Red Zone

Halftime observations from Los Angeles: Chiefs 17, Chargers 10

Some Chiefs players participate in protest before game against Chargers

Some players sat out the national anthem before the Chiefs-Chargers game in Carson, California.
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Some players sat out the national anthem before the Chiefs-Chargers game in Carson, California.

It’s halftime of the Chiefs’ Week 3 showdown against Los Angeles, and they lead the Chargers 17-10 at the StubHub Center. Here are Terez A. Paylor’s quick thoughts.

1. It’s time for opponents to stop calling out Marcus Peters

I’ve covered every one of Peters’ professional games, and I can tell it never turns out well for an opponent when they decide to trash-talk the Chiefs’ all-pro corner, who has an uncanny knack for making people pay with interceptions. Chargers receiver Keenan Allen called Peters a “bum” last December, and Peters responded on Sunday by recording a first-quarter interception that led to a touchdown. He’s also done the same vs the Raiders and Texans, two teams that feature receivers (DeAndre Hopkins and Michael Crabtree) that have shaded Peters publicly.

That said, Peters does have one unsportsmanlike penalty under his belt today –– he was yapping at an official too long after a borderline call –– so he really needs to keep his cool. One more unsportsmanlike penalty and he’ll be out for the rest of the game. I expect the Chargers to fully unleash Allen on him in the second half, in an attempt to cajole Peters into a penalty that would get him kicked out.

2. Terrance Mitchell is proving his coaches right

Mitchell has been getting thrown at a ton this season, and he’s recorded his fair share of penalties, but there’s no doubting this guy’s competitiveness. The coaching staff keeps throwing him out there because they love the way he gets after it, and Mitchell redeemed their faith in him by recording a pick on the Chargers’ first drive. He also recorded another in the second quarter that set up a field goal.

3. Chiefs need to keep a lid on Gordon

Running back Melvin Gordon III is the key to the Chargers’ offense. Although Philip Rivers loves slinging the rock, these guys are at their best when the offense is balanced. If the Chiefs let Gordon go off, they’ll be in trouble in the second half. The Chargers tend to get pass-happy though, so it remains to be seen if they can remain disciplined enough to stick with the run as the game goes along.

4. The Chiefs are losing the pass-rush battle

Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith has already been sacked three times today, while the Chiefs have yet to record a sack. The Chiefs lead right now, thanks to three turnovers, but they can’t rely on those all game long. If the Chargers start to pass a bunch, and the pass-rush remains a tad stagnant, the Chargers can fight their way back into the game.

5. Stamina could play a role in this one

It’s fairly hot out here and a number of key Chiefs have already missed snaps. Cairo Santos absorbed a blow on a drive-extending running-the-kicker call (he stayed in), while Justin Houston –– who was ill this week –– has rotated in some with Frank Zombo. Running back Kareem Hunt also seemed to be getting his shoulder looked at during one point of the half, while Derrick Johnson was subbed out for Kevin Pierre-Louis, though the reasons for that are unclear.

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