Sunday, September 30, 2012
Rapid Reaction: Chargers 37, Chiefs 20
By Bill Williamson
KANSAS CITY -- A look at a lopsided AFC West affair:
What it means: This was an important game for both teams. The Chiefs could have forced a first-place tie, but it was the Chargers who responded after a poor game against Atlanta last week. San Diego cruised to the win and is going to be alone for first place in the AFC West for another week. It is 2-0 in two AFC West road games. The Chiefs failed to capitalize on momentum built from a road overtime win at New Orleans last week. They are 1-3. Kansas City has been outscored by 51 points in its three losses.
Dominant defense: The Chargers forced six Kansas City turnovers and scored 24 points off the miscues. San Diego’s defense has been outstanding in three of four games this season. It will keep the Chargers in a lot of games.
The flipside: Matt Cassel threw three interceptions and Jamaal Charles fumbled twice as the Chiefs imploded. San Diego led 20-0 early in the second quarter because of the turnovers. This team has looked very bad in its three losses. It is time to worry in Kansas City.
Mathews has a hole to climb out of: San Diego starting running back Ryan Mathews is not being trusted by his team. He fumbled last week in his season debut and the Chargers are making him think about it. Jackie Battle started for Mathews. Mathews, who played extensively in the fourth quarter and made some big runs, ended up with 61 yards on 14 carries. Whether he is being pushed or not, the Chargers will be better off when Mathews makes a bigger impact.
Milestones for Rivers: San Diego quarterback Philip Rivers completed 18 of 23 passes for 209 yards and two touchdowns. The game was Rivers’ 100th career start and he passed the 2,000-completion and the 25,000-yard passing marks in the win.
Penalty bug bites Chiefs: The Chiefs entered the game tied for an NFL-low 12 penalties. They had eight penalties for 75 yards Sunday.
What’s next: San Diego plays at New Orleans in a Rivers-Drew Brees battle, and the Chiefs host Baltimore.