From Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego, California
Chargers running back Ryan Mathews was the major pain for the Chiefs defense on Sunday.
He scored both San Diego touchdowns and produced 149 yards in total offense, including 98 rushing yards. Mathews had TD runs of 2 and 4 yards.
“Ryan is getting better every week,” Chargers coach Norv Turner said of his second-year back out of Fresno State. Mathews was San Diego’s first-round selection in the 2010 NFL Draft. “I think he’s getting more comfortable and using his vision a lot better and making very good running decisions. It’s very obvious that he’s becoming a very good receiver.”
Mathews now has 393 yards in total offense on 59 touches with three touchdowns.
“It’s just me being more comfortable,” said Mathews. “I’m more patient and the game is slowing down. My linemen, my quarterback and just the whole offense have been helping me along these past couple weeks. I’m comfortable back there. I feel good.”
Chiefs FS Kendrick Lewis bristled a bit when asked how Mathews hurt his defense.
“I think our defensive line did a good job on him,” Lewis said. “We’re going to look at film and see where he hurt us. He’s a big back (6-0, 218) so we need to make better tackles as a group to get him down and plug the leaks.”
CAN’T GET THE INCH
The Chiefs had the opportunity to tie or win the game only because the Chargers could not make an inch when they had a 4th down-play with 86 seconds to play in the game.
Holding a three-point lead with the ball at the Chiefs 34-yard line, San Diego coach Norv Turner decided rather than punt, he was going to go for the first down. If he makes it, the game is over because the Chiefs were out of timeouts.
But QB Phillip Rivers couldn’t move the pile and the Chiefs took over on downs.
“Where I ended up on the ground there was no question I had it, but there was a big dog pile there,” Rivers said. “The referees do the best they can when they blow the whistle and do the best spot they can, but it’s tough on them to let the play go until I end up on the ground.”
Turner had no doubts his team could convert the play.
“You look out there and you see them measure it and we have an outstanding offensive line,” said the Chargers head coach. “When we’ve used the quarterback sneak, it’s been outstanding. I thought he had the first down, but I know it’s hard to get an accurate mark.”
WHAT’S UP WITH SUCCOP
After the game, Todd Haley wouldn’t really address the state of his kicker, other than to say he has to play better like everybody else.
But Ryan Succop is struggling right now. For the third game in a row, he missed a very makeable field goal, going wide right from 38 yards away. Now after three games, he’s just two of four. He later hit a 33-yarder against the Chargers. He also had a successful 33-yard kick against Detroit, while missing from 44 yards against the Lions and then 49 yards against the Bills. That 50 percent success rate is far below his career average over the last two seasons of 82 percent of his FG attempts (45 of 55).
“I thought he did some good things in a couple of areas,” Haley said of Succop. “I think the snap (on the missed FG) may be was a little off, but we’ll have to look on tape to see what happened on the miss.
“Ryan falls into that entire group of guys β¦ I believe in these guys.”
It was a loud crowd at Qualcomm Stadium, despite the fact it was not a full house. Me thinks they were augmenting some of the crowd noise through their stadium sound system. At Qualcomm, the PA is at ear bleeding levels.
As usually happens in San Diego, there were a good number of red shirts in the crowd, especially in several sections behind the Chiefs bench. The game at Qualcomm attracts the families of players that live in southern California, plus it’s always an attractive road trip for Chiefs fans in the Midwest.
No question the place was loud and the Chiefs got hit with a false start. But otherwise it didn’t seem to be much of a bother for the K.C. offense.
SPECIAL TEAMS REPORT
SUCCOP β we touched on him earlier. But he also had four kickoffs. Two went for touchbacks. He hit another one to the 5-yard line that was returned 24 yards and when he was backed up to kickoff at the 20-yard line because of a penalty, he boomed it to the 13-yard line that was returned 20 yards. “We needed a good hang-time kick there and that was a real big play for us,” said Haley.
COLQUITT β the Chiefs punter showed his strong leg with four punts, all in the first half. He hit for 43, 37, 49 and 53 yards. Two of those kicks resulted in fair catches, and the other two were returned for a total of nine yards. His gross average was 45.5 yards with a 43.3-yard net average.
RETURNS β Give it up to Javier Arenas who finally made something happen on returns, against San Diego coverage units that have had their problems over the last year or so. Arenas ripped off a 37-yard punt return and a 35-yard kickoff return. The punt return was the longest of the season for the Chiefs, while the kickoff return matched a 35-yarder that Dexter McCluster had against Detroit. The punt return is the longest of Arenas two-year NFL career and the kickoff return matched his best from last year.
COVERAGE β Excellent job here, as the Chargers averaged just 4.5 yards on two punt returns and 22 yards on a pair of kick returns.
The crew of Walt Coleman worked the game. Their first two assignments in the 2011 season saw home team victories for Houston over Indianapolis and New Orleans over Chicago. Coming into the game they had walked off 23 flags for 178 yards. They were pretty true to their form, with 11 penalties walked off for 105 yards. They got the Chiefs seven times for 65 yards:
|Gave SD 1st Down|
|Jared Gaither||False start||
|Leonard Pope||Pass Int.||
|Leonard Pope||US Conduct*||
|Forced kickoff to 20|
*-Pope was flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct when he took off his helmet in the end zone after catching a 1-yard TD pass in the 4th quarter.
Both teams had a lot of injured bodies on the Qualcomm Stadium turf throughout the game. For the Chiefs, it started with SS Jon McGraw, who left in the second quarter with a left knee bruise and did not return.
Then came CB Brandon Flowers and his right knee issues; he went out with 5 minutes, 41 seconds to play in the first half and did not return. His replacement Travis Daniels went down briefly, with an unknown injury in the second quarter. He missed four plays but then returned and finished out the game.
TE Anthony Becht appeared to suffer a left hamstring injury near the end of the third quarter. He was helped off the field and did not return to the offense the rest of the game.
Captains for the Chiefs on this Sunday were WR Terrance Copper, RB Thomas Jones, LB Demorrio Williams and LB Derrick Johnson.
Inactive players for the Chiefs were QB Ricky Stanzi, WR Jonathan Baldwin, DE Brandon Bair, NT Jerrell Powe, OT Steve Maneri, S Reshard Langford and WR Jerheme Urban.
Inactive players for the Chargers were SS Bob Sanders, TE Antonio Gates, DE Luis Castillo, RB Jordan Todman, LB Darryl Gamble, S Paul Oliver and DE Corey Liuget. Starting for Gates was Randy McMichael, opening in Liuget’s spot was Jacques Cesaire and filling in for Sanders was Steve Gregory.
The Chargers made a roster move over the weekend, adding S Paul Oliver to the roster while sending LB Jonas Mouton (shoulder) to the injured reserve list. Oliver was with the Chargers for four years but signed in free agency with New Orleans, where he was cut in the pre-season.