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Defensive Analysis: San Diego Chargers vs Kansas City Chiefs

One of the top run defenses faced one of the top run offenses on Thursday night football. Find out how the Chargers came out on top.

More of these would be great...
More of these would be great...
Stephen Dunn

Hosting the Chiefs in a must win game, the Chargers had to put together a collective effort to show what they are capable of. Despite letting Matt Cassel put up a perfect 3rd down QB rating through most of the game, opportunities arose and the defense capitalized on them. Two defensive touchdowns highlighted what this unit can do when called upon, however getting the best possible result out of a situation won't always bail out this team. They still have to improve to make more of these opportunities arise.

1st Half 51 54 56 58 71 90 91 92 93 94 95 96 98
Run Average .50 .50 .60 .50 0.0 .50 na .17 .50 .67 0.0 .50 na
Pass Average 0.0 .13 0.0 .17 0.0 0.0 0.0 .06 .25 .39 0.0 0.0 .25

2nd Half 51 54 56 58 71 90 91 92 93 94 95 96 98
Run Average .25 .50 .58 na 0.0 1.0 .13 .50 .50 .75 .38 na na
Pass Average na .17 .50 .50 .12 0.0 .10 .07 .19 .11 .13 1.0 .35

Click here for the full play by play analysis

The Good

Run defense was great all night overall. Jamaal Charles had at one point just 8 yards on 7 runs. Thank Donald Butler, Melvin Ingram, Corey Liuget and Cam Thomas for that. Almost everyone was good, but those four were consistently making an impact.

The Bad

There was no pass rush. Only Corey Liuget did any good. Jarret Johnson had the big play, but that was it. No consistency. EVERYONE graded poorly. Especially Shaun Phillips and Melvin Ingram. Sadly, also Butler, who wasn't as effective blitzing as he usually is. Matt Cassel completing nearly every single pass on third down is not something you want to see, just imagine what superior quarterbacks are thinking when they watch this team fail so often on third down.

Closing thoughts

What the Charger Defense as a unit is, is a team that stops the run very well, blitzes a lot, but doesn't get any pressure, much less sacks. There still isn't much of a threat up front. If this team had someone like Cameron Wake or Demarcus Ware we'd be looking at a 6-2 team easy. The secondary outside of Eric Weddle is barely passable as average. That's the same for the pass rush. If the secondary could cover just a little bit better, get the QB to hold the ball for just a half second more, there would be 3 or 4 sacks every game instead of 1 or maybe 2. Alternately, if the pass rush or blitzes could get pressure a little faster or more effectively, the secondary could make more pass breakups and interceptions. This team won't reach the playoffs if the front 7 can't start getting real pressure. That's the biggest issue right now. When that's solved, we're looking at an elite defensive unit.