Tests begin anew for San Diego

A tough stretch of games is on the horizon for the San Diego Chargers with five games in division still on the calendar.

It's back to the AFC West for the surging Chargers.

After opening the season with a win over the hapless Raiders, the Chargers haven't faced another AFC West rival. But that changes Sunday, when the Chargers travel to Kansas City to face the struggling Chiefs.

"It has been a while," Tomlinson said about seeing an AFC West foe. "Divisional games are big; you have to be able to win divisional games so we have to be on our game. We need to really be focused this week."

The Chargers, like most of NFL teams, have their troubles at Arrowhead Stadium, where they have lost eight of the past nine. Plus they get a Chiefs team which is stinging from its lopsided loss to the Steelers.

"It's going to be a big test for us," Tomlinson said. "Obviously they had a big loss Sunday and I'm pretty sure they are going to be looking to get back on track. It's going to be a tough environment to go play at, but it's always fun going up there and playing. I'm looking forward to it."

While the Chiefs are reeling, the Chargers are hitting their stride after blasting the 49ers, 48-19. Quarterback Philip Rivers had the best game of his young career, throwing for two scores and 334 yards with no interceptions.

"We won a game, put we have to put it aside and get ready for a tough road trip to Kansas City," Rivers said.

"We're excited to be where we are at 4-1 and to have a divisional game on the road in Kansas City, a place where they whipped us last year late in the year. We need to go there and be able to play well."

The offense might be hard-pressed to match the explosion against San Francisco, where they racked up 48 points and 421 yards. But veteran wide receiver Keenan McCardell disagrees.

"We are striving to be the best and I think that is what that side of the ball feels," McCardell said. "Each week we go out to be better but it's not about getting better anymore it's getting it to perfection."

Guard Mike Goff would like perfection, too -- but he'll settle for a win in the Midwest.

"We got to go into Kansas City and that is a tough, tough place to play and win," he said. "We know we need to get all the points we can get and that is just a simple fact."

Defenses are having a tough time keeping up with the Chargers because the passing game behind Rivers has found its legs. Rivals had been content to load up against the run to stop Tomlinson, tempting Rivers to beat them.

But Rivers has proven to be up to the task, which hasn't gone unnoticed or unappreciated by his teammates.

"He's just being Philip," tight end Antonio Gates said. "The Philip that we knew he could be and the Philip that the whole staff knew that he could become. What is scary that he's only at five games so he has some room for improvement."

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