During the game Monday night between the San Diego Chargers and Kansas City Chiefs, a little bit of everything happened. Plenty of special teams heroics, lots of passing yardage by Philip Rivers and a late rally.
From what I saw from the 60 minutes, it seemed to me that the Chargers made too many mental mistakes early on and Ryan Matthews made some rookie mistakes. Of course the weather factored in, but not enough to really affect the final outcome.
When the smoke cleared, despite Rivers’ best efforts, Kansas City managed to hold on in the final 3 minutes of the final period and hold off San Diego 21-14 and for one week take sole possession of first place of the AFC West.
While Rivers clearly outplayed the Chiefs’ Matt Cassel, it was a combination of some hard running by Jamaal Charles, including a 56-yard romp which tied the game at 7 late on the first quarter and some inspired special teams play by Dexter McCluster as he ran back a punt a team-record 94 yards and gave the Chiefs a 21-7 advantage with 2:03 left in the first half.
Rivers did bring the Chargers to within 21-14, thanks to blown coverage of San Diego’s Legedu Naanee in which Rivers tossed a 59-yard TD pass, putting the chargers to within 21-14.
On their last possession, San Diego was getting ample yardage, including a pair of 22-yard strikes from Rivers to Buster Davis and Malcom Floyd which put them at the Chiefs 45-yard line.
Another pair of completions got the chargers to the KC 16 but a minus-2 yard run by Darren Sproles and three incompletions later, Kansas City laid claim to a 1-0 start.
Cassel absolutely stunk in terms of pure numbers as he went 10-of-22 for 68 yards and a touchdown while Rivers went 22-of-39 for 298 yards and three TDs.
Charles accounted for 98 of the Chiefs’ 135 rushing yards, with Thomas Jones adding 39 of his own; Charles also added a score. Mathews led all Chargers rushers with 75 yards while Mike Tolbert added 26 yards on just two carries.
Tony Moeaki led the Chiefs receivers with 3 catches fior 21 yards and a TD; Naanee led the San Diego receivers with 5 receptions for 110 yards and a TD while Antonio Gates caught 5 passes for 76 yards and a pair of TDs.
Kansas City (1-0), with sole possession of first place in the AFC West, travels to Cleveland Browns Stadium to take on the Browns next Sunday afternoon while San Diego (0-1) returns home to Qualcomm Stadium to host the Jacksonville Jaguars – also next Sunday.