Cavalry is Coming

The Chargers' horizon is filled with key divisional games and a welcoming force.

"The cavalry's coming, and it's a good thing," coach Norv Turner said.

After another dismal start, the Chargers have righted themselves heading into a Nov. 22 home game against the Broncos. Two straight wins -- including their first on the road -- have the Chargers at 4-5 and within striking distance of the Chiefs and Raiders.

It's quite a flip from a team that is still battling special teams mistakes and searching for a pass rush. But if nothing else, the Chargers have proved obstacles can be overcome.

"I think there's been a little bit of that sense that we had to find a way once we dug that hole," Turner said. "We talked about not giving ourselves a chance to win. I think we've given ourselves a chance to win the last two (games), and we've done it."

But it's what lies ahead that will determine the direction of the Chargers' once promising season. And what's next is a string a games that will allow San Diego to knock down divisional rivals.

After the Chargers lost their first two AFC West games -- to the Chiefs and Raiders -- it's imperative they regain their dominance in a division they've won four straight times.

In each of the last four years, the Chargers have gone 5-1 in the division.

Now here come the Broncos, who showed some firepower in Sunday's game against the Chiefs. Then it's a trip to Indianapolis, then home games against the Raiders and Chiefs.

So the time is now for the Chargers -- the calendar and schedule of opponents underscore it. Turner knows it, and he knows the Chargers have a better chance with the likes of Antonio Gates, Kris Dielman, Malcom Floyd, Legedu Naanee and Brandon Siler returning.


Coach Norv Turner
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"We make it harder on ourselves than we should," Turner said. "(But) we get a lot of guys that haven't had a chance to participate back, obviously for the Denver game, and then the following week, we'll get Vincent Jackson back. So those guys will help us."

The Chargers are a tough rival in November. They'll seek their seventh straight November win against the Broncos, the only AFC West team to beat the Chargers last season.

Quarterback Philip Rivers continues to gather MVP-caliber numbers, and he's especially difficult to beat at home. Rivers has a 29-7 starting record at Qualcomm Stadium, where he has thrown 55 touchdowns against 24 interceptions.

"He's driven, I think, by the level of his performance," Turner said. "The outside stuff is not as important to him as how his teammates feel about him and how he feels he prepared and played. He's hardest on himself when he misses a play that he knows he can make, but he makes most of them."

PLAYER/PERSONNEL NOTES

UNDER THE RADAR: Brandon Siler, a backup inside linebacker, has been slowed by a foot injury that has sidelined him three of the past four games. But he's expected to play Sunday; that helps in the Chargers' short-yardage package and on special teams.

BY THE NUMBERS: 3-1 -- The Chargers' home record. San Diego needs to continue to be tough at Qualcomm Stadium, as three of the next four games are at home.

PLAYER NOTES

--K Nate Kaeding could return Nov. 22, which would be his first game action since injuring his groin Oct. 17.

--OLB Larry English should see increased snaps after his return from foot surgery. English, a former first-round pick, needs to complement Shaun Phillips to give the pass rush a boost.

--RB Ryan Mathews' status is unclear after he aggravated his ankle injury before the bye week. Mathews has been slowed by the ailment since Week 2.

--WR Malcom Floyd (hamstring) hasn't suffered any setbacks with his injury, and expects to play Nov. 22.

--TE Antonio Gates (foot, toe) will try to go this week; it helps that he gets an extra day with the game on Monday.



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