"Hey Matt, I think you lost this." (Photo by Donald Miralle/Getty Images)
Wow, that was fast. I feel like we just played the Chiefs. Oh, wait, that's because we did just play them a month ago, in San Diego. I was at that game, so my memory/viewpoint may be a bit skewed as a result. I remember being very high up, being hot, and in general not as entertained as I hoped I would be.
That's probably because the Chiefs came into this contest as a terrible team, having been outscored 89-10 over their first two games, and I expected a blowout. This was back when I still thought the Chargers were a good team, and wasn't too upset about their losing on the road in Week 2 to one of if not the best team in football. I was hoping, nay, expecting a blowout. A laugher. A game similar to Week 14 of 2011, when San Diego won 31-0. Boy was I disappointed.Of course the Chargers' first possession started off well. Of course they moved the ball deep inside KC territory. And of course Philip Rivers made a bad read and threw an easy pick that was returned all the way to the San Diego 20. Luckily enough, (and I mean, really lucky given the final score of the game), the Chiefs went three and out, and Ryan Succop missed the ensuing 38-yard field goal attempt.
Credit to the San Diego offense--they actually cashed in on the Chiefs' failure, going 72 yards on 15 plays and taking a 7-0 lead on a Ryan Mathews 2-yard touchdown run. The rest of the first half was sloppy by both sides. The Chiefs failed to get one first down, and the Chargers fumbled once and turned the ball over on another interception (this one is more on Floyd than Rivers, though). They did manage to tack on a field goal to take a 10-0 lead, and went into the locker room at the half with a lead.
The Chiefs, for their part, looked much better in the second half. Not only did they get some first downs, they scored a touchdown on their first second half possession when Matt Cassel hit Dwayne Bowe for a 4-yard TD. The Chargers came back and scored again on another Mathews run. The two sides exchanged field goals, and the score stood at 20-10 with 8 minutes to go in the game.
The Chiefs pulled within a score after Cassel hit tight end Leonard Pope for a touchdown just one play after connecting on a 43-yard bomb to Steve Breaston to set up first and goal at the 1-yard line. The next part was probably the most frustrating of the game. Given a lead and 5 minutes left in the game, the Chargers' offense was unable to nail it down. They succeeded in gaining one first down, but a few plays later were stuffed trying to convert 4th and 1 at the Kansas City 34 yard line.
Here, you just knew something bad was in the works. You knew the Chiefs, after being shut out of even getting a first down in the first half, would continue their second half trend of slicing through the San Diego defense and at least getting a FG to tie, maybe even a TD to win. And when on the first play of that drive Cassel connected with Pope again for a 23-yard gain taking Kansas City into San Diego territory, it looked like that was what was going to happen.
But then, Matt Cassel happened. On a screen attempt, Cassel threw the ball into a crowd, and Eric Weddle somehow ended up with the ball in his hands. Game over. ~60,000 fans collectively exhaled in relief. The Chargers, barely, survived a late Kansas City rally and got away with the win. It didn't really feel much like a win--Rivers continued to be less than stellar, the Chiefs' offense had their way for the most part in the second half, and the Chargers managed a meager 3-point victory over a team that had been outscored by a total of 79 points in its first two contests.
Things remain pretty much the same since then--Rivers is still struggling, the Chargers aren't looking much like a good team, though they've managed 4 wins out of 6 games. The biggest differences are that San Diego has huge injury problems, and the Chiefs haven't lost since then and are a mere game out of first. This one means a whole lot, folks.