Either the San Diego Chargers got good really fast or the Jacksonville Jaguars are very bad.

Or perhaps the Jaguars’ West Coast jinx is pretty real.

Whatever the reasoning, the Chargers got into the victory column on Sunday afternoon despite committing three first-half turnovers and having a punt blocked, beating turnover-prone Jacksonville 38-13.

The Chargers (1-1) still have to suffer the mortification of looking at the AFC West standings and seeing the Kansas City Chiefs (2-0) ahead of them but at least they played much better than the sad opening-week effort in which they lost to the young Chiefs before a national television audience.

Jacksonville has now been outscored 99-16 in three West Coast games over the past two seasons. The Jaguars were humiliated by Seattle 41-0 and lost to San Francisco 20-3 last season.

Sunday’s game didn’t go well for the Jaguars. Jacksonville committed six turnovers and quarterback David Garrard was intercepted four times.

Antoine Cason had two interceptions and forced a fumble for the Chargers, who marched downfield for a touchdown on their first possession and continued the assault all-game long. Quarterback Philip Rivers passed for 334 yards and three touchdowns, with two of the scores going to Antonio Gates. Malcom Floyd caught the other TD, while backup Mike Tolbert rushed for 82 yards and two TDs.

Tolbert replaced Ryan Mathews, the rookie tabbed as LaDainian Tomlinson’s heir apparent. Mathews injured an ankle and also is beginning to look like the anti-Tomlinson in that he has now lost two fumbles in two NFL games. Tomlinson, of course, was a staunch protector of the football while rolling up Hall of Fame numbers for the Chargers.

San Diego rolled up 477 offensive yards and did a much better job throwing the ball downfield, minimizing the absence of holdout receiver Vincent Jackson (badly missed against the Chiefs). Offensive tackle Marcus McNeill also is holding out and his absence was a nonfactor against the Jaguars.

Floyd had 95 yards receiving and Gates caught five passes, sharing the lead in that category with Craig “Buster” Davis, the often missing-in-action receiver who is staring opportunity in the face with Jackson holding out.

The Chargers now enter a relatively easy stretch of games despite the fact that three of their next four contests are on the road. The Chargers visit the Seattle Seahawks next Sunday, return home to face the Arizona Cardinals, and then play road games against the Oakland Raiders and St. Louis Rams.

If San Diego is as good as it looked against the Jaguars, the Chargers can look forward to a 5-1 start. Anything less than 4-2 would be a major disappointment.


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