Chiefs vs. Chargers: Live Grades and Analysis for Kansas City

Brett GeringCorrespondent IDecember 29, 2013

Image edited by Brett Gering
Image edited by Brett GeringDavid Welker/Getty Images

On the opening drive of overtime, San Diego threw caution to the wind and converted a fake punt deep in their own territory. 

Nick Novak's 36-yard field proved to be the game-winner, as a promising Chiefs drive gradually unraveled past midfield. All of the pieces fell in place, and the 9-7 Chargers booked a ticket to the 2013 playoffs. 


Final (OT)

Kansas City - 24

San Diego - 27

Kansas City Chiefs Grades
First-Half GradeFinal Grade
Pass Offense:B+B-
Run Offense:A-C
Run Defense:C-D
Pass Defense:C+C
Special Teams:B-C-
vs. Chargers Week 17

Final analysis for the Kansas City Chiefs

Pass Offense: In the wake of an efficient first two quarters of play, the passing game got off to a sluggish start after halftime. However, Chase Daniel (21-of-30, 200 YDS, TD) eventually regained his first-half form, connecting on several clutch throws in the face of pressure. Judging by his play, you wouldn't have known that today's game was his first career start.

Run Offense: Being that the bulk of Kansas City’s starters were sidelined, the Chiefs’ lack of depth led to visible fatigue after halftime. Holes closed significantly sooner than they had throughout the first two quarters, as Knile Davis’ yards per carry dwindled to three before the final whistle. 

Run Defense: Ryan Mathews (24 ATT, 144 YDS) capitalized on the inexperience of Kansas City’s defensive interior, enjoying one of the most noteworthy efforts of his four-year career. The Chiefs defensive line was bullied throughout the afternoon, opening gaping lanes for Mathews to exploit. 

Pass Defense: An aggravated Philip Rivers (22-of-33, 229 YDS, 3 TD, INT) often looked like he was one three-and-out away from head-butting a mascot. Ron Parker, specifically, penned a valiant effort, shadowing San Diego’s big-play receivers and deflecting passes on a routine basis. Ultimately, Rivers and company did just enough to squeak out a playoff berth, though.

Special Teams: Ryan Succop’s misfired 41-yard field goal revived San Diego’s postseason aspirations and punctuated a thrilling but dispiriting finale to Kansas City’s (regular) season. Quintin Demps and Davis combined to average 31.3 yards per kick return, while Dexter McCluster’s sole punt return gashed the Chargers special teams for 32 yards. 

Coaching: Of Kansas City’s 22 starters, 20 were reserves who rarely saw the field prior to Week 17 unless a ball was set to be kicked. While the Chiefs didn’t pocket a win, they were in position to. Given the circumstances, that’s all you can ask for.

SAN DIEGO, CA - DECEMBER 29:  Knile Davis #34 of the Kansas City Chiefs celebrates after scoring a touchdown against the San Diego Chargers during their game on December 29, 2013 at Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego, California. (Photo by Donald Miralle/Getty
Donald Miralle/Getty Images

First-half analysis for the Kansas City Chiefs

Pass Offense: Daniel’s (10-of-14, 102 YDS, TD) first pass of the afternoon had all the makings of a pick-six. Fortunately, it was dropped, and the former Missouri standout settled into a groove. Since connecting on a 48-yard heave to A.J. Jenkins, Alex Smith’s backup has engineered a commendable aerial attack. 

Run Offense: Davis rushed with purpose, amassing 79 yards and two touchdowns on 15 carries. The talented but inconsistent rookie consistently showed impressive vision, cutting back across the field and breaking tackles. In the later stages of the first half, Daniel also effectively charred the Chargers on his feet.  

Run Defense: Mathews (9 ATT, 68 YDS) gouged Kansas City’s front seven early and often, sporadically finding daylight and breaking into the open field. The absence of Dontari Poe, Derrick Johnson and Eric Berry was blatantly obvious from the first hand-off. 

Pass Defense: Give credit to Kansas City’s secondary (no, really). Excluding Kendrick Lewis, the defensive backfield was comprised of second-stringers, and the Chiefs backups netted two coverage sacks and an interception. Rivers has regularly oozed with frustration, completing eight of his 11 passes for a modest 99 yards, two touchdowns and one interception.  

Special Teams: By his own lofty standards, Dustin Colquitt’s punts have been average at best. However, Demps churned out 70 yards on just two kickoff returns. 

Coaching: A starting lineup infiltrated by bench-warmers is leading a potential playoff contender by seven points at the half.   


Follow Brett on Twitter: