Antonio Gates caught a 14-yard yard scoring pass from Philip Rivers on the game's opening drive to snap a streak of six straight quarters without a touchdown and the San Diego Chargers went on to a 31-13 victory over the staggering Kansas City Chiefs on Thursday night.
The Chiefs, who lost their fifth straight, committed four more turnovers to run their NFL-high mark to a staggering 29, which have led to 104 points..
Snapping a three-game losing streak might take some heat off coach Norv Turner, who's been heavily criticized by fans after the Chargers (4-4) blew double-digit, second-half leads in losses to New Orleans and Denver, and then lost 7-6 at Cleveland on Sunday.
The heat will surely intensify on coach Romeo Crennel of the Chiefs (1-7).
It's been a tough year for both of these teams, with both head coaches on very hot seats. The Chargers are currently sitting at 3-4 while Kansas City is a disastrous 1-6. San Diego started out the season well, but has now dropped three consecutive games, including last week in Cleveland, where the Chargers couldn't find the end zone in a 7-6 defeat.
On the other sideline stand the Chiefs, who have struggled mightily all season. However, the team somehow is still in the division race just three games behind the Denver Broncos, who they still will see twice.
It's the same old story for a team that can never seem to win with any kind of consistency. The Chargers are the type of team who can win any given week, but just as easily find a way to lose. Much of this has to do with the lack of leadership on the team which starts (and maybe ends) with Norv Turner.
General manager A.J. Smith is also feeling some serious heat, and justifiably so. San Diego has long been one of the favorites to make a Super Bowl run, and yet it always falls flat.
Another huge part of the problem has been Philip Rivers. The once terrific quarterback has been very average again this season, tossing 10 touchdowns and nine interceptions. His offensive line isn't doing him any favors though, allowing 19 sacks.
San Diego's offense is general hasn't been pretty ranking 25th in the league. The defense is the only unit keeping this team afloat, ranking 10th in yards allowed.
Speaking of complete disappointments, there many not be a bigger one in the league than Kansas City. Romeo Crennel has proven within seven games that he doesn't belong in the NFL as a head coach. Even worse for Chiefs fans, the quarterback situation continues to be a disaster with Matt Cassel and Brady Quinn at the helm.
Perhaps the only general manager under more pressure than Smith is Scott Pioli, who is watching banners fly above Arrowhead Stadium every game calling for his firing. Considering his track record with coaches and quarterbacks, maybe those banners have the right idea.
Looking at the pure numbers, it's easy to see why Kansas City is a disaster. The Chiefs are an incredible -18 in turnover differential, seven worse than any other team in football. With 25 turnovers, Kansas City is proving that it can't hold onto the ball at an alarming rate.
Also, the Chiefs are the first team since 1940 that hasn't held a lead in the first seven games of the year.
In a word, yikes.
Both teams are absolutely dreadful, but since the Chargers are at home and the Chiefs treat the football like a greased pig, San Diego is the pick. Kansas City will hang in this game and possibly even pull off an upset if it decides ball security is important, but so far there's no evidence of that.
The Chargers already waxed the Chiefs, 37-20, in Arrowhead Stadium earlier this year, which is another reason to figure they'll put out a victory. The last time the Chiefs won at Qualcomm was back in 2007, when they were led by the immortal Damon Huard. Despite the poor play of Philip Rivers, he always seems to carve up Kansas City, so look for this to be a get-right game for Rivers and his team.
The ultimate reason the Chargers will win? This match-up is the only time all season where Norv Turner is actually the better head coach.
The Chargers will hit the road to play the inconsistent Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Kansas City also plays on the road, again in primetime on Monday night against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Copyright 2012 KCTV (Meredith Corp.) All rights reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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