The Chargers on Sunday beat an inferior team, which as they know twice over, is not always a given.
A 41-10 rout of the Arizona Cardinals, while the Chargers’ biggest margin of victory since the 2008 regular-season finale, was more settling than statement.
“We did what we were supposed to,” safety Eric Weddle.
Coming off a stunning loss at Seattle , their second such defeat in three games, the Chargers evened their record at 2-2 with dominating days from their defense, offensive line and tight end Antonio Gates. And perhaps, most importantly, they turned the ball over just once and had one of their best days in five years covering kickoffs.
Arizona had just 124 net yards, fewest allowed by the Chargers since 2002 and the seventh-fewest yards allowed in franchise history. That was thanks in large part to nine sacks, four of them by Shaun Phillips, who also had an interception and return for a touchdown.
Mike Tolbert had 16 carries for 100 yards and a touchdown, and Ryan Mathews ran nine times for 55 yards and a touchdown. The Chargers’ 180 yards rushing were their most in 10 games and their most since 2007 against an opponent other than the Denver Broncos.
Gates caught seven passes for 144 yards and two touchdowns.
Moreover, a week after giving the ball away five times and allowing two kickoff returns for touchdowns, the Chargers fumbled once and limited Arizona’s LaRod Stephens-Howling to an average of 17 yards on his seven returns.
“Our defense has been playing solid all year,” guard Kris Dielman said. “Eliminate the turnovers, cover kicks, this is what happens. We can win games and win by big (margins).”