November 1, 2012; San Diego, CA, USA; San Diego Chargers receiver Seyi Ajirotutu (13) makes a diving catch during the first quarter against the Kansas City Chiefs at Qualcomm Stadium. Christopher Hanewinckel-US PRESSWIRE
By Travis Duncan
Bolt Talk writer
An upbeat Norv Turner said after the game that the veterans on the team provided the needed leadership to refocus and get the Chargers back to .500 at 4-4 and one game out in the AFC West.
"We have a very mature group of guys," said Turner. "You get to where you make it harder than it is from a mental standpoint. We've hurt ourselves in terms of making some mistakes in critical situations and we didn't do it tonight."
The Chargers forced four turnovers: three fumbles and an interception. Kansas City quarterback Matt Cassell was limited to 181 yards on 19 of 29 completions without a touchdown.
Philip Rivers, who completed 90-percent of his passes, has to feel good after Thursday night's performance because as much of the heat that has been on Turner just as much blame has been laid upon him during the three-game losing streak. Rivers did have an interception in the red-zone to close out the first half which should have been six or at the very least three points, but it was a marked improvement for the quarterback on Thursday night in comparison to the prior three weeks.
"We didn't talk about it specifically but I think we want to win for [Turner] every week," said Rivers post game.
"We play for our coach, I think that's been evident over the years whenever we've struggled we haven't folded, we haven't pointed the finger, we haven't said 'You'all want to blame it on him, let him have it'. I think too a lot of the reason that is, is the way he handles it. In many of these cases he could have pointed to us. We made some terrible plays and it has nothing to do with a coaching decision."
The Chargers didn't make it look pretty for three quarters, holding just a 10-6 lead headed in to the fourth quarter. But then again if you're looking for a prettiness, this is not the team for you. They were a quarter away from doom.
They tacked on three fourth quarter touchdowns, two of which came from the defense, to finish out the Kansas City Chiefs 31-13. The Chiefs simply are a bad team. Had they won it would have probably ended the Norv Turner error.
Funny what a win can do, even against a bad team. The Chargers move to 4-4 and are back in it so to speak in a mediocre AFC West. The defense played great and the offense played to its potential.
Rivers was very efficient and accurate passing for 220 yards on 18 of 20 completions with one interception and two touchdowns-the Chargers let the running game do the rest. As a group the Chargers ran for 123 yards. Ryan Mathews accounted 67 yards on 13 carries, averaging 5.2 yards per carry, despite missing many plays due to a left ankle injury he initially suffered in the second quarter.
Shaun Phillips was asked on the set of the NFL Network post-game show by host Rich Eisen why the Chargers always find themselves needing to dig themselves out of a hole year-after-year. His answer didn't indicate he knew exactly why that was-or perhaps he knew but did not divulge.
"It's just the NFL, it's a roller coaster, it's any given Sunday," said Phillips.
"There's going to be highs, there's going to be lows. You've got to play 16 games, and we'll see what its like at the end."