San Diego Chargers implode in Kansas City in Week 1

Sep 11, 2016; Kansas City, MO, USA; San Diego Chargers running back Melvin Gordon (28) runs the ball during the first half against the Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 11, 2016; Kansas City, MO, USA; San Diego Chargers running back Melvin Gordon (28) runs the ball during the first half against the Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports /

The San Diego Chargers traveled to Arrowhead Stadium to take on the Kansas City Chiefs on the 15th anniversary of September 11th. What looked to be a great start to the upcoming season quickly took a nose dive in true Chargers fashion. The Chargers allowed the Chiefs to score 24 unanswered points, ultimately concluding in a 33-27 Chiefs overtime win.

After winning the toss, the Chargers would chose to defer, and allow Alex Smith and the Chiefs offense to construct a seven-play 46-yard drive.  The Chiefs would eventually settle for a Cairo Santos field goal from 47-yards out, putting the Chiefs up early 3-0.

On the ensuing drive, the Chargers came out swinging. Philip Rivers showed great pocket presence, connecting with Keenan Allen for a 14-yard gain, and Tyrell Williams for a 33-yard gain. After a defensive pass interference moved the Chargers to the one yard line, Melvin Gordon bullied his way in to the end zone for his first NFL touchdown, putting the score at 7-3.

The Chargers defense stepped up early. Corey Liuget hit Alex Smith for a four-yard loss, causing a fumble, which was recovered by Darius Philon. However, Jason Verrett was called for defensive holding, and Eric Fisher was called for offensive holding. These two penalties offset each other, forcing a replay of third down. The Chiefs offense were unable to convert, and the Chiefs were forced to punt. This punt would be the first of five consecutive punts for Kansas City.

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On the Chargers second drive, several players contributed to eat up small chunks of yardage. Allen caught passes for 15 and nine-yard gains. Travis Benjamin snagged an eight-yard pass. Danny Woodhead carried the ball for 24 yards on three carries, and Antonio Gates even hauled in a short pass from Rivers. Gordon capped off the drive with a great six-yard rush. putting the Chargers up 14-3.

The Chargers did a great job of controlling the clock, utilizing power running and short passes to keep the Chiefs defense guessing. During the Chargers third possession of the game, the Chiefs defense looked winded and frustrated. They committed several penalties that assisted in the Chargers drive down the field. Woodhead would eventually score his first touchdown of the season by snagging a short pass from Rivers, allowing the Chargers to go up 21-3.

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The Chargers received the ball to start the second half, but were unable to duplicate the success of the first half. The Chargers would end up punting on their first drive, and attempting three consecutive field goals on the following three drives, one which was missed from 54 yards out.

Smith and the Chiefs offense started to fire on all cylinders in the second half. It started in the middle of the third quarter with a 45-yard catch and run by Spencer Ware. Smith also connected with Travis Kelce for 13 yards, and capped off the drive with a nine-yard pass to Tyreek Hill, bringing the score to 27-10 after the extra point.

After a Verrett interception resulted in a missed field goal by Josh Lambo, the Chiefs continued to take over the game. The Chiefs constructed a seven play, 56-yard drive, resulting in Jeremy Maclin’s first touchdown of the season, bringing the Chiefs within 10 points. The Chiefs’ hot streak didn’t stop there. On their ensuing possession, the Chiefs strung together a 12-play, 62-yard drive. However, the Chiefs had to settle for a 33-yard field goal by Santos, putting the Chiefs within one score.

A terrible 17-yard punt by Chargers punter Drew Kaser put the Chiefs in great field position with 1:49 left in the fourth quarter. Smith completed two short passes to Charcandrick West, and a deep 22-yard pass to Maclin to put the Chiefs in the red zone. After a five-yard penalty on Jahleel Addae for unnecessary roughness, Ware was able to rush for a five-yard touchdown, and after the extra point the game was tied 27-27.

The Chargers received the ball with 1:03 left on the clock, but could not get anything going. The Chargers would punt, giving the ball to the Chiefs with 0:08 left on the clock, resulting in the game going into overtime.

Kansas City won the toss and elected to receive. After an offside penalty called on Dwight Lowery, the Chiefs started with the ball on their 30-yard line. On the first play of overtime, Smith completed a 20-yard pass to Ware, putting the Chiefs on the 50-yard line. The Chiefs continued to drive down the field with great runs by Ware, and athletic catches from Kelce. The game ended with an option run to the right where Smith elected to keep the ball and take it in for the score, resulting in a 33-27 Chiefs win.

The Good

-Gordon finally gets into the end zone, and has a good game to help boost his confidence going into the season.

-The defense was putting pressure on Smith, playing with intensity and unity.

-The Chargers looked like a playoff-bound team in the first-half.

The Bad

-Coaching has no confidence, and plays scared. Their second half adjustments are terrible! After the first half, Gordon would receive limited carries, and the defense was forced into prevent. With Gordon in the backfield, the defense was staying honest, and on their toes. Coaching thought it was a better decision to turn to the good ole’ Woodhead draw play. Play calling on defense was atrocious, there was a lack of pressure, allowing Smith to get comfortable and pick apart the secondary.

The Ugly

– At the end of the second quarter, Allen suffered a non-contact knee injury. He was carted off the field in visible pain, and early reports indicate a torn ACL. The organization will not confirm the injury until more tests are conducted. This is a big blow to Allen who suffered a season-ending injury last season. It’s also a big blow to the offense. Rivers’ production declines with Allen off the field.