Streaking Chargers take charge in AFC West
November 23, 2009
SAN DIEGO – Five weeks after looking dead in the water, the San Diego Chargers are in control of the AFC West.
Rather than revel too long in his team’s five-game winning streak, though, coach Norv Turner said Monday that the division is better than its reputation.
After beating the staggering Denver Broncos 32-3 on Sunday, the Chargers are preparing for Sunday’s home game against the Kansas City Chiefs, who are coming off an upset over the defending Super Bowl champion Pittsburgh Steelers.
Turner pointed to that upset by the Chiefs, and Oakland’s surprise win over AFC North leader Cincinnati, in stressing that it’s not wise to underestimate anybody.
They’re the same Chiefs the Chargers routed 37-7 to start their winning streak.
“When you go beat a team like that, sometimes people assume, ‘You went to Kansas City and you should beat them because they’re not very good,’ or ‘You beat Oakland because they aren’t very good,”‘ Turner said.
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“Then you turn around and see Kansas City beat Pittsburgh and Oakland beat Cincinnati, two pretty good football teams, then it starts to reconfirm some of the things I believe,” Turner added. “Maybe I haven’t lost it completely in terms of understanding completely what this league is all about.”
Turner said it was the Chargers’ most complete game this year. San Diego got a big lead and wore down the Broncos.
“We were able to do that and our offensive line appreciates it and our backs appreciate it and our defense appreciates it.” Turner said. “I think that was good. I think you get into games like that by playing great in the kicking game like we did. Obviously we were hurt in the first game against these guys. I thought our coverage was outstanding.”
After allowing Eddie Royal to return a kickoff and a punt for touchdowns in a 34-23 Denver win in San Diego five weeks earlier, the Chargers held Denver without a touchdown.
Turner noted that that the Chargers are rebounding from a number of injuries sustained in the opener.
“That’s a process,” he said. “It’s not going to happen overnight. I think we can get to where people want us to be. To me it takes everyone believing that we can do that. This has shown and what it should show our players and everyone involved is if you believe in something, you keep doing it over and over and you keep working to get better, then good things can happen for you.”
The win was tempered when right tackle Jeromey Clary injured a ligament in his left ankle. Turner called it “a serious situation.”
The coach said the Chargers are still far from peaking.
“The best thing about it is that we’re not anywhere near where we can be. We’ve got a lot of young players that I think get better each week,” he said. “I think some of the things we’re doing with our different guys are helping us get better. We’re finding different ways to get different people the football. We’re finding different ways to use all our talented guys and get them in positions where they can make plays.”
Defensive end Luis Castillo has a strained calf.