Quarterback Dan Fouts directed San Diego to 24 first-half points and the Chargers withstood a second-half Detroit rally to turn back the Lions, 27-24, today.
Detroit quarterback Gary Danielson moved his team toward what could have been the winning touchdown in the game's final minutes, but his eight-yard scoring pass to James Jones was nullified when Lions receiver Mark Nichols was called for interfering with defender Ken Greene.
"It was ludicrous," said Danielson. "The referees just decide too many games in this league.
"He was running a crossing route. It was a ridiculous call," Danielson said. "The defender was the one pushing off."
"They called pushing off on me, when the defender was holding me by the pads," Nichols said.
Danielson was sacked by Billy Ray Smith on the next play, and Ed Murray kicked a 44-yard field goal with 3:56 remaining.
Fouts completed 22 of 34 passes for 268 yards and led the Chargers on touchdown drives of 80, 49 and 87 yards in the first half.
The Chargers (3-2) scored on four of their first five possessions, but Rolf Benirschke's 41-yard field goal, with 8:17 to go, proved to be the game winner.
Danielson and Billy Sims brought the Lions back from a 24-7 deficit with two third-quarter touchdowns.
Danielson completed 20 of 25 passes for 269 yards, and Sims finished with 119 yards on 14 carries. The Lions fell to 1-4.
Detroit needed only three plays to score at the outset of the second half. After a completion from Danielson to Jones, Sims took a handoff to the right and sprinted 81 yards before being pulled down at the one. It was his longest run in the NFL.
Charlie Joiner caught seven passes for 87 yards, giving him 611 lifetime receptions. He needs 39 to surpass Charley Taylor, the Washington Redskins great, as the NFL's all-time leading receiver.