The Kansas City Chiefs came through in a must win situation against the Los Angeles Chargers. While the defense is usually the weaker link, that unit carried the team to victory. Meanwhile, the offense needs some fine tuning and will get a chance to regroup with the impending bye week. Furthermore, Kansas City proved the AFC West still runs through them (at least for now). With that said, let’s look towards the major keys from Monday’s game with our Chiefs versus Chargers game recap.
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Give Me That
The Chiefs defense played arguably their best game of the season against the Chargers. Frank Clark looked like the 2018 version of himself, and more importantly the player Kansas City traded for back in April. He pressured Philip Rivers plenty of times and was in his head all game. One important pressure, came on the game sealing interception by Daniel Sorensen. Clark bent around the edge and hurried Rivers to step up into the pocket. As a result, the quarterback’s pass was a lame duck lob. Overall, Rivers finished with four interceptions on the evening.
On the other hand, this secondary has continued to put together some impressive weeks. Tyrann Mathieu was playing angry and his attitude was displayed by other defensive backs. How about the rookie Rashad Fenton? Without Kendall Fuller, Fenton assumed the slot position. He seems to play with exuberant confidence. Also, he made a key interception when Rivers tried to take a deep shot downfield. Also, Charvarius Ward has come a long way this season. We have seen him make more plays in the last few weeks, than he ever has before. One of his key plays, was a pass breakup where the Chargers were surging in the red zone.
Lastly, the aforementioned Sorensen has surprised when you least expect it this season. His interception just happened to come against Austin Ekeler. Ekeler had killed Kansas City all night. However, the Chiefs were aware of the Chargers tendency by then to end the game.
Offensively, the Chiefs had one of their worst games with Patrick Mahomes as the quarterback. The first half was probably the least efficient we had seen since the games against the Patriots. Injuries took away some of the key skill players. However, we have seen this offense still be better in situations like that.
The Chargers designed well in zone coverage, and baited Mahomes into a few bad throws, including an interception. If it wasn’t for Travis Kelce, the running backs and Mahomes running ability, this could have been an even worse night for the Chiefs. Despite not having a great night though, Mahomes took what was given to him. He moved the ball enough to wear out LA’s defense. Additionally, that drive right after halftime was just what the doctor ordered.
Mahomes and the Chiefs drove down the field for 75 yards on eight plays. This Chiefs scoring drive had the Chargers gasping for air. Though, it seems the opportunities that were there were not taken advantage of enough.
Bend Don’t Break
Reverting back to the Chiefs defense, they made big plays when they needed to the most. The big plays they allowed were due to questionable calls and matchups. But, the Chiefs stiffness in the red zone frustrated the Chargers.
The LA offensive line had consistent trouble slowing down the pass rush. Many receivers could not hold onto passes. Once the running backs were shut down, the Chargers seemed to lean on the washed arm of Rivers. This defense is showing they know where they can attack and beat opponents. Most of all, the Chiefs came through and even had the Chargers beating themselves.
Clean It Up
We mentioned earlier how the Chiefs offense had opportunities, but didn’t always capitalize. Mahomes had his struggles and looked off at times. Ugly wins still count despite that. However, the area worth questioning a bit is the play calling. Many times, the Chiefs were given chances by the Chargers to ice the game. Multiple throws to the flats were continually unsuccessful. Screen passes led to big hits for LA. Too many shades of the end of that loss at Tennessee slightly returned.
Meanwhile, you wonder if Andy Reid is holding back Mahomes at all following that injury. We saw the success the quarterback was able to muster. But, it would be wise to let Mahomes take the reigns more himself. This offense was always the reason that this team was a Super Bowl contender. The bye week is a perfect time for this offense to regroup for the stretch run.
After the Chiefs win over the Chargers, they will head back to Kansas City. They will enjoy a week off to get healthier and regroup during the bye week. After the bye, December kicks off with a ultra-important home division game against the Oakland Raiders. If the Raiders win next week, each team will be 7-4 entering that matchup at Arrowhead.
That will wrap up our recap of Chiefs versus Chargers. For more great sports and NFL content, stay tuned to Full Press Coverage.
– Braden Holecek is the Kansas City Chiefs managing editor for Full Press Coverage. He covers the NFL. Like and follow on Follow @ebearcat9//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js Follow @FPC_Chiefs//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js and Facebook.