With head coach Norv Turner’s job security becoming an increasing question mark following three straight losses, the San Diego Chargers helped table any immediate concerns over Turner’s fate with a 31-13 victory over the Kansas City Chiefs Thursday night.
Quarterback Philip Rivers and linebacker Jarret Johnson each played key roles as the Chargers scored 21 points in the fourth quarter to pull away from the hapless Chiefs. Rivers completed 18 of 20 passes for 220 yards with a pair of touchdown throws to Antonio Gates and Malcolm Floyd. Johnson sacked Chiefs quarterback Matt Cassel in the endzone and forced a fumble that was recovered by Shaun Phillips for a touchdown.
Rivers and Johnson were among the first to come to the defense of their coach.
“I think we want to win for him every week. We really do,” Rivers said. “You play for a lot of things, some more obvious than others, but we play for our coach.”
Rivers said the blame for their losing streak can’t solely be placed on the shoulders of their coach. The players are just as responsible for the mistakes that led to losses on the road at New Orleans and Cleveland and blowing a 24-0 halftime lead at home against the Denver Broncos.
“In many of these cases [Turner] could have definitely pointed it to us because — I know it, we all know it — we’ve made some terrible plays that cost us some of these games. It had nothing to do with a coaching decision or a coach. He’s had every chance to do that and he doesn’t do it. The guys appreciate that and we know that,” Rivers said.
Johnson shared the sentiment saying that with Turner more than willing to stand behind them, the players aren’t going to bail on him.
“He deserves better than what we’ve given him these last three weeks,” linebacker Jarret Johnson told Kevin Acee of the San Diego Union-Tribune. “We’re going to stand behind him. We’re going to win games for us as a team. We’re going to win games for Norv.
As rocky as the road has been, the Chargers are back to .500 at 4-4 and find themselves just a game back of the division-leading Broncos. San Diego is 3-1 against the AFC West and is still very much in the hunt for the division title. With the support of his players and the playoffs still within reach, Turner seems to have at least bought himself some more time to pace the Chargers’ sidelines.