Continued from page 1

His other two interceptions came on consecutive possessions later in the half.

The first was thrown so far behind Tony Moeaki that all the tight end could do was try to get his hands on it. The ball wound up deflecting into the arms of San Diego linebacker Donald Butler, who returned the interception untouched 21 yards for a touchdown and a 27-6 lead.

The other interception should have been caught by Dexter McCluster, but the short crossing route was thrown with so much zip that the ball ricocheted off his hands.

One of the most damning assessments of Cassel may have been made by Chargers defensive end Corey Liuget, who said, “We knew we had to put the game in Matt Cassel’s hands.”

“It starts with me,” said Cassel, who added that he was never approached by Crennel about making a quarterback change. “I’ve got to do a better job of protecting the football and putting our team in a better situation to be successful.”

Pioli has promised the past couple seasons to bring in a quarterback to compete with Cassel for the starting job. But last year, the alternatives were fifth-round draft pick Ricky Stanzi, at least until Kyle Orton was claimed off waivers late in the season _ when Cassel had broken a bone in his throwing hand and landed on injured reserve.

Quinn, who’s with his third team in three years, was brought in as the backup this season, and so far Crennel hasn’t made the move to his bullpen _ even if he’s silently considered it.

“Well, whether I was considering it or not doesn’t make a difference. It’s hypothetical,” Crennel said. “I didn’t make the change and I’m staying with that.”

___

Online: http://pro32.ap.org/poll and http://twitter.com/AP_NFL