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Game Preview: SD Chargers at KC Chiefs, Chargers on Defense

In the previous post, I mentioned that the San Diego Chargers offense was above-average when going by their ranking against the rest of the league. The Kansas City Chiefs have been efficient during their 3-game winning streak, but their offense has not been overly impressive. They are still ranked 28th in offensive yards per game and 25 in offensive points per game.

Jackie Battle, who has carried the rushing load for the Chiefs the last two games, is a big, strong running back that isn't too different from Mike Tolbert. San Diego needs to get to him and make sure to bring him down with the first tackler. Putting this game in the hands of Matt Cassel is step number one in the gameplan, I'm assuming. Step number two may be tougher, generating a pass rush.

First off, Matt Cassel doesn't get sacked often. His offensive line is very good at building a strong pocket around him, and Matt has been taught to use his legs and throw the ball away when there's nothing there. His job is to not make mistakes, not necessarily to make plays, and he seems to get better at that each season. This year he's been sacked 10 times in 6 games (3rd best protection in the league) while throwing 7 interceptions (tied for 14th in the league).

Second, the Chargers pass rush (which, as mentioned earlier, is the 2nd worst in the league) is going to be missing its start in Shaun Phillips for this game. If they're going to generate a pass-rush, it's going to be for one of two reasons. Either Darryl Gamble is an undrafted free agent monster that should've been a high draft pick, or Greg Manusky will confuse the heck out of Todd Haley and Matt Cassel with his blitz schemes. Without one of those things happening, Cassel will have the better part of a day to wait for his receivers to get open.


Let's recap. The Chargers' run defense (which hasn't been very good) needs to stop Jackie Battle with good tackling (which they're not known for) so that the pass defense (which hasn't been very good) can blitz to create pressure (which they're not known for) on Matt Cassel so that he makes mistakes (which he doesn't do often) and the Chargers can win the turnover battle (which they never do). They also need to do all of this in Arrowhead Stadium (where KC has a huge advantage) on Monday Night Football (where KC beat SD last season) on Halloween night (so the fans will be extra crazy/loud).

Piece of cake.