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Chargers bounce back with solid win in KC
Kansas City, MO (Sports Network) - Jackie Battle had one receiving touchdown and ran for a score as the San Diego Chargers pounded the Kansas City Chiefs, 37-20, at Arrowhead Stadium.
Philip Rivers was 18-of-23 passing for 209 yards with two touchdowns and Antonio Gates had three catches for 59 yards for the Chargers (3-1), who bounced back from last week's 27-3 setback to Atlanta with 17 first-quarter points on Sunday and improved to 2-0 in the AFC West.
"I thought our guys had a great week of preparation responding from the game last week. I thought we got a great performance from our defense," Chargers head coach Norv Turner said. "One of the things we've been talking about is creating negative plays. That's the ultimate when you can create turnovers. Creating negative plays gives us a chance to use the skills we have. It was obviously critical for us to come in here and win."
Matt Cassel completed 24-of-42 passes for 251 yards and two touchdowns, but threw three first-half interceptions for Kansas City (1-3), which struggled to secure the ball all game. The Chiefs turned it over six times and have lost three of their first four for the second straight season.
"We didn't play a very good football game today - in any phase: offense, defense or special teams. And it shows on the scoreboard. I don't understand what happened with the team," Chiefs head coach Romeo Crennel said. "I thought it was uncharacteristic the way we turned the ball over today because we hadn't been doing that in all phases. We turned it over just about everywhere today."
San Diego scored on its first touch when Rivers found Eddie Royal on a slant route in the end zone from four yards away. Earlier in the drive, Rivers connected with Malcom Floyd for 21 yards to convert 3rd-and-12.
After Cassel was picked off by Eric Weddle on the Chiefs' first possession, the Chargers were forced to settle for a field goal as Rivers' pass to Royal was batted down by Brandon Flowers in the end zone. Nick Novak, signed on Saturday to replace injured kicker Nate Kaeding, split the uprights from 24 yards out.
"I try to prepare like I was on a team. When I was on the street San Diego State University helped me out by letting me use their facility and practice fields. I had a lot of support in San Diego," Novak said. "I make sure I stayed focused and sharp. If there is one thing the NFL has taught me, it is to always be prepared for anything."
San Diego turned another Chiefs turnover into points, as Battle bulled his way into the end zone from a yard away to put San Diego up 17-0. Jamaal Charles fumbled on Kansas City's 16-yard line to set up the easy score.
Novak added a 47-yard field goal with just over eight minutes left in the half and the teams traded turnovers -- a fumble by Charles and a Rivers interception -- before Kansas City finally found the end zone on a 37-yard touchdown run by Charles. Charles took the handoff to the right side, but was met by a group of Chargers defenders. He cut it back to the left and raced to the pylon, diving across the goal line as he was knocked out of bounds.
Cassel's pass on Kansas City's ensuing drive was intercepted by Donald Butler and returned 21 yards for a touchdown to make it 27-6 heading to the break.
The Chiefs made their opening drive in the second half count, piecing together a 13-play, 80-yard march that ended with a Charles touchdown. Cassel hit Charles with a short pass to the left side and he once again stretched out at the pylon for the 13-yard score.
After a series of punts, San Diego made it 34-13 midway through the fourth quarter when Rivers dumped it off to Battle, who trucked his way into the end zone from four yards out for his second score of the day.
Cassel had a rare bright spot for Kansas City on the ensuing drive, hooking up with Dwayne Bowe for a 29-yard touchdown pass. Bowe was left all alone near the goal line, but the ball was underthrown, forcing Bowe to run forward for the catch. Bowe was met by a defender, but was able to slip a tackle to find the end zone.
Novak's 45-yard kick on the following series accounted for the final margin.
"This is a turnover game. The more turnovers you can get, the more likely you are to win the game. We were able to get the win today," Weddle said.
Weddle has four interceptions in his last three games against Kansas City ... The Chargers forced five first-half turnovers ... Rivers became the third player in Chargers history to reach 25,000 passing yards, joining Dan Fouts and John Hadl ... Cassel has 82 career touchdown passes ... Kaeding injured his groin during Friday's practice.
09/30 20:50:38 ET