Division opponent - Chargers wary

Coach Marty Schottenheimer is already busy building up the Arrowhead Stadium mystique.

The Chargers, fresh off their blasting of the 49ers on Sunday, 48-19, venture back into AFC West competition when facing the Chiefs.

Not that a Schottenheimer team would ever sneak into his old stomping grounds, but the Chargers arrive with a bull's eye. They are coming off two impressive wins (Pittsburgh, San Francisco) and the Chiefs are smarting from getting shellacked by the Steelers, 45-7, on Sunday.

"We look forward to the challenge this week, which is going to be a Kansas City team that has a little bur under the saddle, as it were," Schottenheimer said.

Beware of the wounded animal was Schottenheimer's Monday message. He pointed out that a team often rebounds after being embarrassed.

"You look at most teams that have that kind of circumstance occur and there is a dramatic change in the subsequent week," Schottenheimer said. "That is the nature of most teams in the league because that competitiveness that is part of all us shows up in those situations."

But the Chargers can't fret too much about the Chiefs' state. Instead, they have to keep their No. 3 offense rolling and their No. 1 defense smacking people in the mouth. They have to avoid a let up with Missouri's other team -- the surprising Rams -- awaiting the following week.

"We got to worry about us," Schottenheimer stressed. "We're not going to get caught up in what they have done or what may be thinking. We got our own business to take care of and that is the way we are going to approach it."

The Chargers often tiptoe into Arrowhead. Why not, after losing there in nine of their past 11 visits. That stretch includes a seven-game losing streak to the Chiefs in K.C.

"In the final analysis, it really comes down to us," Schottenheimer said. "And it always does."

49ers notes:

There does not appear to be a lot of help on the way for the 49ers. After the team's 48-19 loss to the Chargers, San Francisco's defense is ranked 28th in the league (362.0 yards per game), 29th in passing defense (242.3) and dead last in points allowed (32.3) after the Chargers scored on eight of their 10 possessions Sunday.

The 48 points were the most the 49ers have surrendered in a home game in franchise history, dating back to 1946.

"The problems on defense are collective," coach Mike Nolan said. "That falls on the coaches and the players. We need to do a better job of putting the guys in situations to help them. And also they have to make some plays when they're there."

The classic illustration of that point came on the Chargers' first drive of the game. A communication problem on the sideline had the 49ers in the wrong defense with the personnel group that was on the field.

As a result, backup linebacker T.J. Slaughter went out to cover Chargers tight end Antonio Gates, who was flanked to the left. Nolan was trying to get a timeout called, he said, and no player on the field noticed the extreme mismatch.

Still, the mistake would have gone unnoticed if Slaughter had made the tackle on the short pass to Gates. Instead, Slaughter said he tried to strip the ball. Gates broke that tackle, then also eluded the tackle efforts of cornerbacks Sammy Davis and B.J. Tucker en route to a 57-yard touchdown play.

"We're young, but there's no excuse for making the kind of mistakes we're making," 49ers safety Mike Adams said.


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