After two tough losses, the Chargers needed this one -- and played like it.
Now the Chargers head to Oakland, with coach Norv Turner returning to one of his NFL outposts, where he coached for two years.
A little extra motivation this week, Coach?
"Here's what you do," Turner said. "You guys all talk about all that. And we look at tape. All that stuff doesn't mean anything to me or to us."
That's hard to believe. But what's real is the Chargers could go from wobbly to .500 in a short period of time.
Now that they have that first win to reach 1-2, next up are the Raiders and Miami Dolphins. The Chargers would be heavily favored in both, and could be 3-2 by mid-October.
HC Norv Turner
"It's always a perception thing," Turner tried to explain. "I'm not sure we blitzed a wholesale more, a dramatic amount different."
But the Chargers' pass rush was real -- after having but one true sack in each of the first two games.
Now it's on to Oakland, with the Chargers feeling better about themselves.
"It's big," wide receiver Vincent Jackson said of Monday's triumph. "We weren't saying it was a must-win but we knew our backs were against the wall."
--QB Philip Rivers added another solid performance to what has been a terrific start to the season. He was 19-for-25 passing for 250 yards and three touchdowns Monday and is the NFL's leader in TD passes. Rivers has nine, while Denver's Jay Cutler (eight) and Arizona's Kurt Warner (six) follow behind.
"He's playing at a level, man, that is unexplainable at this point," said TE Antonio Gates, who had one of Rivers' scoring tosses. "He is our leader."
--DE Luis Castillo had his breath taken away when RB Thomas Jones took him out at the knees. Castillo laid motionless on the ground for several minutes. "It was a scary moment there, obviously," coach Norv Turner said. Castillo missed six games in each of the past two seasons with injuries.
--Norv Turner is liking the running of LaDainian Tomlinson and the change-of-pace back in Darren Sproles. "I like the mix we have with our backs," Turner said.
--S Clinton Hart, who was playing with a cast on his recently repaired left hand, said the defense had a different attitude Monday night. "We were back on our heels a lot," he said of their approach the first two games.
--CB Antonio Cromartie bounced back from a rough outing in Denver to intercept two passes, returning one for a touchdown. "The first two weeks I didn't play the way I wanted to play and I came out this week and was more focused and ready to play," he said.
--FB Jacob Hester, a rookie, is having a tough time getting on the field in the offense. He had but one carry for three yards.
--WR Buster Davis caught his first three catches of the season, and two of them were for first downs.
--DE Luis Castillo had an MRI on his sprained knee and the test didn't reveal any damage.
--LT Marcus McNeill (neck) is back in the starting lineup after missing the preseason and first two games.
--WR Chris Chambers has but six catches in three games -- and four of them have been good for touchdowns.
--ILB Anthony Waters was, at one point, on the fast track to get on the field. But he was a healthy inactive for the third consecutive week.
--C Nick Hardwick (foot) could get his first start of the season on Sunday.