From Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego, California



The concept is simple – trust your neighbor. That has been one of the Chiefs biggest problems in this disastrous start to the 2011 season. Too many players are trying to do too much, and not trusting that their teammates will handle their end of the business. That becomes especially troublesome in the Chiefs defense where gap control is so significant to how the front seven works. One guy gets out of his gap and the rest of the defense drops like a line of dominos. Receivers need to make sure they complete their assigned routes and not make last minute decisions that leave QB Matt Cassel hung out to dry. PUSH – Far more than the first two games of the season, there were a lot of moments where the defense and the pass protection worked well together and players trusted their neighbor was going to do his job. It wasn’t perfect, but there were not many visible cases where players were trying to win the game all by themselves.



Chargers QB Philip Rivers is not tremendously mobile these days; he’s had too many knee injuries over the years. He’s not near the threat to run away from pressure that the Chiefs saw in Ryan Fitzpatrick and Matt Stafford. Whether they can get him down on the ground or not, the Chiefs defense needs to pressure Rivers. They need to get in his face and they need to knock him down and around. Last year, they got two sacks of him in each of their meetings, so they’ve shown they can go in and get it done. The battle between LT Marcus McNeill and OLB Tamba Hali should be a good one. SUCCESS – They got Rivers on the ground twice in 40 passing plays; that’s not anything special, but they were able to pressure him many more times. They got in his face, they forced him to move his feet and thus he threw off balance several times, including the first interception he threw that was grabbed by FS Kendrick Lewis. A good first step, but they’ll need more.



The offense is about running the football and that’s what they need to continue to establish on Sunday. They actually got the run game going a bit against the Lions, finishing with 151 yards even without Jamaal Charles for most of the game. San Diego has not been strong against the run in two games, giving up an average of 126.5 yards per game. Whatever the mix is between Thomas Jones, Dexter McCluster and Le’Ron McClain, the Chiefs need to find something that works. The Chargers are an aggressive defense, so a little misdirection may be the way to go; it’s the same thing they did against Detroit. FAILED – the first game of running back by committee did not produce consistent yardage. Without Jamaal Charles it was expected to be hard, and it was. Thomas Jones lacks to quickness of Dexter McCluster, who can only carry so many times. Battle and McClain were not real options.



If the Chiefs have any desire to actually win this game, they must make sure that their job isn’t made harder by turnovers, penalties and mental mistakes. It’s the biggest reason they are 89-10 on the 2011 scoreboard. They may have lost to both Buffalo and Detroit while having total ball security, but they were guaranteed to lose when they turned the ball over a total of nine times, plus nine penalties. The Chiefs are not 79 points worse than their opponents. But they’ll get crushed again if they help the Chargers the way they did the Bills and Lions. FAILED – They had done a fairly good job of not giving the Chargers any gifts throughout the game, but when it came down to a chance to make a play to decide the game, Matt Cassel’s interception ended the opportunity. Better, but not good enough.

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