KANSAS CITY, MO -- For years the Chargers have had trouble flying east and playing well in games that start at noon in the Central Time Zone. That's a body-clock kickoff at 10 a.m. for the guys from San Diego.
But on Sunday, the Chargers woke up bright-eyed and rolled into Arrowhead Stadium, bashing the Kansas City Chiefs 37-20. San Diego is now 3-1 on the season and holds first place in the AFC West after the first quarter of the season.
The Chiefs (1-3) were the team that appeared to sleep walk through the first half. As has been their custom this season, they fell behind early and were never able to catch up. It didn't help that Kansas City's offense turned the ball over six times in the game.
In the first half, the Chiefs turned the ball over five times and San Diego turned those into 17 points. They didn't need much more.
After the opening kickoff quarterback Philip Rivers drove the Chargers on a nine-play drive, finding wide receiver Eddie Royal for a 4-yard touchdown pass for a 7-0 lead.
The initial Kansas City turnover came on a pass by quarterback Matt Cassel that was intended for wide receiver Dwayne Bowe. Instead, it was grabbed by safety Eric Weddle and that led to a 24-yard field goal from Nick Novak, who was filling in for injured Nate Kaeding.
About two minutes later, running back Jamaal Charles fumbled and San Diego linebacker Shaun Phillips recovered at the Chiefs 5. Running back Jackie Battle scored on a 1-yard run to make it 17-0.
About seven minutes into the second quarter, Novak's 47-yard field goal pushed it to 20-0 before Charles fumbled again and San Diego recovered. Rivers threw an interception to cornerback Brandon Flowers and that provided a spark for the Chiefs offense, as it drove down for a touchdown scored by Charles on 37-yard run. The PAT kick was botched on a bad snap, but the Chiefs were on the board 20-6.
A Cassel pass was intercepted by Chargers linebacker Donald Butler who returned it 21 yards for a touchdown, extending the halftime lead to 27-6.
After halftime the Chiefs momentarily got their act together, going 80 yards in 13 plays. They scored on a 14-yard scoring pass Charles, cutting the lead to 27-13.
Both teams added fourth quarter scores -- Battle caught a TD pass from Rivers and Bowe caught one from Cassel. Novak added a late 45-yard field goal for the final score.
NOTES: Charles was the NFL's leading rusher going into the game and finished with 92 yards. ... Bowe caught seven passes for 108 yards. ... Jared Gaither started at left tackle for the Chargers, his first appearance of the 2012 season. Gaither missed all four preseason games and the first three games of the regular season because of a back injury. ... The Chargers were forced to make a change at kicker after Nate Kaeding came down with a groin problem late last week. They signed Nick Novak, who kicked for San Diego last season.