Rivers on target as Chargers jolt Chiefs
Rivers on target as Chargers jolt Chiefs
Rivers became just the sixth player to complete 90 percent of his passes in a single game, connecting on 18 of 20 attempts for 220 yards and a pair of touchdowns that helped the Chargers (4-4) snap a run of three straight defeats.
Rivers hit tight end Antonio Gates in the first quarter and receiver Malcom Floyd in the fourth for his touchdowns.
Rivers said he had his passing rhythm dialed in.
“You definitely feel it,” Rivers told reporters. “Playing quarterback in a lot of ways is like a jump shooter, when you get going and you’re in a rhythm and you know it.
“It was one of those nights.” The Chargers defense also put points on the board with two fourth-quarter touchdowns.
San Diego’s win over their AFC West rivals will give some breathing space to head coach Turner, who came under fire during the Chargers’ tailspin, while the Chiefs were left feeling the pressure after a fifth straight defeat.
The Chiefs (1-7) have not had a lead in regulation time in any game this season and their only victory came on an overtime field goal against New Orleans on Sept. 23.
San Diego took the opening kickoff and marched 80-yards for the first score of the game, Rivers hitting Gates with a 14-yard touchdown strike.
Kansas City looked ready to answer right back but fumbled on the San Diego 22-yard line and the Chargers converted the turnover into a 25-yard Nick Novak field goal to lead 10-0.
Ryan Succop got the Chiefs on the scoreboard with a 49-yard field late in the second quarter.
Rivers was on fire in the first half, connecting on 13 straight passes before his first incompletion.
However, after pushing the Chargers to the Kansas City one-yard line in the final seconds of the half, the San Diego quarterback undid much of his good work by throwing an interception in the end zone.
Rivers left the field to a shower of boos despite his near-faultless performance.
“I came out tonight and said, ‘Whatever happens I’m stepping up in the pocket on every drop and if I decide to throw it, I’m ripping it,’” said Rivers. “I just ripped one I shouldn’t have ripped.
“That was about as good as I can play in a half and that’s the loudest I have ever been booed.” Succop connected on a 41-yarder to chop the San Diego lead to 10-6 entering the final quarter.
The Chargers opened the fourth with an 80-yard drive, all of it on the ground, until Rivers hooked up with Floyd on a 13-yard touchdown pass.
In control 17-6, the Chargers defense delivered the knockout punch with a pair of scores, Shaun Phillips jumping on a fumble after Cassel had been stripped of the ball in the end zone.
On the Chiefs’ next possession, Demorrio Williams picked off Cassel and returned it 59 yards to cap a 21 point fourth quarter scoring burst for the Chargers.
Ahmed defends Pakistan squad as ‘best of the best’
- Fawad Alam is a seasoned player, but the players we selected are also equally good and have been scoring continuously as well, says Pakistani skipper
- Former test opener Ramiz Raja claims there are flaws in Alam’s batting technique
ISLAMABAD: Pakistan captain Sarfraz Ahmed has defended the 16-man national squad for tours of Ireland and England as the “best of the best” despite criticism over the omission of batsman Fawad Alam.
“It’s not like I voted him (Alam) out,” Ahmed said on the last day of Pakistan’s training camp in Lahore on Saturday, adding that “I would have picked all the 25 ... but we had to pick the best of the best 16 players.”
Wasim Akram was among several former Pakistan test players who have criticized selectors for ignoring Alam in the middle order — especially since Misbah-ul-Haq and Younis Khan have now retired.
Alam was among 25 players called up for the camp after scoring consistently on the domestic circuit, but he failed to make the final squad.
Former test opener Ramiz Raja claimed there were flaws in Alam’s batting technique and that he would not have considered the left-hander, considering the tough conditions in England.
Ahmed played down the dispute.
“People can make as much reasons to talk, but there is nothing like flaws in anyone’s batting technique,” Ahmed said. “If you look back, Fawad had played a test in 2009 and he is a seasoned player ... (but) the players we selected are also equally good and have been scoring continuously as well.”
Ahmed said it had been a “unanimous decision” by coach, captain and selectors.
Pakistan has included uncapped batsmen Usman Salahuddin and Saad Ali in the final 16, as well as Fakhar Zaman, who has done well in limited-overs cricket but is yet to play a test match.
Misbah and Younis will be missed on a tour of England where Misbah scored a century at Lord’s in 2016 and Younis made 218 at The Oval in the fourth test to draw the series 2-2.
Pakistan has two four-day matches against Kent and Northamptonshire before meeting Ireland in a one-off test at Dublin, starting May 11. It plays two tests against England, starting May 24.
Pakistan will also play Scotland on June 12-13 in two Twenty20 Internationals.
Pakistan faced a major blow when its premier legspinner Yasir Shah was ruled out due to injury. However, Ahmed said he wasn’t sure that Shadab Khan, who has played just one test match, would make it to the final team with the English conditions more suitable for pace.
“The weather will be much cooler and I am not even sure if we are going to play a spinner,” Ahmed said.