Friday, November 2, 2012
Rapid Reaction: Chargers 31, Chiefs 13
By Bill Williamson
A look at the Chargers' 31-13 AFC West wipeout of the Chiefs:
What it means: The Chargers showed they can hammer a bad team, and the Chiefs showed there is no reason to think they aren’t the 32nd-best team in the NFL. The Chargers now are 4-4 and have ended a three-game losing streak. The Chiefs are 1-7, and moved a step closer to the No. 1 overall draft pick and having to decide between Matt Barkley and Geno Smith.
Winning for Norv: The chances were very strong that the Chargers would fire coach Norv Turner had the team lost its fourth straight game and fallen to 3-5, with 10 days before its next game. It would have been a perfect time to make a move. But Turner’s team loves him, and it played hard for him. Turner might be safe for the rest of the season now unless things unravel badly again. The Chargers are very much in the AFC playoff hunt and will be tied for first place if the 4-3 Broncos lose at Cincinnati. Give credit to Turner for keeping his team focused and credit to the Chargers for keeping their coach employed.
Rivers almost perfect, but still maddening: San Diego quarterback Philip Rivers was in a slump for the previous 10 quarters. But he was brilliant Thursday night. He was 18-of-20 for 220 yards and two touchdowns with a depleted receiving crew. But he threw a terrible interception in the end zone at the end of the first half. It’s those plays that Rivers has to eliminate from his game. He still is a top quarterback, but he makes too many mistakes.
Bad streaks continue for Chiefs: The Chiefs committed four turnovers and now have 29 in half a season. They had 29 all last season. It’s the highest turnover total through eight games in the NFL in 15 years. Kansas City still has not led in a game in regulation all season. The Chiefs haven’t scored a touchdown on their opening drive in 25 straight games. Folks, this stuff is historically bad.
Cassel not that bad: Yes, Kansas City quarterback Matt Cassel committed two turnovers that turned into two defensive touchdowns for San Diego in the fourth quarter. But Cassel wasn’t that bad. He had his moments. Still, I’m sure the Chiefs will go back to Brady Quinn when he is cleared from a concussion. Cassel just doesn’t have the confidence of this team, it seems.
Charles not a factor: Against Oakland on Sunday, Kansas City running back Jamaal Charles had just five carries. On Thursday night, he had 12 carries for 39 yards, and that's a big reason the Chiefs couldn’t stay close. They are wasting a fine player.
Chargers run well: The Chargers’ run offense really helped. It provided a dimension that had been missing all season. San Diego had 123 rushing yards on 26 carries, and Ryan Mathews had 67 yards on 13 totes. This type of running effort must continue in order to help the Chargers’ passing game.
Berry makes strides: Kansas City safety Eric Berry had a solid game, and he is improving after missing nearly all of last season with a torn ACL.
Chargers strike in fourth quarter: The Chargers didn’t score in the fourth quarter in October. On the first day of November, San Diego scored 21 points in the quarter.
What’s next: The Chargers play at Tampa Bay in a matchup with receiver Vincent Jackson, who departed San Diego in free agency in March. In another reunion game, Kansas City meets Pittsburgh and former coach Todd Haley on Nov. 12 on ESPN’s “Monday Night Football.” Yes, another prime-time game for America’s worst professional football team.