Philip Rivers shines as Chargers hold off Rams in 'Battle for L.A.'

LOS ANGELES -- Now that's more like it.

With QB Philip Rivers leading the offense, the Los Angeles Chargers methodically drove down the field for two touchdowns in the opening quarter.

Add a 76-yard fumble return for a score by Melvin Ingram on a strip-sack of Rams QB Jared Goff by fellow defensive end Joey Bosa, and the Chargers opened the game with 21 straight points, defeating the Los Angeles Rams in the "Battle of L.A." 21-19.

The Chargers held the Rams' first-team offense to just nine points in the first half.

"We marched down and had a couple opportunities to punch it in," said Rams receiver Robert Woods. "But it's just little details that I think we missed out on that we didn't finish off the drive with six [points]."

The victory was the first for new Chargers coach Anthony Lynn -- and the first for the Chargers this season in exhibition play -- while the Rams fell to 2-1 in preseason action.

QB depth chart: Rivers played two series and was surgical in his performance, completing 6 of 6 passes for 85 yards, including a 45-yard touchdown pass to Travis Benjamin. With Rivers likely not playing in the fourth preseason game on the road against the San Francisco 49ers next week, he finishes exhibition play completing 11 of 12 passes for 141 yards and two touchdown passes, leading the offense to touchdowns on all three drives he directed. However, the Rams had just two starters on defense working against the Chargers' starting offense. Cardale Jones played better in his third appearance this preseason, completing 9 of 13 passes for 74 yards with no touchdowns and an interception. Mike Bercovici finished things off, completing 5 of 9 passes for 62 yards on the final two series for the Chargers.

When it was starters vs. starters, the Chargers looked...: Explosive, which was the expectation on offense and defense at the start of training camp. Rivers led the offense to two touchdown-scoring drives, and the defense created a score with Bosa's strip-sack returned for a touchdown by Ingram. Melvin Gordon finished with 36 yards on eight carries, including a 2-yard run for a score. Keenan Allen totaled five catches for 45 yards.

One reason to be concerned: The Chargers finished with 13 penalties for 137 yards, which extended drives for the Rams. Lynn will have to talk to his players about being more disciplined next week.

That guy could start: Benjamin scored his second touchdown of the season on a long pass play and has been one of the team's most consistent performers during training camp. The Miami product could be in line for snaps once the regular season begins.

Rookie watch: Undrafted rookie Austin Ekeler had a solid game, returning a kickoff for 29 yards and picking up 37 rushing yards. Ekeler has steadily improved from offseason work to training camp and will get a closer look heading into the final preseason game against the 49ers.

Injury update: The Chargers escaped the game relatively healthy. Receiver Isaiah Burse suffered a concussion on the opening kickoff of the second half but walked off the field on his own. Burse did not return to the game.

Chargers who did not suit up for Saturday's game against the Rams included cornerback Trovon Reed (hip), tight end Jeff Cumberland (hamstring), defensive end Jerry Attaochu (hamstring), tight end Sean McGrath (knee), tight end Antonio Gates (rest), receiver Tyrell Williams (rest), receiver Mike Williams (back), offensive lineman Forrest Lamp (knee), linebacker Denzel Perryman (ankle), offensive tackle Joe Barksdale (foot), cornerback Casey Hayward (hamstring) and running back Kenneth Farrow (ankle).