ferocious playoff push with their seventh win in nine games.Tyrell Williams caught a 75-yard touchdown pass and Hunter Henry had another scoring grab for the Chargers (7-6), who have been largely outstanding ever since that rocky start to their relocation season. This one wasn’t in much doubt for the Chargers as they took a 24-point lead and racked up 429 yards of offense midway through the third quarter.“It’s exactly where we want to be,” said Williams, who had four catches for 132 yards. “We hold our own destiny.”While outscoring their opponents 131-53 during their winning streak Roquan Smith Bears Jersey , the Chargers also moved above .500 for the first time since September 2015 with a dominant offensive performance against Washington.With their fourth straight home victory, the Chargers stayed atop the AFC West alongside the Chiefs (7-6), their opponents Saturday in Kansas City.“I want players to always know what they’re playing for, and right now, we’re playing for our division,” Chargers coach Anthony Lynn said.Kirk Cousins hit Vernon Davis with an early TD pass for the Redskins (5-8), who have lost two straight and six of eight. Washington was officially eliminated from playoff contention with three games to go, and this effort rankled several veterans.“There’s no excuse why we’re playing like this, because we’ve played good in the past Mitchell Trubisky Jersey Youth ,” Washington safety D.J. Swearinger said. “You’ve got to prepare for when you step out on the field Sunday, or you’re going to get embarrassed. We got embarrassed today, so guys didn’t prepare. Guys didn’t take it in. … We’ve definitely taken steps back (on defense). We had 30 put on us today. Dallas put (38) on us last week. We’ve taken major steps back.”Although Bashaud Breeland returned an interception of Kellen Clemens’ pass 96 yards for a touchdown with 2:36 to play, Washington’s defense had few answers.“I’m at a loss for words, quite honestly,” Redskins coach Jay Gruden said. “I never thought we’d get beat like this two weeks in a row.”Melvin Gordon rushed for a third-quarter score before several Los Angeles regulars took most of the fourth quarter off, banking rest for Saturday.They earned it: Rivers’ offense played with confidence and flair, executing reverses and flea-flickers while thoroughly entertaining a crowd with distinctly fewer fans of the opposition than in the Chargers’ first few games at StubHub Center.Los Angeles jumped to a 13-0 lead while scoring on its first three drives and getting a first-quarter interception by Kyle Emanuel, but Washington kept it close by forcing two field goals.But on the Chargers’ first snap after Davis’ TD catch Evander Kane Sharks Jersey , Rivers hit Williams deep downfield for an untouched, 75-yard score.MISSED CHANCELos Angeles had a 23-6 lead when it drove 81 yards in the final 1:25 before halftime. The Chargers only missed out on even more points because Austin Ekeler was tackled on a 33-yard run at the Washington 4 as time ran out. Lynn blamed Ekeler for risking a run to end zone despite knowing he needed to get down.KEENAN AGAINKeenan Allen had six catches for 111 yards in his quietest performance during the Bolts’ four-game winning streak. He still set single-season career highs for receptions and yards during the first half for Los Angeles.BIG PHILRivers passed for 256 yards in the first half. He also moved ahead of Warren Moon for ninth place in NFL history in career yards passing. During the four-game winning streak, Rivers has passed for 1,348 yards with eight touchdowns and no interceptions.INJURIESRedskins: Kick returner Byron Marshall’s leg buckled underneath him while he moved to field a kickoff in the first quarter. He injured his hamstring and didn’t return. … Key LB Zach Brown sprained his toe in the second half and left in a walking boot. He blamed the StubHub Center turf: “That field is crap. It’s made for soccer.” … LB Chris Carter broke his leg in the second half.Chargers: Left tackle Russell Okung went down heavily in the first quarter and limped off the field with a knee injury. He returned later in the first half, however.UP NEXTRedskins: Host the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday.Chargers: Travel to Kansas City on short rest for a first-place showdown with the Chiefs on Saturday. The first round is over. The U.S. is halfway to the Basketball World Cup.
The Americans wrapped up the first stage of the new qualifying format Sunday by beating Cuba 93-62, bouncing back from a loss in Mexico on Thursday to finish alone atop their group at 5-1.
Using G League players instead of the NBA stars they’ve been relying on to dominate for more than a decade, the Americans lost a game at the national team level for the first time since 2006 and were pushed a couple other times in the new qualifying format in which teams play home-and-away games against regional rivals.
They expect things to be just as difficult in the second round, which begins in September.
”We have really good players that are playing right now. We just don’t know who is going to be available,” coach Jeff Van Gundy said. ”But the point is we have to play better because the competition does get better.”
Reggie Hearn and Xavier Munford each scored 16 points for the Americans in their first game in Havana since 1991 http://www.buffalobillsteamonline.com/jim-kelly-jersey , when they earned a bronze medal in the Pan Am Games with a team that included Duke stars Christian Laettner and Grant Hill.
NBA players were introduced in the Olympics the next year and the Americans have almost always been able to count on a talent advantage since. But they shuttled in players from the G League for all three windows of games in the first round, and had two tough victories over Puerto Rico before the loss in Mexico City.
”We had lots of different guys participate and so the weakness is that we had a constant turnover of players,” Van Gundy said. ”But our strength is our defense and our 3-point shooting.”
Cuba led 28-24 after the first quarter Sunday before the U.S. quickly seized control with a 19-1 run to start the second.
The Americans plan to continue using G League players in the second round, when they move into a group that will feature Argentina, Uruguay and Panama, along with Puerto Rico and Mexico. The first-round record carries over, and the Americans will have to finish in the top three of that group or be the best fourth-place finisher from the Americas to qualify for the 2019 World Cup in China.
That tournament will serve as a qualifier for the 2020 Olympics.