Chargers 41, Chiefs 38: Insta-reaction

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12/19/2013 3:37 PM

05/16/2014 10:49 AM

- Godspeed to each and every one of you who tailgated in the arctic today.

- And, if we’re being fair, good for each and every one of you who watched from a couch, too.

- The Chiefs are in all kinds of trouble if Houston and Hali are out for the Broncos game.

- Like, the-cops-are-banging-down-your-door kind of trouble.

- This is a season-changer.

- More on this in the column.

- If you needed any convincing that the Chiefs are operating without a safety net this season, today oughtta convince you. The Chargers had three points nearing halftime when Houston went out. After that, they went: TD, TD, Punt (big gain wiped out by penalty), TD, FG, TD, Punt, TD (78 yards in 53 seconds, when the Chiefs knew they just needed to keep it out of the end zone).

- The Chargers did everything but send Alex Smith a formal invitation to throw the ball deep. Very little safety help on the receivers, lots of defenders bunched near the line. Smith, for the first time this season, was wildly effective going down the field, most notably to Donnie Avery (who caught the passes).

- No coincidence, then, that Smith played what might be his best game of the season. The Chargers’ defense stinks, but Smith made good plays, good reads, moved the team up and down the field. Best offensive game of the year for them, and that always means the quarterback played well.

- Chiefs offense scored 26 points in the last two games, combined, before today.

- They scored 38 today, including a touchdown with less than 2 minutes left on a drive everyone’s been waiting all season for: need a score, game on the line, what are you going to do?

- Even without Eric Fisher, the Chiefs’ offensive line continued the season-long trend of getting beat early, then adjusting. Alex Smith’s first touchdown pass, in particular, was made possible by terrific protection.

- Ladarius Green outrunning your entire secondary for a 60-yard touchdown when you have 43 defensive backs on the field is just inexcusable.

- That’s two crap games in a row for Marcus F. Cooper.

- Good grief, Philip Rivers. Shut up already.

- Alex Smith’s third quarter interception (his first since the Houston game, by the way) may have been his worst pass of the season. Just awful, assuming Avery ran the right route. There were three Chargers defenders around the play, and the ball was overthrown enough that Avery couldn’t touch it even with a well-timed jump.

- That 46 yard run by Charles early in the fourth quarter was his longest of the year, and his best. Just a perfect combination of patience, vision, jukes and speed. There was reason to wonder if Charles had lost a bit of that explosion, become more thunder than lightning. But that was old-school.

- The most important thing out of this game, besides the outcome, is the health of Justin Houston and Tamba Hali. For a team built on defense, going into its most important game of the season against one of the best offenses in NFL history, that’s really all that matters this week.

- If one or both of those guys can’t go, Frank Zombo needs to make good on what was — if you can remember back this far — a promising preseason as an outside linebacker and pass rusher.

- If one or both those guys can’t go, the horseshoes are turning to horsebleep.

- I might use that line in the column, actually. I better get to work.

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