SAN DIEGO (AP) — If the San Diego Chargers beat winless Jacksonville on Sunday, they'll be above .500 for the first time this season.
That's a big deal for a team that looked so dismal in a loss at Oakland before using a methodical, balanced offense to beat Andrew Luck and the Indianapolis Colts 19-9 Monday night.
Now the Chargers (3-3) will try to win consecutive games for the first time this season.
"I thought this was a turning point for our season," said quarterback Philip Rivers, who led a balanced offense that produced several long scoring drives. "That doesn't mean it's going to take care of itself, but 2-4 would have been quite a bind to be in. We've got to get Jacksonville next week before the bye and find ourselves at 4-3 and see what happens the rest of the way."
As it is, the Chargers remain three games behind the unbeaten Denver Broncos and Kansas City Chiefs in the AFC West.
The Chargers weren't saddled with the turnovers and other mistakes they made at Oakland. But they did have to settle for four field goals from Nick Novak. The game's only touchdown was a 22-yard pass from Rivers to rookie Keenan Allen, who had another big game.
"It was a great team win," rookie coach Mike McCoy said Tuesday.
McCoy praised the game plan by offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt that produced 227 yards passing and 147 yards rushing, including 102 yards by Ryan Mathews. The Chargers averaged 4 yards a carry a week after being held to 32 yards rushing on 19 carries for a 1.7-yard average in the loss at Oakland. And they had no turnovers a week after committing five at Oakland, including three interceptions by Rivers.
Of course, it helped that the Colts receivers had several big dropped passes.
But McCoy mentioned that the Chargers shouldn't have needed to rely so much on Novak. The Chargers had scoring drives of 17, 11 and 15 plays that ended with field goals, and a 12-play drive that resulted in Rivers' TD pass to Allen.