Last week the Chiefs appeared to turn the corner with a huge OT win over the Saints in New Orleans.
Sunday at Arrowhead vs the Chargers, Kansas City was their own worst enemy in turning the ball over six times in a 17-point setback to San Diego, 37-20.
Kansas City really needs to examine the situation at the QB spot, as Matt Cassel was terrible vs the Bolts. Cassel threw for 251 yards and two touchdowns for the Chiefs (1-3), but he had three first-half interceptions.
“We didn’t play a very good football game today – in any phase: offense, defense or special teams. And it shows on the scoreboard. I don’t understand what happened with the team,” Chiefs head coach Romeo Crennel said. “I thought it was uncharacteristic the way we turned the ball over today because we hadn’t been doing that in all phases. We turned it over just about everywhere today.”
Jamaal Charles, who followed his big game last week at New Orleans with touchdowns rushing and receiving, also fumbled twice.
Philip Rivers was 18-of-23 passing for 209 yards with two touchdowns and Antonio Gates had three catches for 59 yards for the Chargers (3-1), who bounced back from last week’s 27-3 setback to Atlanta with 17 first-quarter points on Sunday and improved to 2-0 in the AFC West.
The story of the game though was the giveaways that the Chiefs gave San Diego, allowing them to build a huge first half lead enroute to putting up 37 points.
”It was like turnover after turnover after turnover in that first quarter,” said Chargers safety Eric Weddle. ”A lot of times it’s just guys making good hits, tipped balls. There’s stuff to improve, but we came back after last week, when we didn’t play well.”
San Diego scored on its first touch when Rivers found Eddie Royal on a slant route in the end zone from four yards away. Earlier in the drive, Rivers connected with Malcom Floyd for 21 yards to convert 3rd-and-12.
After Cassel was picked off by Weddle on the Chiefs’ first possession, the Chargers were forced to settle for a field goal as Rivers’ pass to Royal was batted down by Brandon Flowers in the end zone. Nick Novak, signed on Saturday to replace injured kicker Nate Kaeding, split the uprights from 24 yards out.
“I try to prepare like I was on a team. When I was on the street San Diego State University helped me out by letting me use their facility and practice fields. I had a lot of support in San Diego,” Novak said. “I make sure I stayed focused and sharp. If there is one thing the NFL has taught me, it is to always be prepared for anything.”
San Diego turned another Chiefs turnover into points, as Battle bulled his way into the end zone from a yard away to put San Diego up 17-0. Charles fumbled on Kansas City’s 16-yard line to set up the easy score.
Novak added a 47-yard field goal with just over eight minutes left in the half and the teams traded turnovers — a fumble by Charles and a Rivers interception — before Kansas City finally found the end zone on a 37-yard touchdown run by Charles. Charles took the handoff to the right side, but was met by a group of Chargers defenders. He cut it back to the left and raced to the pylon, diving across the goal line as he was knocked out of bounds.
Cassel’s pass on Kansas City’s ensuing drive was intercepted by Donald Butler and returned 21 yards for a touchdown to make it 27-6 heading to the break.
The question now is about where these two teams go from here. Do the Chiefs pull the plug on Cassel? Is San Diego at 3-1 a legit contender in the AFC?
Only more games will let us know the answer to these questions about these two squads.