|Chargers QB Philip Rivers celebrates upset win over Bengals.|
Utilizing the running game, the Chargers ran the ball 40 times for 196 yards and quarterback Philip Rivers was steady, passing for 128 yards on 12 of 16 accuracy with a touchdown pass to help lead the way.
The San Diego defense forced four turnovers (two fumbles and two interceptions), including a big play fumble recovery of a Gio Bernard fumble late in the first half in the red zone with the game tied at 7-7 that swung the momentum back to the Chargers.
The Bengals held a 10-7 lead at halftime, but the Chargers drove down the field on their first possession of the second half and scored on a four-yard TD pass from Rivers to tight end Ladarius Green to grab a 14-10 lead.
From there, Bengals QB Andy Dalton (334 yards passing with a TD pass and two INT) imploded by fumbling the ball away and throwing two picks that stopped drives and killed any momentum the Bengals hoped to re-establish.
San Diego kicked a pair of field goals and then running back Ronnie Brown iced the game with a 58-yard touchdown run with just over two minutes left in the game. Danny Woodhead also scored a touchdown for the Chargers on a five-yard TD run for an early 7-0 lead.
San Diego now faces the Denver Broncos next Sunday in the Divisional Round in Denver. The two division rivals split the two regular season meetings, with each team winning on the road.
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In the NFC, the San Francisco 49ers squeaked one out in frozen Green Bay, beating the Packers, 23-20 on a 33-yard field goal by kicker Phil Dawson as time expired to win the Wild Card playoff game.
|Colin Kaepernick and the 49ers beat the Packers in Green Bay.|
The Packers had tied the game 20-20 with just over five minutes remaining in the fourth quarter on a 24-yard Mason Crosby field goal. From there, Kaerpernick engineered the game winning drive, including a big 11-yard run on third down for a first down to keep it going. A clutch 17-yard pass to wide receiver Michael Crabtree (eight receptions for 125 yards) for another first down was involved as well.
Green Bay QB Aaron Rodgers (177 yards passing) hit WR Jordy Nelson for a five-yard scoring pass to give the Packers a 7-6 lead in the second quarter. San Francisco regained the lead on a ten-yard TD run by Frank Gore, and held a 13-10 lead at the half.
A one-yard TD plunge by fullback John Kuhn early in the fourth quarter made it 17-13 for the Packers, but then Kaepernick hooked up with tight end Vernon Davis on a 28-yard scoring pass for a 20-17 lead.
It was the second straight playoff win for the 49ers against the Packers and now they will face the Carolina Panthers on the road in the Divisional Round next Sunday.