Red Zone

Chiefs Blitz: Q&A about Sunday’s 10-3 win over San Diego

Chiefs linebacker Josh Mauga was pumped up after tackling Chargers running back Melvin Gordon for a loss on third down in the first quarter.
Chiefs linebacker Josh Mauga was pumped up after tackling Chargers running back Melvin Gordon for a loss on third down in the first quarter. deulitt@kcstar.com

In this week’s Blitz, The Star’s Terez Paylor answers five postgame Twitter questions from Chiefs fans.

1. Which AFC division winner do the Chiefs have the best chance of ending their playoff winless streak against? - @SteveAuckly

Assuming the Bengals and the Patriots win the top two seeds — a scenario that is complicated, somewhat, by Andy Dalton’s thumb injury — that leaves the Broncos and whoever wins the AFC South — probably the Colts or Texans — as options. Chiefs fans should be rooting for a showdown against the latter two. Both games are winnable — the Chiefs already proved they can go into Houston and win (they did it in their season opener) and the Colts just got jackhammered by the Jaguars 51-16. Still, I think the looming return of Andrew Luck makes the Colts more dangerous than the Texans, and really, should Chiefs fans really be rooting for a return to the site of their 2014 wild-card collapse?

2. Were the penalties and turnovers today an anomaly or cause for concern? - @JerMarks

The stats say they were anomalies. Entering the game, the Chiefs had the second-fewest amount of turnovers in the league (10) and ranked 11th in total number of penalties committed (80). Also, the weather probably played a role in their struggles in both areas Sunday, as rainy conditions often make for odd games.

3. Do the Chiefs have a long-snapper problem? - @cadillacjaxon

This is a fair question, especially after the Chiefs, who missed a field goal Sunday due to a bad snap, also failed to convert two extra points the week before against Oakland. But while long snapper James Winchester accepted responsibility for the miss on Sunday — “It was 100 percent on me,” he said — special-teams coach Dave Toub chalked the Oakland misses up to errors committed by holder Dustin Colquitt and kicker Cairo Santos. So the answer to your question is “probably not,” though it would be telling if the Chiefs bring in some snappers this week for tryouts.

4. Was (Dee) Ford actually good, or (was Chris) Hairston just that bad? - @Hokius

Ford, the Chiefs’ 2014 first-round pick, led the team with seven tackles while racking up a career-high three sacks. Don’t take that away from him — that’s a great day by any measure. Hairston has played a lot of snaps this year due to starting left tackle King Dunlap’s injury issues, so it’s not like Ford just beat up on some inexperienced guy. Hairston, a fourth-year pro, has played in 54 games and made 23 career starts. It’s okay to feel good about Ford’s day, while also understanding that he still has room to grow as a player. For a second-year pro, that’s to be expected.

5. What’s the optimal offensive line in a playoff game? - @Bobo3324

I answered a similar question to this a little differently in my weekly chat with Chiefs fans on Friday, but after giving it a little more thought, here’s my best guess: left tackle Eric Fisher, left guard Jeff Allen, center Mitch Morse, right guard Laurent Duvernay-Tardif and right tackle Jah Reid. I’d like to slide Donald Stephenson in there somewhere — perhaps right guard — but the Chiefs have won their last six games with Duvernay-Tardif and Reid, and I’ve gotten the sense they’ve really formed a nice chemistry. I might also be tempted to try Zach Fulton at center and shift Mitch Morse to right guard, but there’s no sense in rocking the boat right now. The Chiefs are on a roll, and you don’t experiment with things during a run like this in the NFL.

The number

0: The number of touchdowns San Diego quarterback Philip Rivers has thrown against the Chiefs this year. During his 12-year career, Rivers has thrown 275 touchdowns.

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