Facebook Twitter

NFL: Ryan, Turner lead Falcons past Chargers

SHARE NFL: Ryan, Turner lead Falcons past Chargers

SAN DIEGO — Matt Ryan, Michael Turner and the rest of the Atlanta Falcons are very much alive in the playoff picture.

The San Diego Chargers, once thought to be Super Bowl worthy, are on life support.

Ryan, the rookie from Boston College, threw two touchdown passes and Turner, LaDainian Tomlinson's former understudy, ran for 120 yards against his former team to lead the Falcons to a 22-16 win over the reeling Chargers on Sunday.

The Falcons (8-4), one of the NFL's most surprising teams behind rookie head coach Mike Smith, remained a game behind Tampa Bay and Carolina in the NFC South.

San Diego (4-8) lost for the fifth time in six games. They came into the day two games behind Denver in the anemic AFC West. Many fans had cleared out by the final gun, and those who remained booed as Ryan took a knee to end the game.

Ryan completed 17 of 23 passes for 207 yards. Turner carried 31 times in his sixth 100-yard game of the season. He was allowed to leave San Diego as an unrestricted free agent after last season.

Tomlinson, the two-time defending NFL rushing champion, was held to 24 yards on 14 carries.

Atlanta lost three fumbles, leading to all of San Diego's points.

San Diego had only 100 yards at halftime, then had one just possession in the third quarter for 23 more yards.

The Chargers did score a touchdown in the third quarter, thanks to the defense.

With the Falcons trying to add to a 15-7 lead, Ryan completed a pass to Brian Finneran, who turned upfield and was hit by Quentin Jammer and fumbled.

Safety Eric Weddle, who'd been called for a big pass interference penalty on the drive, scooped up the ball and raced 86 yards down the left sideline for a touchdown. Ryan shoved referee Mike Carey out of the way as he chased Weddle.

Atlanta challenged, but the play was upheld after replay. Philip Rivers' 2-point conversion pass to Malcom Floyd failed.

Ryan threw a 5-yard touchdown pass to wide-open Harry Douglas in the left corner of the end zone on the first play of the fourth quarter for a 22-13 lead.

Jamaal Anderson blocked a 43-yard field-goal attempt by Nate Kaeding early in the fourth quarter. After the Chargers got the ball back on Turner's fumble, Kaeding kicked a 28-yarder to pull the Chargers to 22-16.

The Chargers got a gift late in the first quarter when Douglas muffed a punt and Anthony Waters recovered at the 20-yard line. Three plays later, Tomlinson scored from the 3-yard line for a 7-3 lead, then tossed the ball high into the air in celebration.

Jason Elam kicked his second field goal, from 40 yards, before the Falcons went ahead 13-7 on an 18-yard TD catch by tight end Justin Peelle, who played with the Chargers from 2002-05.

San Diego started its next drive on the 8, and a false start and a 3-yard loss by Tomlinson put the ball on the 1. Rivers dropped back to pass under heavy pressure and was whistled for intentional grounding in the end zone for a safety, giving Atlanta a 15-7 lead.