Chiefs lose again

Sunday, December 2, 2007 | 4:29 p.m. CST; updated 8:39 p.m. CDT, Friday, July 18, 2008

KANSAS CITY — Norv Turner finally found a way to beat Kansas City.

All it took was two touchdowns and 177 yards rushing by LaDainian Tomlinson and eight sacks by the defense. Toss in Philip Rivers' 38-yard touchdown pass and the San Diego Chargers waltzed away with a 24-10 victory Sunday, making their coach 1-6 lifetime against the Chiefs.

Since a 30-16 loss to Kansas City plunged them to 1-3 on Sept. 30 and triggered an outcry against Turner, the Chargers (7-5) have gone on a 6-2 spree and seized the lead in the AFC West.

The Chiefs (4-8) have lost six of eight and five in a row and could be on the brink of their worst season in two decades.

By the middle of the fourth quarter, normally loud and packed Arrowhead Stadium was quiet and about half-empty.

Shawne Merriman had three of the eight sacks, which broke the Chiefs' record of seven allowed in a game. The Chargers also had three interceptions, two off Damon Huard and one off Tyler Thigpen, the third-team quarterback who entered late in the fourth quarter when Huard injured his hand.

Hounded and hurried throughout the cold, windy afternoon by an unrelenting pass rush, Huard was 19-of-34 for 186 yards, with a lost fumble — recovered by Merriman — to go with his two picks.

He was starting for Brodie Croyle. For much of the second half, the Chiefs also had two other starters sidelined, linebacker Donnie Edwards with a hamstring injury and left tackle Damion McIntosh with a knee sprain.

Tomlinson had only 60 yards on 13 carries in the first half, but came on after intermission with scoring runs of 31 and 28 yards.

On San Diego's third touchdown drive, Tomlinson got loose for a 34-yard gain on third down. Then on third-and-1 from the 28, he dashed through a hole on the left side and sped into the end zone for a 24-10 lead with 10:15 to go.

The Chiefs, who have five home losses for the first time since 1980, had two bright spots. Tight end Tony Gonzalez caught 10 passes for 140 yards. And defensive end Jared Allen, after getting two sacks, shocked the crowd and the Chargers by catching a touchdown pass.

Gonzalez beat triple coverage and made a leaping grab for a 31-yard gain to the 4. On third-and-goal from the 2, the 6-foot-6, 270-pound defensive end ran onto the field and lined up on the left side. The Chargers appeared unsure what to make of him.

When the ball was snapped, he took off for the left corner of the end zone with safety Clinton Hart chasing. Allen made an over-the-shoulder basket catch for the TD and a short-lived 10-3 lead.

John Carney, signed on Monday, booted a 38-yard field goal for KC in the first quarter. But his lack of distance came up big following Allen's TD.

His kickoff went only to the Chargers 27, and Antonio Cromartie returned the ball to the San Diego 49. Five plays later, Vincent Jackson beat double coverage in the end zone and hauled in Rivers' 38-yard touchdown pass.

Tied 10-10 in the third quarter, the Chargers took the lead on a drive that was almost all Tomlinson. He picked up 15 yards on a screen pass. On the next play, the offensive line split open a big hole for him to dart through. Once in the clear, he turned on his speed to outrun the pursuit.

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