Published November 20, 2014
Philip Rivers threw as many touchdown passes as he did incompletions on Thursday night, as the San Diego Chargers pounded the Kansas City Chiefs, 31-13, in an AFC West clash at Qualcomm Stadium.
Rivers completed his first 13 passes and finished 18-of-20 for 220 yards, two touchdowns and an interception for the Chargers (4-4), who snapped a three- game losing streak.
"I think we want to win for him every week," said Rivers of San Diego coach Norv Turner, whose job security had been questioned following the team's 7-6 loss to Cleveland on Sunday. "We play for our coach. I think that's been evident over the years."
Ryan Mathews added 67 yards on 13 carries, while Michael Floyd and Antonio Gates each hauled in a touchdown pass to help San Diego move within one-half game of the Denver Broncos atop the AFC West.
Matt Cassel passed for 181 yards and an interception on 19-of-29 passing for Kansas City (1-7), which has now dropped its last five games.
Dwayne Bowe caught eight passes for 79 yards, but the Chiefs, who lead the league with 29 turnovers, gave the ball away four times in Thursday's setback.
"Similar to what's been happening during the course of this year, we shoot ourselves in the foot," Chiefs coach Romeo Crennel remarked of his club's struggles. "We're in this hole and we have to fight our way out of it."
After Floyd's 13-yard TD catch gave the Chargers a 17-6 edge early in the fourth, Cassel dropped back to pass on 2nd-and-13 and was sacked by Jarret Johnson.
Johnson knocked the ball loose as he took Cassel to the ground and Shaun Phillips pounced on the fumble in the end zone for a 24-6 edge.
Cassel led the Chiefs into San Diego territory on their ensuing possession, but his second-down pass intended for Dexter McCluster tipped off the wide receiver's hands and landed in the arms of Demorrio Williams, who scampered 59 yards down the sideline for the interception return touchdown and a 31-6 lead.
The Chiefs put together a 10-play, 80-yard march, which Shaun Draughn capped with a 6-yard TD rush, but the visitors were unable to come up with the ensuing onside kick and the Chargers ran out the rest of the clock after McCluster muffed a punt with less than two minutes remaining.
Rivers kept the Chargers' opening drive alive with a 28-yard strike to Seyi Ajirotutu on 3rd-and-5 before hooking up with Gates for 21 more down to the Kansas City 26.
After Mathews picked up another first down with a 5-yard surge, Rivers found Gates just before the goal line and the veteran tight end stretched the ball inside the left pylon for a 14-yard touchdown catch to give the Chargers a 7-0 lead less than five minutes into the game.
The Chiefs converted four third downs on their ensuing possession to move deep into San Diego territory, but Bowe fumbled a bumble screen at the San Diego 23 and Quentin Jammer pounced on the loose ball to end the 17-play series.
San Diego made its way into Kansas City's red zone on the ensuing drive, as Rivers found Danario Alexander on a quick slant for 30 yards down to the Kansas City 15 on 3rd-and-2.
The drive stalled there however, as Ronnie Brown's 7-yard catch on 3rd-and-9 set up Nick Novak's 25-yard field goal to make it a 10-0 game with 9:10 left in the second.
Kansas City again made its way into San Diego territory after McCluster took a direct snap and rushed 13 yards over the right side to the San Diego 40.
Facing a 3rd-and-1 two plays later, Peyton Hillis was stacked up at the line for no gain, resulting in Ryan Succop's 49-yard field goal to bring the Chiefs within 10-3 with just under three minutes left until halftime.
Rivers quickly moved his squad inside the Kansas City 10, but he tried to force a pass into the end zone for Dante Rosario and Eric Berry stepped in front of it for an interception to keep it a 10-3 game at the break.
San Diego forced a three-and-out on the Chiefs' opening possession of the second half, but Eric Weddle muffed the ensuing punt and Cory Greenwood jumped on the loose ball to give Kansas City possession at the San Diego 24.
The visitors were unable to capitalize however, as Succop's 39-yard field goal attempt deflected off the left upright and missed wide left to keep it a 10-3 contest less than four minutes into the third.
Succop made up for his miscue on the Chiefs' next possession, as he buried a 41-yarder to cap a 10-play, 70-yard scoring drive and bring the visitors within 10-6 late in the third quarter.
The Chiefs' 29 turnovers are the most through eight games since the Saints turned the ball over 30 times in 1997 ... The Chiefs have not held a lead in regulation in any game this season ... The Chargers lead the all-time series 53-52-1 ... Succop had made 14 straight field goals ... San Diego wide receivers Eddie Royal and Robert Meachem both missed the game with hamstring injuries ... Kansas City running back Jamal Charles left the game in the fourth quarter with a neck injury ... Bowe now has 401 career receptions, becoming only the fourth player in Chiefs history to record at least 400 receptions.