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Chargers at Chiefs: Winners and Losers

The devastating loss to the Chiefs was a tale of two halves. The Chargers went from unstoppable to laughable.

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NFL: San Diego Chargers at Kansas City Chiefs Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

The recovery period from the terrible defeat the San Diego Chargers had this past Sunday has begun. This week will continue to be a struggle for most Chargers fans as we now face the reality of having to watch Mike McCoy coach 15 more games this season.

As I was watching the second half unfold, I was appalled at what I saw. As soon as Keenan Allen left the game, the Chargers coaching staff went into panic mode. They made mistake after mistake, and that allowed the Chiefs to battle back into the game.

With the second half being as bad as it was, I don’t think I can remember the last time the Chargers started off a season looking so good. During the first half, Philip Rivers and the offense had methodical drives that ended in touchdowns. The defense did a solid job and gave the offense solid field position. This game was definitely a tale of two halves. A great start and a disastrous beginning.

With that being said, let’s take a look at the biggest winners and losers for the San Diego Chargers following the season opener.

Biggest Winners:

Mike McCoy

Wait, what?

Yes, Mike McCoy is a winner. The man still has a job! The Chargers had a 99.3% chance of winning that football game and lost. The main reason? The coaching decisions. Turning their back on Melvin Gordon, panicking when Keenan Allen went down and the countless other boneheaded decisions.

The list goes on and on with the mistakes Mike McCoy has. To be frank, he is lucky he was allowed back on the team plane to San Diego. The second half of that football game was so sickening that I could barely watch a replay of it.

McCoy had multiple chances to put the game away by going for it on fourth down or calling one single aggressive pass. Not once did he make the right move, he played the game safe. He did not play to win. My rant is over.

Check out Richard Wade’s three-year-old piece on the Chargers head coach.

Melvin Gordon

This should be a no-brainer. Melvin Gordon finally got the monkey off of his back. Gordon scored his first NFL touchdown on a bruising run right up the middle that had to have every Chargers fan smiling. I have been very critical of Gordon in the past, but I was extremely happy to see him in the end zone.

Earlier on in that first scoring drive, Gordon broke off a very nice 17-yard run where he broke a few tackles that displayed the power and aggression that Gordon runs with. It seemed like Chiefs defenders were bouncing off of him all day.

Within the first minute of the second quarter, Gordon was given another red zone carry and took advantage of it. He found the end zone again. That would put the Chargers up 14-3 and all of the momentum was on the team’s side.

For the rest of the game, Gordon was relatively quiet. He managed to have a few more solid runs, but the Chargers coaching staff for some reason went to Danny Woodhead instead. The Chargers were in full control and went away from Gordon for seemingly no reason.

Danny Woodhead

Although I complained that the Chargers began to look at Woodhead more, it’s hard to find a real issue with his performance. Woodhead ran for 89 yards on 16 carries and caught a receiving touchdown as well.

Woodhead did everything the team asked him to do on Sunday. He helped protect Philip Rivers in the pocket, he ran effectively and was a check down option for Rivers time and time again.

It would make no sense to criticize Woodhead for the playcalling the Chargers had on offense during the second-half. Although it would have made more sense to have a bigger back like Gordon on the field, Woodhead was not the reason the team blew an 18-point lead.

With the backfield of the Chargers looking very good through one game, I expect the game plan to involve Gordon and Woodhead much more. They proved that if they are used correctly, they can be tremendous weapons this season. The two will now become even more important with the loss of star receiver Keenan Allen.

Jerry Attaochu/Brandon Mebane

Jerry Attaochu was great against the Chiefs. It was a pleasant surprise as he seemed to have lost his starting job to Kyle Emanuel during the preseason. There is good reason to believe that Attaochu could be starting again very, very soon.

Attaochu recorded a pair of tackles and a sack on the day. According to Pro Football Focus, he also racked up a pair of quarterback hits and quarterback hurries. I think that Attaochu should get more snaps next week. He played well, and Emanuel struggled for much of the game.

One of the best defenders on the Chargers last week was Brandon Mebane. The newly acquired nose tackle from Seattle was phenomenal. Mebane dominated the Chiefs offensive line as he was able to rush the passer and stop the run with ease all game.

I am very excited to see what difference Mebane can make to this defense for the entire season. It has been years since the Chargers had a good nose tackle and I’m hoping Mebane is the answer.

Biggest Losers:

Drew Kaser

No, I won’t pull a Mike McCou here and push blame towards a rookie punter for costing the team the game. However, I will point out the Drew Kaser had a really bad game.

After a strong preseason where he showed off his tremendous leg and ability to pin opponents deep in their own territory, Kaser struggled. Chalk it up to nerves or just having an off-day, Kaser needs to turn things around.

His worst moment came when he punted the ball 17 yards to give the Chiefs tremendous field position as they were trying to tie the game. Kaser choked in a big spot and put the defense in a really tough position. In an NFL game, it is hard to say the game came down to a shanked punt, but it definitely played a role.

Keenan Allen

Devastated. That’s the one word to describe how I felt when Keenan Allen tore his ACL. When healthy, Allen is one of the best wide receivers in the NFL. He just has not been able to stay on the field throughout his career.

I feel for Allen. It’s heartbreaking. Allen catches every single pass thrown his way, and it seems that like every single play he is open. Allen dominated a solid corner in Marcus Peters, and if he played the entire game, I’m confident the Chargers would have won.

The Chargers seemed as devastated as I was when Allen left the game because the offense couldn’t move the football. This is a huge loss for the rest of the season as the coaches are going to have to adjust the entire game plan. I expect the Bolts to run the ball more and get rookie tight end Hunter Henry in the game more as well.

The Chargers Safeties

Dwight Lowery and Jahleel Addae looked hopeless during the fourth quarter. Alex Smith slowly carved up the middle of the San Diego defense. I will cut them some slack due to the fact that they were on the field for far too long. Still, one of them needs to make a play at some point.

Early on in the game, I didn’t notice either of the safeties. Which is probably a good thing considering whenever I notice them it’s because of a blown coverage or missed tackle. The safety position was a major question mark for the Chargers, and it’s looking like the lack of talent at safety is a big issue.

The Chargers Inside Linebackers

Manti Te’o playing poorly is a normal occurrence in my eyes. Denzel Perryman playing poorly? Not so much. Denzel Perryman missed more than a few tackles on Sunday, and it was extremely alarming. Perryman can’t cover, which is totally fine, but if he starts to miss tackles problems arise.

Personally, I think Perryman will be fine as long as the Chargers find someone to cover linebackers and running backs on passing downs. The Chargers may not know it, but that man is already on the roster. His name is Jatavis Brown. For some reason, he only saw the field 19 times on defense. He was on the sidelines as we all watched Te’o and Perryman chase down receivers for a quarter and a half. With Julius Thomas coming to town and other talented tight ends lying in wait, the Chargers need to find an answer at inside linebacker.