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Chargers coach Turner taking tough stance on special teams

SAN DIEGO -- Chargers coach Norv Turner made a bold guarantee on Monday.

Another road win this season? A new stadium? Philip Rivers will indeed break Dan Marino's single-season record of 5,084 yards passing? The Bolts (4-5) will win the Super Bowl?

Oh no. Dial it back. Way back.

Norvstradamus has a much simpler goal.

"We will not have another punt blocked for the rest of the season," a defiant Turner declared less than 24 hours after the Bolts extricated themselves from yet another special teams blunder to beat the Houston Texans 29-23.

Texans linebacker Stanford Keglar blew through the line and deflected Mike Scifres' punt less than two minutes into the game and Houston recovered at the Chargers 8. It was the fifth San Diego punt blocked or deflected this season, and Arian Foster scored on the next snap for a 7-0 lead.

Turner's guarantee came after he was asked if the start of the bye week would be the best time to fire special teams coach Steve Crosby.

"There's about five guys I'd let go before him," Turner said, "and that'd be the five guys who've had mental errors and given up blocked punts. He's not out there doing it. He gets them ready to play. When I can put a tape on Friday of a guy doing it right, and then not doing it right on Sunday, that's not Steve Crosby. He does a great job getting these guys ready.

"We've had some issues. It's been different guys," Turner continued. "In two or three cases it's been a guy who's been put into new position because of an injury and they haven't handled it very well. Over the next five days we're going to fix the issues we have in the punting game. We will not have another punt blocked for the rest of the season, because we're going to get the right guys in there. We've gone a long time around here without ever having a punt blocked and we can get that done."

The Chargers won for the first time in five road games this season when Rivers picked apart the worst pass defense in the league for four touchdowns. It almost didn't matter that most of Rivers' favorite receivers were missing, notably star tight end Antonio Gates.

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Rivers used eight different receivers in completing 17 of 23 passes for 295 yards. Rookie Seyi Ajirotutu and backup tight end Randy McMichael caught two touchdowns apiece as the Chargers won consecutive games for the first time this season. The four-time defending AFC West champions are third in the division, behind Kansas City and Oakland.

"We obviously created adversity for ourselves, but did a better job than we have overcoming it," Turner said. "Obviously I can't say enough about the way our quarterback is playing. When you take the combination of the situations we've been put in, he's been put in, and then the people he's played with ... Everyone's talking about all the different records. He's probably going to set a record for the most guys in a season that he's completed a pass to. And he doesn't blink while he's doing it."

Rivers has completed passes to 14 different players.

Turner said the players who missed the Texans game with injuries will return for a home Monday night game against Denver on Nov. 22. They include Gates (foot and toe), left guard Kris Dielman (stinger) and wide receivers Legedu Naanee and Malcom Floyd (hamstring).

Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press

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