JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- It had been a long six weeks for the San Diego Chargers.
Six straight losses had offset a 4-1 start.
That might be why there was added jubilation in the San Diego locker room following Monday's convincing 38-14 win over the Jacksonville Jaguars.
The loss spoiled the debut of Jaguars interim coach Mel Tucker, who took over last week when the team fired Jack Del Rio.
Two overtime losses and three other losses by a touchdown or less left the Chargers with a bitter taste. Not a negative atmosphere, just one that was frustrating to a team that was thought to be the front-runner in the AFC West this year.
Monday night, the Chargers put together their most dominating performance of the season, and it helped that they were able to welcome back talented wide receiver Malcom Floyd. He'd been inactive the previous four weeks, but he returned to catch four passes for 108 yards and a touchdown.
Floyd's big return helped San Diego quarterback Philip Rivers produce his best effort of the year.
"It's been a rough six weeks. It hasn't been easy," Rivers said. "We've played well in spurts, but I'm just glad we won a game. ... We needed to find a way to win, and we did that today. There won't be any quitting in us, there never has been."
Rivers finished with 22 of 28 for 294 yards and three touchdowns. His passing rating of 146.1 was easily his best of the season, topping the only other 100-plus mark he had this year, a 110.6 effort in a win over Miami.
"I haven't played the way I want to play," Rivers said. "I haven't put a complete game together. I don't care about numbers or any of that. I just want us to win."
Rivers led the Chargers to scores on five of their first six possessions. San Diego's 38 points matched the season-high total it produced in a 45-38 loss to Green Bay.
After guiding the Chargers to a 24-14 halftime lead, Rivers came out throwing to start the third quarter. He connected with Antonio Gates on three pass plays, then completed the five-play, 80-yard march with a 52-yard scoring bomb to Floyd. That hiked the Chargers' lead to 31-14.
Gates is the veteran of the group. The 10th-year pro caught six of the seven passes targeted his way for 70 yards. He caught three passes in San Diego's opening drive of the game that led to an early 7-0 lead on Mike Tolbert's 13-yard run up the middle.
Gates was the key on the Chargers' scoring drive to start the second half as well, grabbing three passes for 28 yards before Rivers hooked up with Floyd on a 52-yard toss into the end zone.
"We looked fast, it looked like we were all on one accord out there tonight," Gates said. "That's the chemistry that coming into the season, we knew we had. To me, it was just the fact that we stayed on course despite what we've been through the last six weeks.
"That we were able to get a win today just speaks volumes of this team and the character we have. I think we were a good team without Malcom, but we're a better team with him because he adds another dimension to our attack. You can just see our offense was clicking out there."
The Chargers still have work to do. They improved to 5-7 on the season but are only two games behind division-leading Oakland and Denver with four games left.
"To me, it's not about how you win," San Diego coach Norv Turner said. "We need to win a game. We've been in games -- in every one of our games -- we're in a position to win and we haven't been able to win it."
Jacksonville quarterback Blaine Gabbert had a strong first half, hitting 11 of 15 passes for 139 yards. But a costly interception late in the half led to the Chargers scoring twice in the final 86 seconds of the half.
Gabbert's two scoring tosses were to Maurice Jones-Drew from 9 yards out and to Cecil Shorts, who recorded his first NFL touchdown on a 5-yard connection.
"The corner just made a play. He tipped it and he just made a play," Gabbert said. "He tipped it, and Eric Weddle made a good catch, but that's my fault. I need to be smart with the football and check it down if it's cloudy."
Gabbert ended the night 19 of 33 for 195 yards.
Jones-Drew finished with 97 rushing yards to take over the NFL lead with 1,137 yards.
GAME NOTES: Gates caught six passes for 70 yards, raising his career total to 7,538 and moving him past Gary Garrison into third place on the Chargers' all-time receiving list. ... Jacksonville's defense had held opponents under 300 yards of total offense in seven of the first 11 games, but San Diego finished with 433 yards Monday. ... The Jaguars had forced 45 three-and-outs from their opponents through 11 games, the second most in the NFL, but they only managed two such stops against the Chargers. ... Jacksonville has lost a league-high 20 players to season-ending injuries this season. The team had to reach an injury settlement with Mike Sims-Walker in order to stay within the league-mandated 19 players on injured reserve.
Chargers end skid with blowout win in Jacksonville
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