Bolts Won't Look Past Chiefs Again

Ready to shoot out of the gates following their bye week, the Chargers must be careful not to stumble over an overmatched division foe. Although the rebuilding Chiefs come to town with a dismal 1-7 mark, Kansas City remains the only AFC team to win at Qualcomm Stadium since 2005.

Norv Turner vividly remembers last season's home game against the Kansas City Chiefs. In the fourth quarter of a seven-point game, LB Derrick Johnson sacked QB Philip Rivers and forced a fumble. DB Tyron Brackenridge scooped up the ball and ran 50 yards for a TD to push the Chiefs lead to 30-16. The Chargers walked off the field with a 1-3 record as the fans called for former coach Marty Schottenheimer.

The odds are stacked against the Chiefs as they seek to deliver another upset. While most teams have found success attacking the Chargers defense through the air, the Chiefs' passing attack ranks No. 28 and relies on the unproven arm of No. 3 quarterback Tyler Thigpen.

"Definitely, the more you play as a quarterback the more you're going to feel comfortable," said Thigpen, who has started only three games in his career.

RB Larry Johnson
Jaime Squire/Getty

The Kansas City running game may struggle to provide balance, as Pro Bowl RB Larry Johnson has been suspended for the game by the NFL for a violation of the league's personal conduct policy.

With so many problems on offense, the Chiefs defense is under tremendous pressure to keep the damage to a minimum. That's a tall task against the Chargers, who lead the AFC in points per game (28).

"We just need to come around and focus a little bit harder," said Chiefs DE Turk McBride. "If we just learn how to finish and do what we have to do, including myself and everyone else on this team, we should be a team that a lot of people can't stop."

Despite the many obstacles facing the Chiefs, the Chargers remain wary of a let-down. Herm Edwards leads a well-coached team that rarely beats itself. The Chiefs also boast several players who can put pressure on opponents, including WR Dwayne Bowe, TE Tony Gonzalez, DE Tamba Hali and SS Bernard Pollard.

If the Chiefs can keep the game close into the fourth quarter, the pressure falls squarely on the Chargers. San Diego has lost each of its last two contests due to late-game interceptions by Rivers. The Chiefs, who rank No. 6 in the AFC with seven interceptions, would love to make it three-for-three.

Coach Turner is guarded against the possibility: "There are a lot of things we need to work on. The biggest thing, obviously, is finishing games. Finishing plays and finishing games."

Last season's home loss to the Chiefs was an ill-timed upset. If the Chargers lose the rematch on Sunday, it could be a nail in the coffin.

Michael Lombardo is a member of the Pro Football Writers of America and a long-time contributor to the network. His analysis has been published by the NFL Network, Fox Sports and MySpace Sports. He has followed the Chargers for more than 15 years and covered the team since 2003.

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