Chargers hope to feast on Bills rookie QB

Los Angeles Chargers head coach Anthony Lynn looks on during the fourth quarter against the Kansas City Chiefs.Photo: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Chargers are shuffling off to Buffalo, hoping to even their record in Week 2.

The Bills would seem to be the tonic for L.A. after getting beat by the Kansas City Chiefs in Sunday's opener, the ninth straight time the Chargers have gone down against their AFC West rival.

Buffalo, hopefully for the Chargers who were predicted to challenge for the divisional crown, will supply a soft landing spot. But they will be without Pro Bowl defensive end Joey Bosa, who has a soft tissue injury to his foot.

What the Chargers don't need is a repeat of their first quarter against the Chiefs. The Chargers were down 14-3 some 10 minutes into the game despite the Chiefs running only five plays.

Special teams, a Chargers bugaboo last year and seemingly every year, was again the culprit for the Chargers getting behind early.

But that's last week. The Bills are up next and the Chargers will face rookie quarterback Josh Allen in his NFL starting debut.

The Bills switching from Nathan Peterman to Allen, the draft's seventh overall pick, isn't a surprise. The Chargers, in defeating the Bills last year, intercepted Peterman a franchise-record five times in the first half.

That was quite a ride, one in which the Chargers or Peterman will never forget. Leave it to Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers to use cycling as a metaphor for how long the NFL campaign can be.

"I'm not much of a cycling fan, but I compare the NFL season to the Tour de France," Rivers said. "It's all the stages, and that's what the NFL season is to me. There are 16 stages you get. You make sure you better win your fair share of them. It's a long deal. We're down. We're down after the first phase and we have a chance in Buffalo to go get a win and go 1-1."

The Bills figure to be in a sour mood as well after losing their opener to the Baltimore Ravens.

But Chargers head coach Anthony Lynn, who had a stint as an assistant in Buffalo, isn't worried about the Bills. He's looking for his team to rebound and just maybe his players got a wake-up call after being punched in the gut by the Chiefs in all three phases of the game.

"We couldn't have asked for a better opponent to start out with, the division champs, to come in here the first week just to tell us exactly where we're at," Lynn said.

The Chargers are at the bottom of the AFC West with the Oakland Raiders, but that can change quickly. Then again, the Chargers started 0-4 last year and not many people saw that coming.

Rivers, as always, witnessed enough positives in the opening-day loss to build on.

"We still have to go do it, but there are so many good things that we did, other than score, which is most important, that gives me all the confidence in the world that this could be an awesome season," Rivers said.

Beat the Bills, get on a roll and Rivers just might be right. But if they stub their toe in Buffalo the memories of last year's slow start will be difficult to ignore.

"It's a marathon, you take one game and you learn from it," tight end Antonio Gates said. "You move on and you have to turn the page really fast in this league and I expect us to do that."

SERIES HISTORY: 36th regular-season meeting. Chargers lead series, 23-10-2. L.A. has won the last three games between these teams and that includes walloping the Bills last year, 54-24, as the Chargers scored their most points in a game since 1981. The last time the Chargers went to upstate New York, the Chargers prevailed, 22-10, as Philip Rivers threw for two touchdowns and compiled a 131.4 passer rating. Rivers usually shines against the Bills, winning four of the five career matchups, with 10 touchdown passes and a rating of 110.0.