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Chargers Rout Chiefs, 37-20
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The Chargers got off to a quick start and never let up, routing the Kansas City Chiefs 37-20 at Arrowhead Stadium. The defense came through in a big way against the Chiefs’ number one ranked offense, forcing a league-high six turnovers on the day.
Philip Rivers orchestrated a nine-play, 76-yard drive to open the game, and he capped it off with a four-yard touchdown strike to Eddie Royal just under five minutes into the first quarter. On the Chiefs’ third play on offense, Eric Weddle read Matt Cassel’s eyes and made a strong play on the ball for his second interception of the season. The pick led to a Nick Novak field goal to give the visitors a 10-0 edge. Then, on the Chiefs’ first play of the next drive, Corey Liuget stripped Jamaal Charles and Shaun Phillips recovered the ball at the Kansas City five-yard line. Two plays later Jackie Battle plunged into the end zone and just like that it was 17-0. The Chargers caused three more turnovers in the second quarter, including a 21-yard interception for a touchdown by Donald Butler, and at the half they led 27-6.
The Chiefs tried mightily in the second half to get back into the game, but the Chargers defense came up big when needed. That included a pivotal forced fumble by Quentin Jammer with Kansas City down by 14 points. The turnover led to a four-yard touchdown pass from Rivers to Battle with just under eight minutes remaining in the game that sealed the victory for the 3-1 Chargers.
The Chargers converted a fumble recovery into points with 5:32 remaining in the first quarter when Jackie Battle plunged into the end zone from one yard out. It gave the Bolts a quick 17-point lead, putting the Chiefs behind the eight ball and in a big hole they couldn’t climb out of.
It Was Over When…
The score was already 27-6, but Kansas City was driving deep into San Diego territory with less than two minutes remaining in the first half. With the Chiefs getting the ball first to open the third quarter, a score before halftime could have gotten the home team back into the game. Fortunately, Antoine Cason saw to it that that wouldn’t be the case. The Chargers cornerback adjusted nicely on a tipped ball by Dexter McCluster for an interception at the Bolts’ own 13 yard line. The turnover quieted Arrowhead Stadium and insured the Chiefs wouldn’t have any kind of momentum heading into the second half.
Play of the Game
The Chiefs had the ball at midfield, and were about to convert a key third down when Quentin Jammer came through with a big play. The veteran put his helmet on the ball as Shaun Draughns fought for extra yardage and popped the ball loose. As the bodies piled on the scrum, Atari Bigby came up with the football to give the Chargers possession and their league-high sixth turnover of the game.
Stat of the Game
The Chargers forced five turnovers in the first half alone. The last time the team had five takeaways in a single half was September 7, 1997.
“We’re going to have adversity in games and on the season, and we made a big step today. We understand that when we have adversity, we have to handle it both individually and collectively.” – Head Coach Norv Turner
“The turnovers came by us forcing them to make mistakes, and we capitalized on those mistakes. It was a good defensive effort and a good team win for us.” – Linebacker Shaun Phillips
“It was a great team win for us. We’ve been saying all week that we wanted to come in and dominate on the road. We wanted to get this big W. The guys came together today. The defense played outstanding. They were flying out there making turnovers. Once the defense does that, we’ve got to do our part as an offense and we did that today.” – Fullback Le’Ron McClain
“The D-Line coach kept telling us to go out there and try to get the ball loose and turn the ball over. That’s how we’re going to win the game. By getting turnovers.” – Defensive End Corey Liuget
Odds and Ends
The 37 points scored were the most at Arrowhead for the Bolts since 1986.
The Chargers scored 24 points off of turnovers.
San Diego won the time of possession battle 33:52 to 26:08.
Philip Rivers set a number of personal milestones today on the team’s first drive. He started in his 100th career game, and his first completion to Jackie Battle was the 2,000th of his career. Rivers also became the 63rd NFL quarterback in history to eclipse 25,000 career passing yards.
Quentin Jammer played in his 160th career game, tying John Carney for ninth-most in team history.
Jammer also led the team today with eight tackles.
Jared Gaither made his season debut for the Chargers, starting at left tackle.
The inactives today included Nate Kaeding, Brandon Taylor, Shareece Wright, Curtis Brinkley, Jonas Mouton, Antonio Garay and Ladarius Green.
The only change in the starting lineup was Aubrayo Franklin for Garay. Read