Primetime jinxed us everyone. From the game thread in the third quarter:
Wow, This looks an awful lot like the Tampa game...
Yes, now it does look like the Tampa Bay game the Kansas City Chiefs lost earlier this year. Positive on the turnovers, big blown lead, lots of passing yards given up...
Talk about a game that leaves you speechless at the end. The Chiefs comfortably controlled the San Diego Chargers for literally 55 minutes only to disintegrate in the closing seconds. For much of the first half, I was using the word "meltdown" to describe the Chargers. Tempers ran high and the score ran low for San Diego. Unfortunately, it will be the Chiefs' meltdown that will be remembered most.
How the Chiefs lost in the final moments
I know some of you didn't get to see the game yesterday and are probably wondering how the final minutes broke down, so to speak. Here's a quick look.
4-1-SD 45 (6:12): The Chiefs elect to punt on fourth and short (about a half yard or so) and leave the game in the hands of a defense that had played splendidly so far. The punt made it to the eleven yard line and San Diego took over from there. The Chiefs are up 21 to 10.
4:55 to 1:13 left in the game: The Chargers drive 89 yards in 3:42 to score six points. The two-point conversion fails. 21 to 16, Chiefs.
Ensuing kick: Chargers' kicker Nate Kaeding kicks the ball to Dwayne Bowe, who catches the ball against his chest but has it knocked out by LB Antwan Applewhite. Chargers recover with 1:11 left, down by five points at their own 39 yard line.
1:13 to :37 left in the game: Philip Rivers immediately hits Vincent Jackson for a 42 yard reception. Pat Surtain is seen struggling to catch up on the play. The Chargers hammer it home from there in three more plays and the Chiefs are down 22 to 21.
Chiefs' final chance: Kevin Robinson returned the Chargers' kick to the KC 46 yard line. Tyler Thigpen ran for five more yards and passed to Tony Gonzalez for 12 more to get the Chiefs to the 37 yard line. An idiotic delay of game penalty by the Chargers bumped the Chiefs up to the 32 yard line. Connor Barth missed the 50 yard kick with no time left.
Chargers' yards by quarter
Here's a quick look at how the Chiefs' defense controlled the game until the final moments.
Q1: 35 yards (1 first down)
Q2: 71 yards (4 first downs)
Q3: 88 yards (6 first downs)
That's 194 yards through three quarters. Not too shabby.
Q4: 200 yards (11 first downs)
Boom. Game over.
It all comes down to the onside
If Dwayne Bowe hangs on to the onside kick that he had in his hands, the Chiefs almost assuredly win this football game. I suppose crazy stuff happens like that sometimes in the NFL.
Startling contrast between halves
I can't get this stat out of my head: The Chiefs had 18 first half first downs and only four in the second half. What? How? I don't know...
The Chiefs were actually able to score in the third quarter yesterday but consider it a gift from the Chargers. Pat Surtain picked off Philip Rivers early in the third and nearly ran it in. Thigpen ran a QB draw for the six points a play later.
Barth blew it twice
Early in the second quarter, Connor Barth missed a 34 yard field goal that would have put the Chiefs up 10 to 0. After missing a 50 yarder that would have won the game, I bet Barth was thinking he could have won the game twice yesterday.
A really nutty game overall
Despite the crushing sensation I felt at the end of the game, this contest was a lot of fun to watch.
Larry Johnson threw a first quarter touchdown pass.
After Connor Barth missed his first field goal in the second quarter, the Chiefs stripped the ball away from San Diego two minutes later; Thigpen threw a pick in the end zone a minute and a half after that; and then a minute and a half after that Bernard Pollard amazingly stripped the ball away from Vincent Jackson for another Chiefs' turnover.
All pro guard Kris Dielman was kicked out of the game in the second quarter for a phantom punch. Check it out here.
Like rock chalk mentioned yesterday, there really were more positives than negatives to take away from this game.
The Chiefs almost, almost put together a complete game on both sides of the ball. I know almost isn't really good for anything (especially in a loss) but the team was as close as it's been in 2008 to playing a balanced game.
The defense actually generated a pass rush this past weekend, which is the first step of course. Gotta have one game where you can pressure the QB. Sort of like the Chiefs and getting another win. You need to start feeling good somewhere.
I want to cheer for the positives more but our second half coaching keeps getting worse. It has to be tough for players to keep their chins up as evidence mounts each week of their coach's ineptitude in the third and fourth quarters.