Mr. Reliable: Nick Novak stabilizes kicking game for Chargers

Nick Novak has made 3 of 4 field goal tries -- including Sunday's winner against the Raiders -- and all five extra-point attempts this season in his second stint with the Chargers. Kyle Terada/USA TODAY Sports

COSTA MESA, Calif. -- Philip Rivers knows how much making kicks matters to Nick Novak.

That’s why the Los Angeles Chargers' veteran quarterback was not surprised by the 36-year-old’s winning kick against the Oakland Raiders on Sunday.

Yes, it was a 32-yard chip shot. However, the Chargers had already watched opening-week kicker rookie Younghoe Koo fall short in late-game situations in back-to-back outings against the Denver Broncos and Miami Dolphins, so having someone who'd been there and done it before was comforting.

Rivers said that even though Novak missed a 48-yard kick earlier in the game, he had confidence Novak would split the uprights to seal the victory.

“He loves to know the guys count on him,” Rivers said of Novak, who played for the Chargers in 2011-14, then spent two seasons in Houston before returning. “And shoot, he may miss one. He missed one today [Sunday] -- shoot, I’ve had my fair share of misses and mistakes. We all have. But he loves the opportunity to help contribute. And so it was fun to have him out there kicking the game-winner.”

According to ESPN Stats & Information, Novak is a combined 7-of-9 during his NFL career on go-ahead field goals made in the final two minutes of regulation and overtime.

“He doesn’t miss the ones when the game is on the line,” Chargers coach Anthony Lynn joked. “I did a little research on him.”

Novak holds the Chargers franchise record with 32 consecutive made field goals over two seasons. And he’s the second-most-accurate kicker in franchise history, making 86 percent of his kicks.

But Novak doesn’t worry about the stats.

“The only thing that matters in this league is winning,” Novak said. “If I cared about stats, I would be worried about that kick [the missed 48-yarder]. But I don’t give a darn about stats. I want to do my job and help this team win.”

A weekly look at Chargers snap counts from the Week 6 victory over the Raiders:

OFFENSE (Based on 65 snaps)

Quarterback: Philip Rivers 65.

Running back: Melvin Gordon 58, Derek Watt 12, Austin Ekeler 7.

Wide receiver: Keenan Allen 55, Tyrell Williams 44, Travis Benjamin 21, Mike Williams 11.

Tight end: Hunter Henry 54, Antonio Gates 37, Sean McGrath 25

Offensive line: Russell Okung 65, Matt Slauson 65, Spencer Pulley 65, Kenny Wiggins 55, Joe Barksdale 51, Michael Schofield 14, Dan Feeney 11.

Offensive analysis: Gordon is sixth in the league in scrimmage yards (578). No Charger has finished in the top five in scrimmage yards since LaDainian Tomlinson finished second in 2007 (1,949). ... Rivers needs one more win to reach 100 career wins. ... Allen leads the NFL with 18 receptions for 279 receiving yards on third down.

DEFENSE (Based on 58 snaps)

Line: Joey Bosa 51, Melvin Ingram 50, Darius Philon 33, Brandon Mebane 33, Corey Liuget 21, Damion Square 19, Chris McCain 13, Tenny Palepoi 12.

Linebacker: Hayes Pullard 54, Korey Toomer 34, Jatavis Brown 20, Kyle Emanuel 17.

Secondary: Trevor Williams 58, Tre Boston 58, Casey Hayward 58, Jahleel Addae 58, Adrian Desmond King 38, Adrian Phillips 7, Rayshawn Jenkins 4.

Defensive analysis: According to ESPN Stats & Information, through six games the Chargers defense has allowed a league-worst 915 rushing yards. That’s the most given up by a Chargers defense through the first six games of the season since 1975 (1,186). The 1975 Chargers started 0-6 and finished 2-12. ... Ekeler leads the Chargers in special-teams tackles with seven.