When the Chiefs fell behind 24-6 in the third quarter in New Orleans last week, it would have been easy for offensive coordinator Brian Daboll to forget about Jamaal Charles and the running game and call nothing but passing plays the rest of the way.
Daboll resisted that temptation, and he and the Chiefs were rewarded for it. Charles took a running play 91 yards for a touchdown on the next snap and the Chiefs continued to run as they eventually tied the game with three seconds left in regulation, then won it in overtime.
“As a play-caller, when you get into that particular situation in a game and you’re down a little bit, you have to stay true sometimes to what you game-planned for and what you think can help you win the game,’’ Daboll said. “As the seconds start ticking down in the back of your mind, you (think) you should start airing it out.
“The (91-yard) run by Jamaal (helped) us a little bit. We had time to play at an up-tempo pace even if we weren’t throwing it all over the place.’’
The Chiefs ran on 16 of 28 offensive snaps between the time they fell behind 24-6 and the end of the fourth quarter.
Visiting with Wiegmann
After losing starting center Rodney Hudson for the season in last week’s game because of a broken leg, the Chiefs met with former center Casey Wiegmann. The 39-year-old Wiegmann isn’t playing this season.
“With our situation, we’ve got to investigate everything,’’ coach Romeo Crennel said. “We did talk to him about what he was doing. He talked to us about how we were doing. That’s where we left it.’’
The Chiefs didn’t sign Wiegmann. They instead signed Russ Hochstein and Bryan Mattison as backups for their offensive line.
The Chiefs appear comfortable going with Ryan Lilja, a converted guard, at center. Lilja replaced Hudson at center for the remainder of the New Orleans game and will make the first start of his career at the position Sunday against San Diego at Arrowhead Stadium.
Crennel said the Chiefs wouldn’t have to limit what they call because of Lilja.
“He showed last game that really there’s no limit,’’ Crennel said. “There was, like, 50 snaps he played at center and he handled himself very well. After that performance, you feel pretty good about whatever you might call.’’
Kaeding won't kick
The Chargers will have a new kicker against the Chiefs after San Diego said regular kicker Nate Kaeding didn’t make the trip for the game. He had been listed as questionable because of a right groin injury.
The team said Nick Novak traveled to KC but an official transaction hadn’t been made, according to The Associated Press.
Leavy’s crew to officiate Sunday
A crew led by veteran referee Bill Leavy will officiate Sunday’s game. Levy began working NFL games in 1995. He became a referee in 2001.
Leavy’s career is perhaps best remembered for being the referee in the 2006 Super Bowl that was marred by some controversial calls that helped the Pittsburgh Steelers beat the Seattle Seahawks 21-10.
Leavy later issued a public apology to the Seahawks for the controversial calls.
The Chiefs had five of their nine top pass catchers listed as either out, doubtful or questionable on the final injury report of the week. Tight end Kevin Boss (concussion) will not play Sunday. Running back Peyton Hillis (ankle) is doubtful. Dwayne Bowe (groin), Steve Breaston (knee) and Dexter McCluster (elbow) are listed as questionable, technically meaning each has a 50-50 chance of playing. Another wide receiver, rookie Devon Wylie (hamstring) is also listed as questionable.
Also listed as questionable for the Chiefs are safety Kendrick Lewis (shoulder) and defensive linemen Glenn Dorsey (calf) and Anthony Toribio (ankle). Listed as probable are center Ryan Lilja (back) and tight end Jake O’Connell (knee).
Chargers could be matchup problem
Even with a makeshift offensive line — created after Hudson broke his leg — the Chiefs ran around and through the New Orleans Saints for 273 yards and lead the NFL in rushing with 191.7 yards per game.
It might not be so easy this week against a stout San Diego front seven that ranks fourth in run defense, allowing just 67.3 yards per game, compared to the 32nd-ranked Saints at 215.0 per game.
The Chargers’ defensive front, featuring 315-pound nose tackle Aubrayo Franklin and ends Corey Liguet and Vaughn Martin, plus tackle machine Takeo Spikes at inside linebacker, could create matchup problems for the Chiefs’ rebuilt offensive line. Lilja, a 290-pounder, is shifting from guard to center and is flanked by second-year starter Jon Asamoah at right guard and rookie Jeff Allen making his first career start at left guard.
“We just have to stay lower, because leverage wins at the line of scrimmage,” said Crennel. “We’ve got to be more tenacious. And our guys have a good attitude about ourselves and about the running game and about what they can do.”