Drew Brees threw two touchdown passes in the final 4 minutes, 50 seconds to rally the New Orleans Saintsto a stunning 35-34 victory on Sunday against Philip Rivers and the San Diego Chargers, who blew a 13-point lead by committing two crucial turnovers.
Brees overcome two interceptions to win in his return to San Diego, where he played his first five NFL seasons before being allowed to leave as a free agent. It was also the first win this season for the Saints (1-3).
After the final gun, Brees ran over to the stands and greeted Saints fans.
With the Chargers trying to protect a 34-21 lead, Melvin Gordon fumbled and Darryl Tapp recovered at the San Diego 13, setting up Brees’ 5-yard TD pass to Michael Thomas on fourth-and-2 to pull to 34-28 with 4:50 to go.
Travis Benjamin then fumbled after a reception and Nate Stupar recovered at the San Diego 31. Seven plays later, fullbackJohn Kuhn scored his third TD of the game, on a 1-yard run. The PAT made it 35-34.
Rivers, who was Brees’ understudy for his first two NFL seasons, was intercepted by B.W. Webb with 1:10 to go.
It was the third time this season the Chargers (1-3) blew a late lead.
The Chargers seemed to have it in control after Rivers directed a 14-play, 74-yard scoring drive capped by Gordon’s second 1-yard scoring run of the game to give the Chargers a 31-21 lead with 12:15 to play. Rivers kept the drive alive with a pinpoint, 16-yard completion to Tyrell Williams to the New Orleans 7-yard line.
It was the first time Brees played at Qualcomm Stadium since Dec. 31, 2005, when he injured his throwing shoulder in his final appearance as Chargers quarterback. He had surgery and was allowed to leave as a free agent, signing with New Orleans. That gave the starting job to Rivers. Brees led the Saints to a Super Bowl victory against Peyton Manning and theIndianapolis Colts after the 2009 season.
Brees threw a 4-yard touchdown pass to Kuhn. Kuhn and Mark Ingram each scored on a one-yard run.
San Diego floundered on the opening drive of the second half, making fans nervous. Dexter McCluster caught the opening kickoff of the second half 6 yards deep and bringing it out only to the 15. The Chargers went three and out, and Brees led them on a drive culminated when Kuhn scored on a 1-yard run to pull the Saints to 24-21.
Copyright 2016 by The Associated Press