Chiefs-Chargers recap: KC Defense Stifles Rivers Once Again

Sep 24, 2017; Carson, CA, USA; Kansas City Chiefs running back Kareem Hunt (27) runs for a touchdown past Los Angles Chargers free safety Tre Boston (33) during the fourth quarter at StubHub Center. Mandatory Credit: Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports

The Chiefs moved to 3-0 after their victory over the Chargers. The Chiefs are now in lone first place in the AFC West, as Denver and Oakland suffered road losses. This was definitely not the Chiefs best outing of the season, but the stoic niche of an Andy Reid coached football team usually can win these kind of games. The Chiefs winning streak against the division has now stretched to twelve and now the Chiefs also defeated the Chargers seven straight times.

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The Chargers received the ball first to open the game, and were forced to begin their first drive from their own 6 yard line. On the game’s third play from scrimmage, Philip Rivers held onto the ball too long and forced a throw to Travis Benjamin. This pass was intercepted by Terrance Mitchell, who ended the day with two of the three Chiefs interceptions, and the Chiefs took over in Chargers territory. Four plays later, Alex Smith found Tyreek Hill in a hole of the defense for a 30 yard touchdown pass. The Chargers were covering Hill with a linebacker on the play, something a defense should probably never attempt. The next drive, Rivers moved the Chargers into Chiefs territory, only to be picked again by Marcus Peters. Again, the Chiefs took advantage and scored on a shovel pass to Albert Wilson, making it a 14-0 game. This shovel pass look has continued to work for the Chiefs through the first three weeks of the season. On the following drive, the Chargers got on the scoreboard with a touchdown run by Melvin Gordon. Gordon has had a slow start to the season and unfortunately for him, he left with a knee injury later in the game. Later on, the Chiefs’ Cairo Santos attempted a 51 yard field goal and missed, but the Chargers ran into Santos. Santos was able to get another chance and drilled a 34 yard attempt to make it 17-7. To end the first half, Chargers rookie kicker Younghoe Koo hit a chip shot field goal as time expired. With the Chiefs going into halftime up 17-10, the Chargers defense was motivated to shut down the offense. They did that as Smith was pressured continuously and very little run plays were working. After the two minute warning, Kareem Hunt scored on a 69 yard touchdown run to put the game away and the Chiefs held on to win 24-10.

This game was one that many fans hate to see, even if their team gets the victory. Both the Chiefs and Chargers combined for 21 penalties. The penalties is something the Chiefs haven’t figured out yet, and Andy Reid has mentioned it before. The Chargers were able to move the ball, out gaining Kansas City in total yards and the Chargers had eight more first downs than the Chiefs.

Division opponents bring out a different mentality and it seemed like the Chiefs offense was trying to stay balanced. Even if Kareem Hunt had a decent carry, the next play was usually an attempted quick pass. The Chiefs did not have a bad day passing, but the dynamic deep balls just weren’t there in this one. Alex Smith still finished with efficient numbers. Smith finished 16 of 21 for 155 yards and 2 touchdowns. Smith has also yet to throw an interception this season. Hunt finished with 183 total yards and a touchdown. Hunt is now second all time in scrimmage yards in a player’s first three NFL games with 538 yards.

The Chargers had good spurts on offense, but the Chiefs defense stood tall late. Justin Houston’s late sack pretty much ended the Chargers chances of trying to tie up the game at 17, before Hunt’s touchdown score. Obviously, the early turnovers by Rivers helped, but the Chiefs also figured out the LA running game in the second half.

These two teams will not meet at Arrowhead until December. Even though the Chiefs are 3-0 and the Chargers are 0-3, a lot could change before then. The Chiefs will get a chance to show more of the national audience what they are made of in their next six games. Four of their next six are on primetime, the other two are the lead game for the late afternoon games for that given week. The next six weeks include: vs Redskins (Monday Night), at Texans (Sunday Night), vs Steelers, at Raiders (Thursday Night), vs Broncos (Monday Night), at Cowboys. This will be the games that the Chiefs will be faced with leading into their bye week. The Chiefs got the job done again, and now they prepare for the team that helped them out with a win over the Raiders.

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