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Dublin: 5 °C Tuesday 20 November, 2018
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Rivers leads red-hot Chargers past Cowboys while Vikings overpower Lions

Philip Rivers continued to lead the Los Angeles Chargers, who crushed the Dallas Cowboys.

Philip Rivers.
Philip Rivers.

THE LOS ANGELES Chargers are on fire in the NFL, while the Minnesota Vikings are in complete control of the NFC North.

After cruising to a 28-6 win over the Dallas Cowboys at AT&T Stadium on Thursday, the Chargers have consecutive blowout victories.

The Chargers (5-6) have a great chance to even their record next week against the winless Cleveland Browns.

Meanwhile, the Vikings are now in firm control of the NFC North.

Minnesota (9-2) hold a three-game lead in the division after Thursday’s 30-23 win over the Detroit Lions at Ford Field.

Also on Thanksgiving, the Washington Redskins continued the New York Giants’ miserable season with a 20-10 win.

Chargers quarterback Rivers always plays with high energy and he has seemingly sparked his team since their sluggish start.

Rivers was 27 of 33 for 434 yards and three touchdowns on Thursday, including a 27-yard scoring strike to Tyrell Williams. The third-year receiver did a great job to high-point the ball and then tip-toe the sideline in the end zone.

As the Kansas City Chiefs are sliding in the AFC West and the Oakland Raiders and Denver Broncos are dealing with inner turmoil, the Chargers are the only team in the division trending upward.

“We really kept the rhythm from last week,” Rivers told CBS Sports. “It was a great day. It was everything it was built up to be. Playing on Thanksgiving was special.”

Dallas set a franchise mark for futility by being held scoreless through the first three quarters of Thursday’s game. Dating back to their last two games, the Cowboys had not scored a touchdown in 10 straight quarters for the first time in franchise history.

Dallas (5-6) got left tackle Tyron Smith back, but lost Pro Bowl guard Zack Martin with a head injury and are still without suspended running back Ezekiel Elliott for another three weeks. Linebacker Sean Lee, the defensive leader, did not play again because of an injured hamstring and he might miss another two games.

As the Cowboys fall further behind in the NFC play-off hunt, it is hard to imagine they will be able to make up any ground without Elliott and their other injured stars.

Not only were the Lions shut down on the ground, they did not have a third-down conversion in the first half. Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford, who finished 20 of 35 for 250 yards with two touchdowns, had more success in the second half, but a late Vikings interception sealed the win.

The Vikings entered the day ranked fifth in total defense and second in rush defense. They played like a top-five defense on Thursday against the NFL’s highest-paid quarterback.

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