The Kansas City Chiefs lost their first shootout of the season to the San Diego Chargers on the final drive 41-38. The Chiefs offense was resurrected by a passing attack initiated by quarterback Alex Smith and took advantage of San Diego’s poor pass coverage, but it was not enough to overcome the Chargers Sunday afternoon.
What went wrong?
Third and sixteen. To me the game came down to that single play. It is said a game cannot be won or lost on a single play, but if it could, it would have been on third and sixteen. A four yard dump pass on third and sixteen in the fourth quarterback is does not show a winning mentality. Alex Smith had it best game of the year through the air throwing four three touchdown passes. Donnie Avery has become Smith’s favorite target, but Smith also likes to force it to him sometimes and it resulted in a costly interception against San Diego. Tamba Hali and Justin Houston, the leading sack combo in the league, both left the game in the first half and resulted in zero pass rush for the third straight week.
What went right?
Jamaal Charles has proven as always that he is the most dynamic and reliable threat in the National Football League. He is almost uncontainable and gives opposing coaches all they can handle when trying to prepare for him. Although dropping yet another pass Sunday that could have resulted in a touchdown, he rushed for two touchdowns and went for over one hundred yards rushing again. Alex Smith played very well, but still lacks confidence to throw the ball down the field consistently. Quentin Demps was a workhorse on special teams, returning the ball for nearly 200 yards.
What needs to change?
With Eric Berry’s sack on the last defensive drive for the Chiefs, it was the first sack the Chiefs have had in the last three games. This obviously is a concern for the Chiefs, especially now that there are injury concerns with both Tamba Hali and Justin Houston. The Chiefs went the first 9 games of the season without allowing more than 17 points to an opponent, and now in the last two games they have given up 27 and 41 points to both Denver and San Diego respectively and fall to 1-2 in the AFC West. Teams seem to have found a flaw in the Chiefs defense and have been attacking it lately, finding many holes to pass in. The defense right now is a huge concern for the Chiefs and playing Denver next week they will have to figure it out quickly.
I’m not as upset with this loss as most may be. I am actually kind of encouraged. I was worried that the Chiefs may have trouble keeping up in a shootout game where both offenses answer each other back and forth, but maybe my questions were answered this afternoon. The Chiefs have a quick turnaround this week and stay in Kansas City to play the Broncos again for the second time in three games and look to stay in the race to win the AFC West.
Game time: Sunday, December 1st at 3:25 CT at Arrowhead Stadium.
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