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Chargers tight end John Phillips sees rare playing time

Tight end John Phillips is happy to be back with San Diego after being released during the final roster cuts. Jake Roth/Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

SAN DIEGO -- It had been awhile since tight end John Phillips played that much in a football game.

Surprisingly released during final roster cuts in September, the San Diego Chargers brought back Phillips during the first week of the regular season after Ladarius Green suffered a concussion in practice.

Phillip played in 57 snaps against the Minnesota Vikings in Week 3, which is the most he’s played in one game during his seven-year NFL career.

"Obviously you are sore, but it was a good sore," Phillips said. "It felt good to get out there and bang it out in a real game for a lot of reps like that. So I was happy to get out there, and I’m just blessed to be back here playing football.

"The more reps you get, the better you feel and you’re able to get comfortable. I love playing the game. I love being with the guys and just competing. It’s an unbelievable feeling. It sucks that we lost, but it’s real exciting to get out there and play the game."

Phillips was targeted four times, finishing with four catches for 35 yards in a loss to the Vikings.

The performance included a one-handed diving catch along the sidelines for 15 yards near midfield on a nice touch throw from Philip Rivers with just over seven minutes left in the first half.

"It was a good check by Phil, sitting in there and making a good throw," Phillips said. "And then the other guys just cleared the way to give me an opportunity. I’m just happy to get the catch, and getting the first down was really the big thing."

This year, Antonio Gates said Phillips is more than a blocking tight end, and the University of Virginia product showed it on that play.

With Green’s availability this week in question after suffering his second concussion this season and Gates out for one more week because of his suspension, Phillips could again see more snaps on Sunday when the Cleveland Browns come to town.

OFFENSE (Based on 73 offensive snaps)

Quarterback -- Rivers 59, Kellen Clemens 14

Running back -- Danny Woodhead 33, Melvin Gordon 28, Branden Oliver 15.

Wide receiver -- Keenan Allen 72, Malcom Floyd 65, Stevie Johnson 63, Dontrelle Inman 6.

Tight end -- Phillips 57, David Johnson 23, Kyle Miller 3.

Offensive line -- Joe Barksdale 73, D.J. Fluker 65, Trevor Robinson 62, King Dunlap 55, Chris Hairston 40, Kenny Wiggins 34, Orlando Franklin 25, Chris Watt 11.

Offensive analysis -- Barksdale is the only player on offense who played every snap. ... The Chargers have zero yards on 12 punt returns through three games, the worst in the NFL. ... Through three games, Rivers is 18 of 25 for 210 yards, with a touchdown and two interceptions on third down. Rivers has been sacked five times, posting a 77.1 passer rating on third down. ... The Chargers are 54.5 percent in red-zone efficiency, No. 21 in the NFL.

DEFENSE (Based on 56 defensive snaps)

Line -- Corey Liuget 44, Kendall Reyes 33, Ricardo Mathews 26, Sean Lissemore 22, Darius Philon 14, Ryan Carrethers 14.

Linebacker -- Manti Te'o 54, Melvin Ingram 52, Donald Butler 49, Jeremiah Attaochu 29, Kyle Emanuel 22, Cordarro Law 5, Denzel Perryman 4.

Secondary -- Eric Weddle 56, Patrick Robinson 54, Jimmy Wilson 49, Steve Williams 45, Jason Verrett 20, Adrian Phillips 16, Darrell Stuckey 6, Craig Mager 2.

Defensive analysis -- San Diego’s defense held Minnesota to 3 of 9 (33 percent) on third down. ... Minnesota's Teddy Bridgewater threw for a career-low 121 yards against the Chargers. ... Perryman leads San Diego with six special teams tackles. ... The Chargers are No. 3 in the NFL in passing defense, allowing just 189.3 passing yards per game. However, San Diego is No. 29 in rushing defense, giving up 135.7 yards per game.