Chiefs Edge Chargers: Three Things Learned
In a to-the-last-12-seconds exciting (and immensely stressful) game, the Chiefs snapped the Chargers' five-game winning streak and emerged victorious 23-20; yet another 3-point game between these teams. With almost twice the time of possession (39 minutes versus 21 minutes), Kansas City methodically exploited holes in San Diego's defense despite a whopping seven penalties for 73 yards, myriad dropped balls, and a quarterback who, unlike the Chargers' Philip Rivers either can't or won't throw down the field.
Nevertheless, QB Alex Smith managed 19-of-28 for 221 yards and one touchdown. RB Jamaal Charles amassed 95 yards on 22 carries with one touchdown. On the other side, Rivers' one fatal flaw today was chucking an interception to DB Kurt Coleman with :12 left in the game. Otherwise Rivers completed 17-of-31 for 205 yards and two touchdowns. TE extraordinaire Antonio Gates snagged three balls for 61 yards and a touchdown--the 67th touchdown from Rivers which extends their record of the most touchdowns among all QB-TE tandems in history. By the way, has anyone else ever noticed that Rivers has some type of bloody appendage in every game?
But what did we learn today, if anything?
1. Great things do come in small packages. Of note: 5'7", 208-lb rookie Charger RB Branden Oliver who carried the ball 15 times for 67 impressively brutal yards and had a pair of receptions for 9 yards; and 5'8", 175-lb, Brazilian-born Chief K Cairo Santos who was a perfect 3/3 on field goals including the game-winning 48-yarder with :26 left in the game; his career long.
2. Not to belabor the point, but kickers need love too. Charger Nick Novak's two field goals kept him perfect on the season and also earned him the franchise record for consecutive field goals at 31. And yeah, that Santos kid too.
I couldn't think of a third item for this list. We already knew the Chiefs have a great defense, we also were already aware of officiating crews' shortcomings and myopia, and I'm kind of bummed so I don't care to elaborate. So...
3. After-halftime-sideline-reporter updates are utterly ridiculous and unnecessary. They're always the same, "The (fill in the blank)'s head coach said that they need to tackle better, commit fewer penalties, and play harder." Um, duh?!
Next up, the (5-2) Chargers travel to Denver (who host the 49ers on Sunday night) for a Thursday night match-up and the (3-3) Chiefs host the (2-4) Rams who shocked the Seahawks with trickery and courage Sunday morning.