SAN DIEGO -- Following a game featuring two head coaches on the hot seat, San Diego's Norv Turner can breathe a little easier.
His Chargers scored three touchdowns in a three-minute span of the fourth quarter en route to a 31-13 victory over the Kansas City Chiefs on Thursday night at Qualcomm Stadium.
The Chiefs, meanwhile, did coach Romeo Crennel no favors.
"I thought our guys did a great job coming back from Cleveland on a short week, zeroing in on what we had to do in terms of preparation for this game," Turner said. "I thought it was going to be the type of game it was -- a challenge in (our) division. We know each other extremely well.
"Obviously, big plays we made defensively (keyed the win). We were able to turn the game the way it did."
The victory snapped San Diego's three-game losing streak.
Before the outburst in the fourth, the Chargers (4-4) had managed just one touchdown in nine quarters, which resulted in them being lustily booed by the announced crowd of 55,831 as they left the field at halftime even though the home team led 10-3.
Unhappy with the recent performance of Turner and the Chargers, who have missed the playoffs the past two seasons, fans expressed their outrage and disappointment through sports-talk radio and social media after Sunday's 7-6 setback against the Browns.
There also had been much speculation by the San Diego media that a loss to the Chiefs might have put Turner's job in jeopardy. Turner dismissed such talk days before the game.
The Chiefs contributed to their demise with four turnovers, two of which the Chargers converted into touchdowns. Kansas City (1-7) leads the NFL with 29 turnovers, which opponents have converted into 104 points.
"It's absolutely disappointing," Chiefs quarterback Matt Cassel said. "Romeo told us before the game we were going to have to eliminate penalties and turnovers, and I don't know if we've accomplished any of that. We played hard, but again, the end result comes down to turnovers, and that just continues to rear its head for us."
The Chargers took advantage of two takeaways in the fourth quarter, both coming after San Diego quarterback Philip Rivers tossed a 13-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Malcom Floyd with 11:33 remaining for a 17-6 lead.
About a minute later, Chargers linebacker Shaun Phillips pounced on a Cassel fumble in the end zone for a 24-6 lead.
The Chargers scored again when linebacker Demorrio Williams, who forced a fumble in the first half, intercepted a Cassel pass and returned it 59 yards for a 31-6 lead with 8:33 remaining.
"It felt good, especially the opportunity to get the win," Williams said. "That's the main thing. We came down today and competed. I just think it was a team win, especially the defensive side. I think the guys, when we came into the locker room, our main focus is to head out and finish the game. We knew we had to finish the game in the second half."
Before San Diego's fourth-quarter eruption, Kansas City pulled within 10-6 on a 41-yard field goal by Ryan Succop late in the third quarter.
The win pulled San Diego to within a half-game of the division-leading Denver Broncos, who visit the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday.
Rivers, who failed to throw a touchdown pass at Cleveland and was blanked in the second half of San Diego's 35-24 defeat to Denver on Oct. 15, completed 18 of 20 passes for 220 yards and two touchdowns. He also threw an interception.
Cassel finished 19 of 29 for 181 yards, and he committed the two key turnovers.
Overall, the Chargers finished with 339 yards, compared to 289 for the Chiefs, who lost their fifth game in a row.
"We played a little bit better in the first half than we have recently. That's not good enough. We have to play better, point blank," Chiefs cornerback Javier Arenas said.
The Chargers scored on their opening possession, marching 80 yards in seven plays, with Rivers hitting tight end Antonio Gates on a 14-yard pass for a 7-0 lead with 10:24 left in the first quarter.
The Chiefs followed with an eight-minute, ball-control drive on their first series, but Williams stripped wide receiver Dwayne Bowe for a fumble. Cornerback Quentin Jammer recovered it at the Chargers' 22 with 2:18 left in the quarter.
The turnover initiated a 12-play, 71-yard drive for the Chargers and resulted in a 25-yard field goal by Nick Novak with 9:10 remaining in the half for a 10-0 lead.
The Chiefs got on the board late in the first half when Succop connected on a 49-yard field goal with 2:51 left.
The Chargers missed a chance to increase the lead late in the half. They drove to the Chiefs' 1-yard line with less than 30 seconds remaining, but Rivers' pass for tight end Dante Rosario was picked off in the end zone by safety Eric Berry with 21 seconds left, ending the threat and allowing the Chiefs to remain within four points at halftime.
"I knew they were going to come at me because of the last game and the first drive," said Berry, referring to the Chargers' 37-20 win at Kansas City on Sept. 30. "For the most part, we did all right, but we did not get the win. There is something else we have to do."