The Kansas City Chiefs were much better against the San Diego Chargers than they were the first two weeks of the season, but in the end the result was the same. After two blowouts, the Chiefs fell to the Chargers 20-17 even though they had the ball in San Diego territory with a chance to win the game in the final two minutes.
Offensively, Todd Haley needs to be worried about a unit that had one of the worst first half performances possible and even after turning things around in the second half, they were unable to close the deal. Matt Cassel continues to falter at the worst possible times, including a gift wrapped interception to end the game with the Chiefs just outside range of a game-tying field goal.
On the other side of the ball, there was a lot to like. They were forced to stay on the field for most of the first half thanks to the offense, but still managed to hold the Chargers to just ten points. Following that up with another ten in the second half was an impressive feat considering how easily Philip Rivers and the San Diego offense moved the ball last week against the New England Patriots.
Unfortunately for the fourth straight game, the Chiefs lost a key member of their team. This time it was CB Brandon Flowers who made an athletic play to pick off Rivers and went down with an ankle injury after the play was over. Early reports seem to indicate Flowers wasn’t seriously injured, but it’s still amazing how many injuries this Chiefs team has had to deal with.
For the first time in this young season, there are multiple players that have a case for a game ball. Here are the ones I feel stood out the most on offense, defense and special teams for the Chiefs.
Offense: Dwayne Bowe
In the first half of Sunday’s game, it appeared that Bowe didn’t make the trip to San Diego with the Chiefs. He was held without a catch, but not because he was dropping passes or constantly dealing with double coverage, but rather because Cassel refused to throw anything other than three-yard dump off passes.
That changed in the second half when Cassel finally started locking in on his best receiver and immediately the Kansas City offense had some signs of life. Bowe’s second catch of the day was an amazing touchdown grab along sideline that he somehow managed to tap his toes to stay in bounds.
Bowe finished the game four catches for 67 yards and that highlight reel-worthy touchdown. If the Chiefs have any hopes of picking up their first victory, they need to find a way to get Bowe involved before the third quarter.
Defense: Tamba Hali
The Chargers often sent a double team or chip at Hali, which was the best way to handle the linebacker that was moving around the field more than he did the first two games of the season. The one time San Diego tried to block Hali with running back, Rivers was sacked and nearly knocked out of the game.
Thanks to Hali’s constant harassing, the Chargers QB often pulled himself off the turf wincing.
Though his bread and butter will always be rushing the passer, Hali continues to improve in the run game. More and more he is finding himself around the ball on running plays, making things happen. Against the Chargers Hali finished with six tackles and one of the two Chiefs sacks.
Special Teams: Javier Arenas
When the Chiefs offense couldn’t get anything going, Arenas helped give them the jolt they needed by taking a Mike Scifres punt 37 yards to the San Diego 42 yard line. With the great field position, the Kansas City offense needed just six plays to put the ball in the end zone and make it a 10-7 games.
Arenas also returned three kicks for 87 yards, including a nifty 35 yarder he caught five yards deep in the end zone.