The key plays, stats and grades from the KC Chiefs’ 30-13 win over the Los Angeles Chargers on Saturday night at Arrowhead Stadium.
Player of the game: Cornerback Marcus Peters proved his value to the team after a one-game suspension, recording two key interceptions in the victory.
Reason to hope: The Chiefs resembled the team that took the NFL by storm in September, when they jumped out to a 5-0 start. The also seized control of the AFC West and took a significant step toward winning back-to-back division titles.
Reason to mope: How could these guys look so good on Saturday and stink it up throughout November?
Looking ahead: The Chiefs, 8-6, will rest up over the weekend and prepare for another home game next Sunday against the Miami Dolphins on Christmas Eve. The Dolphins enter their game against the Buffalo Bills on Sunday with a 6-7 record. They’ve gone 0-1 against the Chiefs since coach Andy Reid arrived in 2013.
Rushing offense: Entering the game, the Chargers’ run defense ranked 29th in the NFL, allowing 124.8 yards per contest. The Chiefs finished with 174 yards in 32 carries, an average of 5.4 yards per carry. Running back Kareem Hunt rushed for 155 yards and a touchdown in 24 carries, a stellar average of 6.4 yards per rush. Kudos to a much-maligned offensive line that created lots of space for the hard-charging Hunt, who looked like himself again after a quiet month of November.
Passing offense: Entering the game, the Chargers’ pass defense ranked third in the NFL, allowing 200.3 yards per contest. Quarterback Alex Smith completed 23 of 30 passes for 231 yards, two touchdowns and zero interceptions. He was also sacked once against a pass rush that ranked fifth in the league with 37 sacks entering the contest. Receiver Tyreek Hill led the Chiefs in receiving with 88 yards on five catches.
Rushing defense: Entering the game, the Chargers’ run offense ranked 24th in the NFL, allowing 99.5 yards per contest. The Chargers rushed 22 times for 98 yards and one touchdown, an average of 4.4 yards per carry. Running back Melvin Gordon III finished with 78 yards and one touchdown in 19 carries. The Chargers found some space on occasion but this was a good effort by this group.
Passing defense: Entering the game, the Chargers’ pass offense ranked third in the NFL with an average of 273.2 yards per contest. Quarterback Philip Rivers completed of 20 of 36 passes for 227 yards, one touchdown and three interceptions. The Chiefs sacked him twice. Marvelous job overall against one of the league’s hottest quarterbacks.
Special teams: Kicker Harrison Butker made three field goals, but he also missed a 52-yarder. The Chiefs muffed an early punt but recovered it. They also had an impressive 50-yard kick return by Akeem Hunt –– which would have been a season long –– nullified by a holding penalty. On the plus side, they did force an missed extra point by kicker Travis Coons. Good enough effort to win.
Coaching: Hey, this is one of those big games, and Chiefs coach Andy Reid and his staff responded with one of their finest games of the season. The team played hard and the KC staff outcoached the Chargers. Give them credit. Bonus points for Reid for converting a fourth-and-3 deep in the Chargers’ territory in the first quarter in what was presumably an attempt to set the tone and show faith in the offense. Reid did challenge an incomplete pass in the end zone to Kareem Hunt that was not overturned, but it wasn’t an obvious call either way.