Chiefs vs. Chargers: 11 Observations

Here are 11 things that stood out about the Chiefs game on Sunday

The Kansas City Chiefs took on the San Diego Chargers on a rainy Sunday afternoon at Arrowhead Stadium.

Here are 10 observations from the game:

1. Chiefs win seventh straight with 10-3 win over Chargers

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The Chiefs have now won an AFC-best seven straight games to move to 8-5 on the season. They swept the season series over the Chargers for the second consecutive season.

They are now 4-1 against the AFC West this season.

It's the first time since 1990-93 that the Chiefs have won at least four straight over the Chargers. They won eight straight during that streak back more than 24 years ago. The last time the Chiefs won four or more games against the AFC West was 2006, when the team went 4-2.

The win also gave the Chiefs their 204th franchise win over AFC West foes, which is the most of any team within the division against division opponents.

2. Dee Ford goes off to lead Chiefs defense on Sunday

Coming into the game, second-year linebacker Dee Ford had just 1.5 sacks in his career.

He tripled that on Sunday with 3 sacks of Philip Rivers in a game that his presence was needed and ultimately felt.

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With All-Pro Justin Houston out with a hyperextended knee again this week, Ford stepped in and helped a Chiefs defense limit the Chargers offense, which ranked No. 6 (380 yards per game) in the NFL entering Sunday's contest, to just 280 total yards.

As a whole, the Chiefs defense finished with 5 sacks and allowed just 3 total points on Sunday.

Ford's big plays didn't come in mop-up time either. 2 of his 3 sacks came on third down and the third sack came at the two-minute warning, as the Chargers had just crossed midfield and trailed by just 7 points.

They were huge plays, and the biggest may have come on the last play of the game, when Ford found himself out in coverage on running back Danny Woodhead. Woodhead wasn't able to secure the pass in the back of the end zone as Ford was running stride for stride with him.

The best game of Ford's young career came when it was needed the most, which is becoming a theme for a red-hot team that has now won seven straight.

The Chiefs allowed a total of 6 points combined in their two matchups against the Chargers this season. That ties the lowest number of points allowed in a single season against the San Diego franchise in the club's history.

3. Defense stands tall late, shuts Chargers out early

It was a game that was eerily reminiscent of the losses earlier in the season against the Denver Broncos and Chicago Bears—the opposing offense was driving late in the game to the East end zone with a chance to win.

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In those games, they wound up in the end zone, stealing victories over the Chiefs in both games.

But Sunday was different because this team is different; they have evolved, they have developed and they have become a better team because of the lessons learned in those earlier games.

With Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers driving late in the game and trailing by just a touchdown, the Chiefs defense had to withstand three plays inside the 6-yard line with less than 5 seconds remaining on the clock to close out their eighth win of the season.

They made it interesting, but Ford's coverage of Woodhead in the back of the end zone sealed the victory for the Chiefs. It was also the exclamation point for the best game of Ford's young career.

The Chiefs defense held the Chargers scoreless through the first two quarters, marking just the ninth time in Chargers history the club scored zero points at the half.

It's worth nothing that the Chiefs also played this game without linebacker Justin Houston, safety Husain Abdullah or defensive lineman Mike DeVito—all three players considered to be key contributors.

Guys just keep stepping up for this team.

4. Long touchdown reception comes after Smith audibles

As the Chiefs were driving down the field and facing a second-and-4 just across midfield, the Chargers were showing nine men in the box.

With pressure being shown, Smith audibled out of the play to something he felt would give the Chiefs the advantage.

He found the right play.

Smith hit second-year receiver Albert Wilson on the quick slant for a 44-yard touchdown strike, giving the Chiefs a 7-0 lead late in the first half.

Once Wilson got inside leverage, the rest was on Smith, who led Wilson perfectly in stride and Wilson raced to the end zone for his second career touchdown.

It wasn't the only big play on the day for Wilson.

5. Wilson leads Chiefs on the outside

Earlier in the game, Wilson made another big catch on a "free play" as the Chargers defense jumped offside, giving Smith a free shot down the field.

Smith took that shot to Wilson, who at just 5 feet 9 and 200 pounds, went up for it across the middle and made a fantastic grab and brought it down for a 29-yard gain.

Wilson finished the game with a team-high 87 yards receiving on 4 receptions and the only touchdown scored in the game by either team.

6. Derrick Johnson's interception leads to late first-half field goal

On the Chargers next offensive drive after the Wilson touchdown, Rivers took them 35 yards on 7 plays before they faced a third-and-8 from midfield.

On that third-down attempt, rookie Marcus Peters deflected the Rivers' pass across the middle that was intended for Malcom Floyd. The ball flew into the air and landed into the sure hands of Derrick Johnson, who returned it 5 yards to the 39-yard line of the Chiefs.

It was Johnson's second interception of the season and gave the Chiefs a chance to add to their 7-0 lead late in the first half.

After an Alex Smith completion to Jeremy Maclin for 21 yards, then a Smith scramble for 18 yards, Cairo Santos was able to connect from 40 yards and give the Chiefs a 10-0 lead going into halftime.

The Chiefs now have seven players with multiple interceptions this season after having just 6 total interceptions last season.

7. Alex Smith shows some fire

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Midway through the second quarter in a scoreless game, the Chiefs offense had crossed midfield after a couple of third-down conversions on running plays, the first of which came from Charcandrick West, who took a third-and-3 handoff up the middle for 6 yards.

Just four plays later, Alex Smith scrambled for a first down on another third-and-3, taking a shot from Chargers defensive back Jahleel Addae after the play in the process.

Addae seemingly led with his head as Smith was lying on the ground, and Smith was pretty fired up after the play, letting him know how he felt.

Smith said after the game that he was trying to fire himself, and everyone else, up after the play.

It worked.

Just two plays later, Smith found Albert Wilson for a 44-yard touchdown strike.

The whole situation seemed to be what woke up the Chiefs.

That was also the longest drive of the season for the Chiefs, going 96 yards on 9 plays in 5:23 to take a lead they would never relinquish.

With 3,034 yards passing this season, Smith is now just 280 shy of breaking his career best, which was set back in 2013 (3,313 yards).


Photos from Chiefs Week 14 matchup against the Chargers.


8. Penalties, turnovers hurt the Chiefs early

The Chiefs ranked second in the NFL with a plus-13 turnover differential coming into Sunday's game, and they also averaged just 6.67 penalties per game.

Those were two areas early in the game that the Chiefs were struggling.

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Smith threw an interception in the first half, breaking his consecutive streak of passes without an interception at 312—the second-best streak in NFL history. Frankie Hammond Jr. also lost a fumble on a punt return, giving the Chargers 2 takeaways in the first half.

The Chiefs were called for 5 penalties that resulted in 33 yards for the Chargers in the first half.

But they were able to overcome their slow offensive start, which is a sign of a good football team and something the Chiefs have undoubtedly become.

9. Tamba Hali steps up again on Sunday

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Sacks don't always tell the whole story.

Tamba Hali wasn't credited with a sack on Sunday, but he had another fantastic game for the Chiefs – finishing with 6 tackles, 2 of which came for loss, and 1 quarterback hit.

The 10-year veteran was all over the place for a defense that shut out the Chargers in the first 30 minutes of the game.

The Chargers had 12 rushing attempts in the first half and they netted just 22 yards for an average of 1.8 yards per carry.

10. Running back-by-committee approach works on Sunday

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Charcandrick West finished the game with 10 carries for 54 yards, and Spencer Ware had 8 carries for 52 yards.

Alex Smith even got in the mix, scrambling 5 times for a total of 40 yards.

Ware left the game early with a rib contusion, but the ground attack was working for the Chiefs, as they finished the game with 150 yards rushing.

11. The rain kept coming

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They said rain was going to come and they were right.

The tarp was taken off the field at Arrowhead Stadium a little more than two hours before the game, and the rain steadily came down for another few hours after that.

The rain didn't stop until the second half. It was the third straight game for the Chiefs in the rain.

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