It’s halftime at Arrowhead Stadium, and the Chiefs trail the Chargers 21-3 in their season opener. Here are some quick thoughts.
1. The Chargers’ offensive line is bossing up front. Period. San Diego was one of the worst rushing teams in football last year but they’ve been dominating at the point of attack. Running Melvin Gordon (eight carries, 39 yards) didn’t score a single touchdown last year but he’s already got two rushing touchdowns. He looks rejuvenated and quick. If the Chiefs’ run defense, which struggled during the preseason, doesn’t improve soon, it’s going to be a long day.
2. The Chiefs’ pass defense isn’t getting the job done, either. Not nearly enough pressure on Philip Rivers, who has completed a ridiculous 16-of-20 passes for 151 yards and a touchdowns. Again, if they don’t start hitting this guy, it’s going to be a long day. The Chargers have too many offensive weapons to give that guy all day to throw. There needs to be more creativity when it comes to the blitz because the Chiefs just aren’t going to be able to line up man-on-man and create pressure like they can with Justin Houston.
3. The Chiefs’ offense also got off to a disappointing start. The Chargers’ defensive line won the battle up front, but Alex Smith held the ball too long on two second-quarter sacks. Nothing is working right now. The offense looks nothing like the group we saw throughout camp and the preseason, when the Chiefs’ timing-based passing game was on point. They better figure it out.
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4. The Chiefs are getting outcoached, too. On the offensive side, there’s way too much side-to-side stuff and not enough action going forward. The Chargers have all that side-to-side stuff down. On defense, there are way too many guys running free underneath, too many blown coverages, etc. A poorly-executed gameplan ... at least until the Chargers’ final drive of the half, as the Chiefs finally forced them to get off the field.
5. Some depth chart notes: Spencer Ware was the starter and has earned most of the work at running back. Steven Nelson is the starter in the base 3-4 with Phillip Gaines coming in as the nickel. No major surprises there. Knile Davis was the starting kick returner. Tyreek Hill earned some work in the base offense.