Once again in sole lead of the AFC West, the Chargers, coming off a huge home victory against Baltimore, travel to always-tough Kansas City, hoping to extend their lead in the division. The Chiefs enter this matchup coming off a surprising (and no doubt frustrating) loss against Oakland last week.
Last time these two teams met, in San Diego in week 4, the Chiefs upset the Chargers 30-16 with 24 unanswered points coming in the 2nd half. The Chiefs lead the historic series 50-43-1 and the Chiefs have won 3 of the past 4 meetings, including last year in Kansas City during the Chargers stellar 14-2 season.
Philip Rivers was back in 2006 form last week, tossing 3 TDs and no INTs. Antonio Gates finally made an impact catching 2 of them. While LaDainian Tomlinson didn’t break 100 yds (an unfortunately common theme this season), the team was cohesive on both sides of the ball and played a full 60 minutes — something they have had trouble with this year. In week 4, LT rushed for over 100 yds in the first half; however, the play-calling in the 2nd half basically ignored the MVP. There ought to be more of an impetus to utilize LT in this meeting throughout the entire game, particularly with the Chiefs’ defense which is currently 18th-against-the-run ranking heading into this week, as well as continuity by the Chargers defense riding the momentum from last week’s battle.
With Damon Huard out, Brodie Croyle is, once again, helming the Chiefs’ offensive, along with rookie RB Kolby Smith, who stepped up last week to fill in for the injured Larry Johnson and re-retired Priest Holmes, rushing for 150 yds and 2 TDs despite a loss to Oakland. The Chiefs also just signed ex-Chargers kicker John Carney to assist their kicking “issues” as they cut Dave Raymer this week.
Here’s a cheery thought: Norv Turner is winless against Kansas City, both as the Chargers head coach and during his tours of duty in Oakland and Washington in 6 meetings.
The Chiefs will be tough, hoping to keep alive their hopes of a playoff berth in the very close and underachieving AFC West. The Chargers, as stated earlier, want to extend their lead in the division, especially since 3 of their last 5 games are on the road. The Chargers haven’t been great on the road this season. — here’s hoping they break that nasty trend.