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San Diego Chargers tight end Antonio Gates (85) scores a touchdown on the Chargers' first possession depite the effort of Kansas City Chiefs strong safety Eric Berry on Thursday, November 1, 2012 at Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego, California. (David Eulitt/Kansas City Star/MCT via Getty Images)
San Diego broke their three-game losing streak Thursday night.
They beat the Chiefs 31-13.
Unlike the games against the Broncos and the Saints, the Chargers began the game as strong as they finished.
They scored a touchdown on their opening drive after starting on their own 28. Quarterback Philip Rivers hit three different receivers on the drive, including the Bolts most recent addition, Seyi Ajirotutu. Rivers found Ajirotutu on third and five for a 28-yard gain to pull San Diego into Kansas City territory.
“I was doing anything I could to catch that ball,” Ajirotutu said. “It was kind of a trial and error run but I knew that it was important that I make the catch and get a first down in the first series of the game.”
Rivers finished the drive with a bullet to one of his favorite targets, tight end Antonio Gates from 14 yards out. That was Gates’ 79th TD reception and he is now only two TD receptions behind Chargers legend Lance Alworth’s record.
San Diego carried their momentum into the second quarter and led with a Nick Novak field goal from 25 yards out.
Kansas City responded with a 49-yard field goal making the score 10-3 Chargers.
San Diego carried that lead into halftime.
After the Broncos’ and Saints’ games, Chargers fans have become wary of the team’s ability to finish the game. Qualcomm stadium was reserved as the teams took the field to begin the second half.
The third quarter remained scoreless until the Chiefs hit another field goal from 41 yards out with less than a minute left in the third to make the score 10-6 Bolts.
Chargers took control of their next drive. Running back Ryan Mathews had a season-high 31-yard run. Rivers made decisive passes and play calls down the field. He finally found wide receiver Malcolm Floyd on the side of the end zone. That was the first touchdown the Chargers had scored in the fourth quarter since the last time they played the Chiefs in September.
The next drive, penalties pushed the Chiefs deep into their own territory. On first and 14 linebacker Jarret Johnson forced Kansas City quarterback Matt Cassel to fumble in the end zone.
Linebacker Shaun Phillips recovered the ball in the end zone for a Chargers touchdown. It was Phillip’s first touchdown off a fumble recovery and his last touchdown was in 2010.
San Diego continued their momentum and on the next Kansas City drive. Chargers linebacker Demorrio Williams picked off Cassel’s throw and took it to the house for his first NFL touchdown.
“It felt good,” Williams said.
The Bolts have scored 34 points off the Chiefs this season on turnovers alone.
Kansas City scored a touchdown when running back Shaun Draughn ran one in from six yards out but with less than five minutes to play and a double digit San Diego lead it did not make a difference.
Many people had counted the Chargers out after their last three games. Head coach Norv Turner said this game came down to the Chargers doing what they have always been capable of doing.
“You get where you make it harder than it is from a mental standpoint because you’re trying to do too much,” Turner said. “I think our guys have responded and prepared for every game we’ve played at a high level. We’ve hurt ourselves in terms of making some mistakes in critical situations and we didn’t do that tonight.”
The Chargers have 10 days to recover before going to Tampa Bay to take on the Bucaneers and former Chargers’ wide receiver Vincent Jackson.