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Chargers Go to 6-0 by Deep Sixing Saints : Interconference: San Diego scores on eight of 11 possessions and rolls to 36-22 victory.

October 17, 1994|From Associated Press

NEW ORLEANS — Coach Bobby Ross wants the San Diego Chargers to know one thing about their perfect record--it's only a beginning.

"The significance of the 6-0 start is that we can now be 6-10," Ross joked Sunday after the Chargers remained the NFL's only unbeaten team with a 36-22 victory over the New Orleans Saints.

But while Ross was being cautious, his players were celebrating the latest victory and not yet worrying about next week's game at home against Denver.

"This Charger team reminds me of the Saints when we were first learning how to win," said San Diego lineman Stan Brock, who played for New Orleans for 13 years. "This team needed to win that game and we came out and made it happen."

First, there was Natrone Means running for 120 yards and three touchdowns that counted--plus two more scores that were called back because of holding penalties.

"It never came easy," Means said. "The Saints weren't getting any penetration. Our guys were pushing them off the ball. I've had two good weeks. That's what I want to continue doing, become a consistent player."

Then, there was John Carney, who kicked five field goals, including two after Means' apparent touchdowns were called back.

And, when Means wasn't finding holes to run through, Stan Humphries was finding receivers to throw to, completing 17 of 29 for 186 yards.

Added up, the Chargers are off to their best start since 1961, when they opened 11-0.

"We're playing real well right now," Humphries said. "I think this team can go as far as it wants. We're not only playing real well right now, we're playing smart."

By the time Carney added a 28-yard field goal in the fourth quarter, San Diego had scored on eight of 11 possessions. The Chargers were not forced to punt until the final quarter.

"That's bothersome," Saint Coach Jim Mora said. "We tried everything to get them slowed down and couldn't."

San Diego dominated from the start, scoring on its first five possessions. On the sixth, Humphries knelt with the ball to run out the clock.

Playing almost flawlessly, the Chargers had only two offensive penalties, no turnovers and allowed one sack despite heavy pressure by the Saints (2-5).

San Diego led, 27-7, at halftime, outgaining New Orleans 235 yards to 112. Means ran for 75 yards and his touchdowns that counted went for 16 and eight yards in the first quarter and one yard in the second.

Carney kicked two second-quarter field goals, from 49 and 31 yards. He added scores from 29 yards twice in the third quarter and from 28 in the fourth.

"This team isn't a fluke," Saint linebacker Renaldo Turnbull said. "They have good players and they're playing great football."

Defensively, the Chargers were not as neat. Five pass interference calls set up three Saint scores.

The Saints' only first-half score came after a penalty gave them a first down on the San Diego 37. On the next play, the Chargers were again called for pass interference, a 27-yard penalty.

After Jim Everett was sacked for an eight-yard loss, he connected with Quinn Early for an 18-yard touchdown pass play.

New Orleans added another touchdown in the third quarter on a one-yard pass from Everett to Irv Smith following pass interference in the end zone.

In the fourth quarter, Lorenzo Neal plunged in from the one and the Saints added a two-point conversion.

Morten Andersen missed field-goal attempts of 54 and 38 yards in the first quarter, giving him four consecutive misses going back to New Orleans' 17-7 loss to Chicago last week.

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