The Chargers were on a five-game run, thanks in part to their run defense.
Until the Chiefs showed up.
Kansas City rushed for 154 yards in its 23-20 win over the Chargers on Sunday. That’s the most allowed by the Chargers this season.
“The tackling wasn’t great and other times it was great play-calling by them,” Chargers linebacker Dwight Freeney said. “They had a week extra to prepare for this game so they came out with everything. Hats off to them; we just got to get better.”
Sign Up and Save
Get six months of free digital access to The Kansas City Star
Jamaal Charles rushed for a game-high 95 yards, and a touchdown, to eclipse Priest Holmes in becoming the Chiefs’ all-time leading rusher. Alex Smith contributed 29 yards on six scrambles and Knile Davis added 25 yards as well.
“There was a new wrinkle and we knew they were going to do some new things,” linebacker Jarret Johnson said. “We addressed it and made some adjustments, but they’re a multiple offense and have a ton of weapons, pitching a lot of different angles. I think tackling was the biggest issue today.”
That was the sentiment throughout the Chargers’ locker room. While giving the Chiefs credit, numerous Chargers mentioned the deficiency of wrapping up Chiefs.
“Tackling is a tough issue because there are games where you go out and you put on a clinic tape on tackling and other times you are over-running stuff,” Johnson said. “Usually it’s angles, fits, and stuff like that. It’s normally not your basic tackling technique, it’s your angles to the ball, knowing where your help is, stuff like that.”
The Chargers had addressed their tackling issues after whiffing numerous times in a season-opening loss at Arizona. Since then, the Chargers had tightened up and tried bringing down ball-carries quickly.
But on Sunday, the Chiefs looked fresher, quicker and able to sustain a blow and not go down. The run game helped the Chiefs hog the ball for 39 minutes and convert half of their 14 third-down opportunities.
“It was just clicking and wanted to fight,” Charles said. “We’ve been doing that to every team we play and our identity is we keep the ball from the other team and eat up the clock.”
The Chargers swallowed some humble pie in getting pushed around by the Chiefs.
“When all 11 guys do it right, those plays don’t happen,” Chargers safety Eric Weddle. “But when one or two don’t, you see guys break out and that was what happened today.”