Bolts Alternate Between Tricks and Treats

The question heading into San Diego's Halloween night matchup at Kansas City: Are the Chargers for real or just masquerading as a potential playoff team that only wins against inferior opponents?

The Chiefs weren't very good when the Chargers beat them 20-17 on Sept. 25, but Kansas City has won three straight and is getting back in the AFC West race.

When the Chargers have been matched against lesser rivals -- the Vikings, Chiefs, Dolphins and Broncos -- they've collected four victories. But their two losses came in contests San Diego believed would be statement games.

The Chargers fell to the Patriots in Week 2 and Sunday to the Jets.

"All I hear for six months was that the regular season didn't matter," struggling quarterback Philip Rivers said. "Now everyone wants to know what is the matter? We're 4-2. We had a chance to win the (Jets) game, but we didn't. The ball is going to be kicked off Monday night in Kansas City whether we won it or lost it."

Rivers has misplaced his touch, one that made him among the most accurate passers in the game. He has thrown nine interceptions in six games, and his 11 turnovers easily eclipse his seven touchdown passes. His 82.3 passer rating is well off last year's mark of 101.8, when he became only the third player in NFL history, joining Steve Young and Peyton Manning, to compile three consecutive seasons with a 100-plus rating.

Coach Norv Turner gave credit to the Jets' defense rather than saying Rivers' two fourth-quarter interceptions were an indicator of the quarterback's dwindling production.

"Every team they've played, they've been able to disrupt the quarterback and make plays on third down and put pressure on the quarterback," Turner said.

Safety Eric Weddle knows the pressure is on the Chargers to rebound quickly. He realizes the Chiefs aren't playing like the team the Chargers edged last month in San Diego.

"It's going to be a tough game," Weddle said. "At Kansas City, Monday night, Halloween, it's going to be rocking.

"The next team is not going to wait for us if we are sulking or resting on why we lost. We got to learn from it, get better and get out and work."


LINEUP WATCH: Cornerback Antoine Cason is coming off his worst game as a pro, having surrendered three touchdown passes Sunday to Jets receiver Plaxico Burress. Cason has struggled this season, and the Chargers could be close to giving rookie Marcus Gilchrist a longer look in practice. The team has been high on Gilchrist, a second-round pick, since camp, and he showed well when replacing an injured Quentin Jammer earlier this year. Gilchrist could see some extended practice reps, which could lead to more playing time.

TRENDING: San Diego travels to Kansas City, the first of many challenging road games. The Chargers went 3-5 away from Qualcomm Stadium last year, and they have lost two of three road games this season. The Chargers also have upcoming trips to Chicago, Jacksonville, Detroit and Oakland.


--LT Marcus McNeill (neck) left Sunday's game but was able to return. He'll likely start this week, but the ailment is worth watching, as McNeill has undergone neck surgery.

--OLB Shaun Phillips (foot) hobbled off, and his availability for this week could be in question. He's also been battling a hamstring injury.

--OLB Larry English sustained a foot injury, and that's a big red flag; he's had two foot surgeries.

--WR Malcom Floyd (hip) should be OK for the Monday night game against Kansas City.

--RB Ryan Mathews (thumb) is expected to start next Monday against the Chiefs.

--RB Mike Tolbert (hand, hamstring) is starting to get nicked, but he'll likely go Monday against Kansas City.

--LG Kris Dielman (concussion) will be evaluated during the week, although the injury is not believed to be serious.

--OL Scott Mruczkowski (neck) was forced from the game. He will be evaluated this week.

What are Chargers fans saying after Sunday's loss? Find out in the message boards.

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