Eric D. Williams, ESPN Staff Writer 83d

Philip Rivers faces Chiefs defense with full complement of playmakers

COSTA MESA, Calif. -- Five of the Chargers' 11 offensive starters for the final game of last season are no longer on the roster.

Andre Williams served as the team's every-down running back, replacing an injured Melvin Gordon, while Isaiah Burse was the slot receiver with Keenan Allen out. The then-San Diego Chargers lost to the Kansas City Chiefs 37-27 that day in a game that was not as close as the score might indicate.

On Sunday, when the Chargers again face the Chiefs, Philip Rivers will have his offense at full strength, including a healthy Keenan Allen and Gordon.

Allen was having his way with Chiefs cornerback Marcus Peters in the season opener in Kansas City last season before suffering an ACL knee injury, ending his season.

The Chargers led 24-3 midway through the third quarter but ended up losing in overtime, 33-27.

"It shows you what we can do," Rivers said about that game. "But you've got to go and do it. If I'm them, I'm going, 'Yeah, but you lost.' That's what it comes down to.

"We've done a lot of good things these first two games, but we haven't won. So at the end of the day, you have nothing to show for it. But at the same time, it gives you the confidence to know, just hang in there, keep fighting, keep scratching. Surely, we're going to start finding a way to be on the other end of those."

Forgotten in the Chargers' disappointing 19-17 loss against the Miami Dolphins last week is the fact that Rivers played well, completing 31 of 39 passes for 331 yards and a touchdown.

Chiefs head coach Andy Reid got a chance to coach Rivers in the Pro Bowl last February, and has a lot of respect for the North Carolina State product.

"You're probably not going to surprise him," Reid said. "He's been doing this a long time. The thing that amazes me with the guy is it really doesn't matter who you put in with him. He's going to come in and he's going to say, 'We're going to get after it,' no matter who's playing for him or who he's playing against. That's how he approaches the game."

Rivers is 13-10 all-time against the Chiefs. However, the Chargers have lost six straight to Kansas City.

Even though his team sits at 0-2, Rivers believes there's enough of the season left for his team to get on a run. "You've got to win one game first," Rivers said. "We all know that. But there's a lot of football left. So I think this team sees what we're capable of. We've showed it in spurts.

"We haven't just been playing sloppy, bad football. We didn't have a turnover last week. Our defense is holding teams to 19 points. There are a lot of areas to improve, but there's so much good there that it gives you the belief we're gonna get it turned around and going in the right direction."

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