It’s halftime at Qualcomm Stadium, and the Kansas City Chiefs lead the San Diego Chargers 20-10 on Sunday. Here are some quick thoughts.
1. Tight end Travis Kelce was missing in action for the Chiefs’ first possession. He just stood on the sideline, with his helmet on, during the opening drive. He returned on the second play of the Chiefs’ second drive, which began in the second quarter. A team spokesman declined to comment. We’ll ask coach Andy Reid about his absence after the game. Should be interesting.
2. Alex Smith scored on a 5-yard rushing touchdown in the second quarter, giving him five rushing scores for the season. That ties the most ever in a season by a Chiefs quarterback, matching Steve Bono’s tally back in the day. Smith, by the way, has rushed for scores in the Chiefs’ last three games – a positive sign entering the playoffs. Smith hasn’t used his legs nearly as much this year, but he’ll need them to be fully effective in the playoffs.
3. It’s been a while since Marcus Peters has tallied an interception – more than two months, to be exact – but he finally got one on Sunday when he undercut a route and picked off a Philip Rivers pass. Teams have been avoiding Peters far more than they did last year, which is a sign of respect. Nevertheless, it’s still good to see him provide a glimpse of that playmaking ability before the playoffs.
4. The Chiefs have shown some diversity with their formations and playcalls today. On one play, Smith lined up under center with no one behind him. Another featured a bunch formation with Kelce, Jeremy Maclin and Tyreek Hill. Reid dialed up a nice playcall on second-and-goal from the 4 when he called a playaction boot to Charcandrick West.
5. I didn’t think the Chargers would be able to run the ball early – they’re down three backs, and their offensive line is beat to heck. But they’ve done it so far, rushing for 78 yards on 16 carries, an average of 4.8 yards per carry. They’ve been running on their nickel and dime subpackages, just like they did in the season opener. Defenders in the box need to be disruptive and defeat blocks. Period.