SAN DIEGO (AP) — The San Diego Chargers aren’t used to fast starts under Norv Turner, so they definitely like the feel of being 2-0 for the first time in the coach’s mostly beleaguered six seasons.
The Chargers used their depth to beat the Tennessee Titans 38-10 on Sunday. This is their first 2-0 start since 2006 under Marty Schottenheimer, who was fired despite the Chargers going 14-2 before losing their playoff opener to New England.
Quarterback Philip Rivers said the Chargers are playing better than this time last year, when they were heading toward a somewhat disjointed 4-1 start. A six-game losing streak followed, which was just enough to keep the Chargers out of the playoffs for the second straight year.
“We’re just in a little better sync, a little more rhythm,” Rivers said Monday. “You can just feel it, you can see it on the practice field and all the way around. We’re playing better and obviously it’s about maintaining it and it’s week to week. We won the first two games. That’s all we’ve done and you have to keep doing it week after week. We have a tough one this week in Atlanta.”
Up next is a home game Sunday against Atlanta, which played Denver on Monday night.
San Diego dominated Tennessee with some big performances by backups Dante Rosario and Jackie Battle.
Rosario, the third-string tight end, caught a career-high three touchdown passes. Battle, seeing extensive time because Ryan Mathews hasn’t returned from a broken collarbone, had two 1-yard scoring runs in the fourth quarter.
Rosario and Battle are among several newcomers brought in via free agency and the draft to plug the team’s many holes.
“I think the newness hasn’t necessarily worn off but I think there’s a great deal of comfort with every guy,” Rivers said. “You look at the guys that played big roles yesterday and there are guys that it is their first year with us, in addition to everyone that played a hand in it. The best way I can describe it is that there is a group of guys who are hungry and love to play. Everyone has bought into what their role is and how they will do that role to help us win. It is a super unselfish team all the way through, it’s just win. I just want to win and that’s how every guy thinks: `I just want to win, how can I help us win?'”
In Rosario’s case, “From Day One, the thing I noticed with Dante is he’s an easy guy to throw to,” Rivers said. “He’s real smooth, real natural, an easy guy to feel.”
San Diego is one of five NFL teams to start 2-0. Whichever team wins Monday night between Denver and Atlanta will also be 2-0.
The Chargers opened with a 22-14 win at Oakland. Oakland and Tennessee are a combined 0-4 and have been outscored a combined 129-50.
Turner said he liked the Chargers’ fast start and strong finish against the Titans. The Chargers ran the ball hard in the fourth quarter.
“We still have a number of issues we have to take care of and we will start addressing those today,” Turner said. “The game wasn’t anywhere as clean as I’d like it to be. We have a physical group of guys up front on defense. We’ve added to that with our draft picks and some of the people we signed. We have great quickness and speed. That’s a great combination and the fact that we’ve started off playing the run the way we have, is, to me, the biggest thing I see so far.
“We will be tested as heavily as you can be tested on Sunday, when we take on Atlanta.”
The Chargers waived cornerback Greg Gatson and re-signed offensive lineman Reggie Wells. The Chargers had released Wells on Saturday in order to promote Gatson from the practice squad.