SAN DIEGO (AP) — Norv Turner can breathe a little easier after his San Diego Chargers rediscovered the end zone and ended a three-game losing streak.
Romeo Crennel, though, will surely feel the heat after his Kansas City Chiefs committed four more turnovers and lost their fifth straight game.
Antonio Gates caught a 14-yard yard scoring pass from Philip Rivers on the game’s opening drive to snap a streak of six straight quarters without a touchdown and the Chargers went on to a 31-13 victory over the staggering Chiefs on Thursday night.
Turner had been heavily criticized by fans after the Chargers (4-4) blew double-digit, second-half leads in losses to New Orleans and Denver, and then lost 7-6 at Cleveland on Sunday.
Still, at the start of halftime, some fans in one end zone unfurled a big yellow banner that read: ”Mr. Spanos, please fire A.J. Norv.”
Team president Dean Spanos decided in January to bring back both Turner and general manager A.J. Smith even though the Chargers missed the playoffs for the second straight year.
Rivers, who looked shaky during the losing streak, did his part by completing 18 of 20 passes – a career-best 90 percent – for 220 yards and two touchdowns, with one interception. Rivers also threw a 13-yard TD pass to Malcom Floyd early in the fourth quarter.
The Chiefs’ four turnovers ran their NFL-high mark to a staggering 29, which have led to 104 points.
The Chiefs (1-7) still haven’t led in regulation this season. Their only victory came when Ryan Succop kicked the winning field goal against the Saints in overtime.
With the Chiefs trailing 17-6, Matt Cassel fumbled as he was sacked by San Diego’s Jarret Johnson in the end zone and Shaun Phillips recovered for a touchdown early in the fourth quarter. On the next drive, Cassel’s high pass deflected off Dexter McCluster’s hands and was intercepted by Demorrio Williams, who returned it 59 yards for a touchdown.
Williams, who played for the Chiefs the last four seasons, forced a fumble in the first quarter.
The Chiefs had six turnovers in a 37-20 home loss to the Chargers on Sept. 30.
In just 2 minutes, 9 seconds, the Chargers’ defense scored as many touchdowns as the offense has in 10 quarters.
Gates’ first-quarter score was San Diego’s first touchdown since the star tight end caught an 11-yard pass in the first half against Denver on Oct. 15. That score gave San Diego a 24-0 lead, but Peyton Manning rallied the Broncos to a 35-24 win.
The Chargers got only two field goals from Nick Novak in a 7-6 loss at Cleveland on Sunday, their third straight defeat.
After San Diego scored on the opening drive, Kansas City went on a 17-play drive, converting four third downs, but Dwayne Bowe fumbled after a 10-yard reception. Williams caused the fumble and Quentin Jammer recovered.
Bowe’s fumble set up Novak’s 25-yard field goal with 9:10 left in the second quarter.
After Kansas City decided not to go for it on fourth-and-1 from the San Diego 31, Succop kicked a 49-yard field goal with 2:51 left before halftime.
The Chargers had a third-and-goal from the 1 in the closing seconds of the half when Rivers was intercepted by Eric Berry.
Succop had a 41-yard field goal in the third quarter.