Chiefs Provide Perfect Tonic for Ailing Bolts

After a divisional dud against the Denver Broncos, the San Diego Chargers bounced back in a big way on Sunday to embarrass the Kansas City Chiefs, 37-7. Philip Rivers led the charge with a three-score effort and improved to 3-0 in Arrowhead for his career.

Although the Chargers extended their streak of not scoring on the game's opening drive to 22 games, the offense got rolling soon thereafter to score on four of its next five possessions. The catalysts in that success were Philip Rivers and Vincent Jackson, who set a team record with five catches for 142 yards in the first half.

Jackson caught a 10-yard TD from Rivers late in the first quarter, one of Rivers' three scoring strikes on the day. Rivers also hit Malcom Floyd for 3 yards on the game's second drive and found Darren Sproles for 58 yards on San Diego's second drive of the third quarter.

LBs Tim Dobbins and Shawne Merriman keep Kansas City's offense in check.
Jaime Squire/Getty
Rivers went 18-of-30 for 268 yards and a 122.6 passer rating. That's in stark contrast to Chiefs QB Matt Cassel, who completed 40 percent of his passes (10 of 25) while finishing with less than 100 yards and a 1:3 touchdown-to-interception ratio.

Tim Dobbins, Paul Oliver and Steve Gregory each corralled his first interception of the season. Defensive coordinator Ron Rivera was especially happy to see Oliver and Gregory comes up with picks after Rivera shook up San Diego's safety rotation during the week, opting to use Gregory and Oliver in a nickel-back capacity. Gregory also picked up a sack -- the first of his career -- as did safety Eric Weddle.

Shaun Phillips got off the sack-schneid with a pair of Sunday. However, fellow outside ‘backer Shawne Merriman remains frustrated. It was another rough game for Merriman, as he had two offsides penalties that extended Chiefs drives, one of which negated an interception by Jacques Cesaire.

But overall, San Diego's defense enjoyed a strong performance. The defense allowed just 10 total first downs and 203 total yards.

San Diego's special teams were effective, as well, redeeming themselves after allowing two touchdowns a week ago against the Denver Broncos. Jacob Hester made the highlight play when he blocked a Dustin Colquitt punt in the fourth quarter and recovered it for the game's final score, rounding out the 30-point blowout.

It was Hester's second special-teams touchdown in the last three games. Against the Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 4, he stripped the ball form punt returner Stefan Logan and brought it back 41 yards for the touchdown.

The Chargers climb back to .500 with Sunday's victory, improving to 2-1 in the division. The Bolts have another divisional game coming up next week as they return home to Qualcomm Stadium to host the Oakland Raiders.

What is your reaction to Sunday's big victory? Talk about it in the message boards.

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. You can see more of his updates by following him on twitter.

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