SAN DIEGO (AP) — Philip Rivers doesn't give much credence to the New York Giants' losing streak, which he helped extend to four games.
All he really cares about is that his San Diego Chargers went on the road and came away with a solid victory, even if it wasn't always pretty.
"I think it means a lot," Rivers said Monday, a day after his 18-yard TD pass to Vincent Jackson with 21 seconds left rallied the Chargers to a 21-20 victory over the reeling Giants.
"It's the type of game we hadn't been able to win yet this year, on the road, against a really good team. I know that they've lost four straight now, but that was a really good football team we played. To win, and to really have to win in all three phases and have to lean on one another on both sides of the ball, and to get it done, it means a lot."
It was the third straight win for San Diego, which at 5-3 is positioned to make a second-half run. At the very least, the Chargers will have to overtake the Denver Broncos in order to win their fourth straight AFC West title.
"I think it will carry over into this week, something we can build on as we prepare for another really tough NFC East opponent," Rivers said.
Up next is a home game against the Philadelphia Eagles, who are coming off a 20-16 loss to the Dallas Cowboys.
The Chargers will have plenty of things to work on this week, Rivers said. San Diego's running game was practically nonexistent, receivers dropped passes and Rivers was intercepted twice.
"We've still got a ton of room for improvement," Rivers said. "It wasn't by any means our best game through and through; it was because of the way we won, but tons of areas to improve. If we all acknowledge that, we'll get better."
In the end, though, the Chargers wrenched the game away from the Giants.
Terrell Thomas intercepted Rivers and returned it 33 yards to the San Diego 4 with 3:14 remaining. A holding penalty moved the Giants back and San Diego forced them to settle for a field goal for just a six-point lead with two minutes to go.
Rivers was impressive in moving the Chargers 80 yards, capping the drive with his throw to the wide-open Jackson.
Outside linebacker Shawne Merriman had two more sacks as he continues to look stronger in his comeback from knee surgery that cost him virtually all of last season.
The Chargers have put together winning streaks in recent seasons, and Merriman hopes they're hitting their stride now.
"We've got to put down our foot right now," said Merriman, who ended the game by sacking Eli Manning. Manning, of course, told the Chargers before the 2004 draft that he didn't want them to take him with the No. 1 pick. They did anyway, then shipped him to New York for Rivers and three picks, one of which was the first-rounder in 2005 that the Chargers used on Merriman.
"If we put down our foot right now, we're going to be in pretty good shape," Merriman said. "Every game's not going to go how you want it, but we can do our best to make sure it's in our favor."
Copyright 2009 The Associated Press.