San Diego Chargers Torch Reeling Chiefs in Thursday Night Blowout

Tim KeeneyContributor INovember 1, 2012

The Kansas City Chiefs didn't put up much of a fight, but Norv Turner and the San Diego Chargers will take a 31-13 win any day of the week. 

Hey, a win's a win, right?

The Chargers moved back to .500 (4-4), while the Chiefs, who have amazingly failed to take a lead in regulation this season, moved a step closer to the No.1 pick in the 2013 NFL draft by moving to 1-7.

While Romeo Crennel's squad looked lifeless for most of Thursday night's 60 minutes, San Diego deserves plenty of credit for the home win. 

First of all, the defense was dy. No. Mite. The red-hot unit, which doesn't get nearly enough credit for what it's done this season, held the Chiefs to just 289 total yards (most of which came when the game was already over), recovered three fumbles (one in the end zone), and returned an interception for a touchdown.

They flew to the ball all night long with impressive speed and completely overwhelmed an overmatched Chiefs squad. 

Yes, most teams have been able to slow down Matt Cassel this year (and a couple of other years, too), so the Chargers holding the inconsistent quarterback to just 181 yards on 19-of-29 passing wasn't exactly surprising.

The impressive part was holding dynamic running back Jamaal Charles to just 39 rushing yards on 12 carries. Not only that, but the normally slippery back didn't even come close to getting away from San Diego's efficient tacklers. Via ESPN Stats & Info:

Chiefs RB Jamaal Charles typically averages 1.7 yards after contact, but today has only 4 yds after contact on his 6 rushes.

— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) November 2, 2012

And, as if it couldn't get any worse in Kansas City, their star running back was forced out of the game midway through the fourth quarter after a helmet-to-helmet collision with linebacker Donald Butler.

The only player able to do anything for Kansas City was Dwayne Bowe, who pulled in eight catches for 79 yards. But it wasn't enough, as John Pagano's defensive unit was thoroughly dominant for the entire game.

Oh yeah, and Phillip Rivers was pretty good when he wasn't throwing horrendous interceptions in the end zone. Besides an end-of-the-first-half pick on a terrible decision—and even worse throw—Rivers was flawless.


He completed 18-of-20 throws (his only other incompletion was a throw away) for 220 yards, two touchdowns and the one pick. It was about as good of a performance as the enigmatic QB could have hoped for after two straight dreadful outings. 

And it was even better when you consider his lack of a receiving corps.  With Eddie Royal and Robert Meachem out due to injury, Rivers spread the ball out quite well.

Malcolm Floyd caught four passes for 48 yards and a score, Antonio Gates pulled in three for 43 and a touchdown, and newly-signed deep threat Danario Alexander caught all three of his targets for 61 yards. Ronnie Brown added five catches for 35 yards out of the backfield. 

Finally, San Diego's three-headed monster at running back went for 125 yards on 23 carries (Ryan Mathews took 13 for 67, Ronnie Brown six for 38) to complete the impressive, all-around commanding performance. 

It's important not to overreact to this, as the Chiefs are the Chiefs, but the Chargers are keeping pace with Denver in the AFC West. They will travel to Tampa Bay to take on the Bucs next Sunday as they look to make a run at the postseason.

Kansas City, meanwhile, heads to Pittsburgh for another prime-time matchup on Monday night.