The first-round draft pick lunged to poke away Rivers' short throw to Woodhead near the front right pylon in the final seconds to preserve the Packers' 27-20 victory on Sunday, overcoming a career performance by Rivers.
"Biggest play of the game," coach Mike McCarthy said. "Damarious is off to a great start."
The fans inside Lambeau Field erupted with a collective sigh of relief. Green Bay (6-0) survived its biggest scare of the season to stay unbeaten.
Rivers set franchise marks with career highs of 43 completions, 65 attempts and 503 yards passing. He threw for two touchdowns for the Chargers (2-4). His 43 completions were the most in NFL history in a loss; he needed one more, at least.
But as the fourth-down play developed, Randall remembered that San Diego ran the same play on second down, but tried to get the ball to Gates.
This time, linebacker Clay Matthews covered Gates inside. Woodhead broke outside, with Randall trailing from behind.
"I was acting like I really wasn't seeing him, but honestly, I was just trying to bait him a little bit," Randall said.
On his back after being knocked down by linebacker Julius Peppers, Rivers arched his neck up, then went back down in frustration and flailed his arms.
Another Chargers loss occurred in the final seconds. San Diego lost to Pittsburgh on the last play on Monday night.
"Brutal loss, obviously, losing the way we did," coach Mike McCoy said.
The ending overshadowed Rivers' milestone performance.
Rivers walked to the microphone at his postgame news conference and sighed.
"Gosh, I don't know. I just made a comment, 'Hey, you've got to laugh to keep from crying,'" Rivers said. "Another one, another one that's tough."
Until then, a Chargers line missing three starters held up well, with Rivers orchestrating a quick-strike offense and finding holes in the secondary.
"We just didn't win the one-on-one matchups today," safety Micah Hyde said. "Thank God for our red zone defense."
"We don't need to win pretty every week. We'd like to," Rodgers said.
He was 16 of 29 for 255 yards. At one point, Rodgers had as many completions as Keenan Allen had receptions midway through the fourth quarter.
"We should have scored 40, we should have. And that's what's frustrating, because our defense played their tail off," Rivers said.
But a hip injury kept Allen sidelined for much of the second half. He wound up with 14 receptions for 157 yards.
Rookie running back Melvin Gordon was benched in the second half after two fumbles. He finished with seven carries for 29 yards in a disappointing return to the state where he set records in college with the Wisconsin Badgers.
Copyright 2015 by The Associated Press