The Chargers were close. They always seem to be close. Whether they’re as close as we all think remains to be seen, but something is certainly different about this team. I think that’s undeniable.
Behind some of the gutsiest quarterback play we’ve ever seen in the final minutes of regulation, Justin Herbert willed his team to within three points. But the combination of time on the clock and number of timeouts just weren’t there for the Chargers in the end.
Regardless of the outcome, we saw some excellent performances. Without Keenan Allen suiting up, we all knew someone had to make up for the lost production, and boy did they.
Below you can check out the two players I believe took steps forward against the Chiefs and two others that unfortunately fell short of expectations in primetime.
Let’s get into it.
WR Mike Williams
I don’t think many believed Williams would be down for long after a week one performance that saw him secure just two catches for 10 yards.
In the first half alone, Williams had six receptions. He finished the game with eight catches for 113 yards and a touchown, his seventh of his career at Arrowhead. That touchdown also broke a tie with four other players, including both LaDainian Tomlinson and Antonio Gates, for the most receiving touchdowns scored by a visiting in Arrowhead Stadium history.
His big night was capitalized by a mind-blowing one-handed touchdown grab that went for 39 yards. From the broadcast angle it looked like an easy incompletion, but this is Williams we’re talking about.
Overall, it was a vintage Mike Will performance through and through.
TE Gerald Everett
Some may disagree with this selection, but Everett has been balling for the Chargers through two games where Keenan Allen has been sidelined for the majority of that span. Through two weeks, Everett is the Chargers’ leading receiver with 125 yards, just two more than Williams.
On Thursday night, the athletic pass-catcher showed off the elite YAC ability that he’s known for which was a big reason why the Chargers added him this offseason. Say what you want about the miscommunication, Everett was the main reason the Chargers were even in position to score. He fought like hell to gain extra yards and showed excellent contact balance. Of course he was gassed. It was an unfortunate mistake all the way around and Everett is far from being the sole holder of blame for it.
Gerald Everett v the Chiefs:— Matthew Seward (@Matt2Frosty) September 16, 2022
22% target share
Inspiring usage for a TE in a high powered offense
CB J.C. Jackson
The hype was real surrounding Jackson’s debut for the Chargers. Especially in a primetime game against a divisional opponent. For the better part of the game, Jackson played well and kept himself from being on the wrong end of a bad play.
Until he was.
With seven and a half minutes remaining in the third quarter, Patrick Mahomes stepped up in the pocket and drove a strike to Justin Watson who caught Jackson with a double move. Jackson recovered fairly well and was just about there for the pass breakup, but the ball floated just over his out-stretched hand and into the arms of the streaking Watson.
I think it’s probably correct to Jackson some time to get his “sea legs” under him, so one play shouldn’t necessarily ruin an otherwise fine performance. It’s just the context of the catch that makes it tough to swallow.
Jackson was given over $80 million to join the Chargers and be their top cornerback. The play against him was made by the Chiefs’ fourth wideout on the depth chart. If it was just a big gain with no touchdown, fine. That is easier to handle. But the fact that the Chargers were barely holding on to a 10-point lead following two negated interceptions helped created a momentum-shifting cocktail of events that will leave a bad taste in fan’s mouths for some time.
Justin Watson put J.C. Jackson in a spin cycle— PFF (@PFF) September 16, 2022
CB Asante Samuel Jr.
Samuel made this list as a player who surged this past Sunday after he picked off Derek Carr en route to helping the Chargers win their seasoner opener over the Raiders. Unfortunately the story for Zont was a bit different this week.
Several plays before the touchdown to Watson over Jackson, Samuel made a diving play to corral an interception that would have given the Chargers possession well within Chiefs territory. While it was called on the field as a turnover, replay eventually overturned it. The tough part is that the ball was in Samuel’s hands for a clean takeaway but it slipped out and ricocheted off his knee before he had to get acrobatic for the second grab.
Later in the game, Samuel came ever-so close to picking off another pass in the end zone against tight end Jody Fortson. With the angle of the interception, should Samuel have held on, he could have potentially taken it all the way back for a pick-six.
Aside from that, Samuel struggled with tackling this week, posting a team-worst 25.7 grade in that category.
While overall it wasn’t the worst performance by any measure, Samuel simply didn’t come through in the “got to have it” moments despite being faced with several opportunities to do so.