Kansas City Chiefs vs. San Diego Chargers: What the Chiefs Must Do to Win
Score more points. That was easy—now I can go rake the lawn.
I suppose the folks at Bleacher Report are looking for more detail, so here we go.
Certain lessons can be taken from last week's Raiders game. This is a copycat league, so I'm sure Todd Haley and company are looking at the tapes. It will, however, be more difficult than just looking at tapes.
Clearly, the Chiefs need to establish and maintain the run during the entire game. I realize that's not much of a news flash, and the Chargers are well aware of it too. They need to run to the outside more and not bang Thomas Jones up the middle.
Kansas City needs to get good yardage on first downs. Even though Matt Cassel has been sacked very few times, the Chargers can get after a quarterback and have 29 sacks on the season. The Chiefs can do this by running, screen passes, play action passes and being creative using their offensive weapons like Dexter McCluster and Jamaal Charles.
The strategy is simply to keep Philip Rivers on the sideline. Looking at the Raider game, two things jumped out at me: the lopsided number of offensive plays and the ridiculous time of possession in favor of the Raiders.
No matter how badly the Chargers were playing, we all know Rivers could have put them back in that game in a matter of minutes—unless, of course, he's sitting on the bench.
I wouldn't get your boxers in a bunch over the Chiefs only scoring 10 points and Dwayne Bowe getting shut out against Denver. The Chiefs made a number of mistakes that I would not expect to see them repeat two games in a row. Bowe can't catch touchdowns every week. Two months ago we all wanted him traded for a six-pack and a pizza.
You're not going to change Todd Haley. It's like people thinking they're going to change a spouse's behavior after 10-plus years. Not going to happen! He'll keep taking chances. Personally, I have no problem with it, especially against a team that can score like the Chargers.
I do and will continue to have a problem with the plays they call. That needs to change.
On to the defense. I continue to hear that the Chargers have the No. 1 defense in the NFL. I'm confused by this. Though useful at times, this is why stats can be so misleading.
The Chiefs, along with the Jets (even after last night, ouch), Miami, Pittsburgh, Baltimore, Cleveland, Tennessee, Giants, Chicago, Minnesota, Tampa Bay and St. Louis, have given up fewer points than the Chargers.
In my somewhat simple-minded approach to "defense," this seems like such a straightforward judge of No. 1 defense. Just logically speaking, do people really think of the Chargers having a better defense than Pittsburgh and Baltimore? I'll help you out—no.
I have already gone over the No. 1 defensive strategy: Keep the offense on the field.
When the defense does get on the field, the Chief must get more pressure on the quarterback than they normally do. KC is on the bottom of the NFL with only 17 sacks. It doesn't matter if they sack Rivers, but they have to make his life miserable.
What we saw from the Chiefs secondary, especially Brandon Carr, needs to repeat itself. It was the best performance we've seen from this young group all year. There is not a doubt in my mind the Chiefs didn't really care much about the yards given up on the ground. The Broncos were not going to win that way.
Neither will the Chargers. Cover and harass the receivers, and make life difficult for Rivers. They're not going to win on the ground.
I do not expect the Chargers to turn in the same performance, at home, two weeks in a row. The Chiefs need to play much, much better than they did against Denver. I believe they will.
Some people complained about what the Chiefs did last Sunday. To me, it was a tremendous sign of growth and maturity for this team. Great teams find ways to win when they're not playing their best.
The Chiefs will need to bring their "A" game to San Diego.
It seems like every week it is the most important game of the year for the Chiefs. Here we go again. I believe that if the Chiefs win this game, not only will they wrap up the AFC West, but they will be the No. 3 seed in the playoffs as well.
Think about that for a minute.
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