SAN DIEGO — Behind a strong defensive effort and four Nick Novak field goals, the San Diego Chargers earned a 19-9 victory over the Indianapolis Colts on Monday night at Qualcomm Stadium.
The Chargers kept quarterback Andrew Luck and the Colts out of the end zone, limiting them to three Adam Vinatieri field goals.
San Diego quarterback Philip Rivers went 22-for-33 for 237 yards and threw the game’s lone touchdown pass as San Diego (3-3) bounced back from a disappointing loss to the Oakland Raiders a week ago.
Indianapolis (4-2) saw its three-game winning streak end.
Luck connected on 18 of 30 attempts for 202 yards, but he was hurt frequently by dropped passes. He also was picked off by cornerback Derek Cox with 1:07 remaining to seal the outcome.
San Diego finished with a large advantage in time of possession (38:31-21:29). The Chargers gained 374 total yards while limiting the Colts to 267 total yards.
Chargers running back Ryan Mathews gained 102 yards on 22 carries. Teammate Keenan Allen, who scored the game’s only touchdown, made nine receptions for 107 yards.
Neither team scored a touchdown in the second half, but the Chargers drove for three Novak field goals.
Vinatieri booted a 51-yard field goal to slice the gap to 16-9 with 7:21 remaining, but the Colts got no closer. Novak added a 50-yarder with 1:55 left.
Defense dictated the first half, but the Chargers used their ball-control offense to build a 10-6 halftime lead. After Vinatieri connected on a 30-yard field goal with 11:27 remaining in the first quarter, giving Indianapolis a 3-0 lead, but San Diego played keep-away the rest of the half.
A 12-play, 74-yard drive, draining more than six minutes off the clock, ended with Rivers hitting Allen on a 22-yard scoring pass for a 7-3 lead at 12:02 of the second quarter.
On the Chargers’ next possession, Rivers guided his team on a 17-play, 79-yard drive, resulting in a 31-yard field by Novak with 1:41 left for a 10-3 advantage.
However, Vinatieri converted a 50-yard field goal to end the half, cutting San Diego’s lead to four.
San Diego possessed the ball for 18 minutes of the half compared to 12 for the Colts, including a 10:56-4:04 advantage in the second quarter.
Still, the Chargers held just a 174-148 edge in total yardage. Rivers completed nine of 18 passes for 106 yards and a touchdown. Luck finished the half 11 of 18 for 114 yards. Luck’s receivers dropped several passes during the half, including a potential touchdown that Darrius Heyward-Bey let slip through his hands.
NOTES: Indianapolis WR Reggie Wayne (five catches, 88 yards) made his 1,000th career reception in the fourth quarter. He is the ninth player to reach the milestone in league history. … Colts LB Jerrell Freeman suffered a concussion in the first half and did not return. … Chargers WR Eddie Royal left the game in the first half with a toe injury… The Chargers began the night leading the series 17-10, winning five of the past six meetings. The teams last met as wild cards in the 2008 playoffs, when the Chargers recorded a 23-17 overtime victory. … The matchup pitted Colts head coach Chuck Pagano against his younger brother, Chargers defensive coordinator John Pagano. … San Diego’s inactives: LB Jarret Johnson, G Chad Rinehart, DE Lawrence Guy, T Mike Remmers, LB Donald Butler, S Brandon Taylor and QB Brad Sorensen. … Indianapolis’ inactives: S LaRon Landry, RB Daniel Herron, LB Kavell Conner, C/G Khaled Holmes, T Xavier Nixon, LB Bjoern Werner and DT Montori Hughes. … The game drew a crowd of 57,954.