You go away for a little bit and... wow. The only good I can find from yesterday is the fact that I had to board my plane back to Jersey during the game, so I wasn't forced to see the whole mess. Was the Pitt game our Denver game from last year? Lets build on that?
Tweet-free version today. Got in late and squeezed out every drop of sleep I could. Got to get to work.
At times, the Chiefs were more inept in this game that at any time this season. Twice, C Rudy Niswanger snapped balls over the head of QB Matt Cassel in the shotgun. Another time, Cassel lost the handle on an attempted pass and the fumble was returned for a touchdown by San Diego.
In all, the Chiefs turned the ball over four times and the Chargers turned all of them into points. There was a fifth turnover, when San Diego got a safety. It was that kind of game.
San Diego doesn’t need that kind of help. QB Philip Rivers threw for 317 yards and scored two touchdowns and had all day to throw, as the Chiefs were not able to muster any type of pass rush. The great RB LaDainian Tomlinson ran for 42 yards and two touchdowns. TE Antonio Gates caught seven passes for 118 yards and two touchdowns. Rivers-LT-Gates, the names that have sparked the Chargers for the last several years. There were no surprises in this game.
Chargers Blast Drowning Chiefs 43-14 from Bob Gretz
KC Star Photo Gallery: Chargers 43, Chiefs 14 | Sunday, Nov. 29
"In the NFL, every week there’s another one coming at you," Haley said. "I just don’t think we handled that. Whatever it was, whether it was coming off Pittsburgh, I can’t say exactly what it was without putting some more time into it.
"From my vantage point, it was an opportunity to see if we could take another little baby step. We didn’t, clearly. If you turn the ball over, it’s going to get out of hand quick. Then it gets ugly."
Chiefs get zapped by Chargers 43-14 from KC Star
There’s no question the Chiefs ability to hang with the Steelers and eventually end up with a victory was a high in what has been three seasons of football disaster. But if the ‘09 team took a step forward with that outcome, it got knocked back three steps on this Sunday by the San Diego Chargers.
It’s nice to beat the defending Super Bowl champions, but the Steelers are old news and do not look like they have much of a chance to repeat. In light of the Chiefs performance at Qualcomm Stadium, last week’s victory may have said more about the ‘09 Steelers than it did about the ‘09 Chiefs.
This was going to be an afternoon where the Chiefs could show how much progress they’ve made since San Diego smashed them by 30 points in late October at Arrowhead Stadium. Todd Haley hoped to see if his team could take another "little baby step" forward as they played the division leaders.
Instead, they actually were worse than they played that day in October. This wasn’t one tiny baby step for the Chiefs; it was one giant leap backwards for the Chiefs Nation.
COLUMN: One step forward, two steps back from Bob Gretz
With Jamaal Charles, the Chiefs have learned they’ve got to take some bad with the good.
There was plenty of good from Charles, Kansas City’s offensive star Sunday in a 43-14 loss to the San Diego Chargers. Charles rushed for 93 yards in just 14 carries and scored on a 4-yard run in the third quarter.
He also caught three passes for 54 yards, including a 49-yarder.
But Charles also lost a fumble at a crucial juncture in the second quarter. With the Chiefs trailing 14-7 and driving beyond midfield, Charles had the ball torn from his grasp by the Chargers’ Quentin Jammer.
San Diego recovered and padded its lead with another touchdown.
Charles makes good plays — and a bad one from KC Star
"The fumble really hurt us because we were trying to answer a score by them and we were moving down field pretty well," said head coach Todd Haley. "If we can get points there, something positive there, we might have been able to hang in the game.
"Minus that, I think Jamaal is showing that he could potentially be a pretty good back."
Charles was productive, running for 93 yards on 14 carries, including a 31-yard run. He caught three passes for 54 yards, including one for 49 yards. He returned two kickoffs for 61 yards, including a 45-yard return. Those were the three longest plays on the day for the Chiefs.
In total, Charles’ day was 19 touches for 208 yards.
"The situation we are in right now, every time I touch the ball I try to make something happen," said Charles. "It’s real frustrating. We just have to come together as a team. We were fighting as a team at the start. After I fumbled the ball, everything just went downhill.
"I believe we can still win the rest of our games. I’m not giving up."
Offense: Ups & Down For Jamaal from KC Star
Cassel defended Niswanger, saying, "Everything we’ve asked of Rudy he’s done. He directs (the offensive line) all day. Unfortunately there are a few plays he’d like to have back. I think you can ask plenty of guys and they could all say they’d like to have a few plays back."
Chiefs coach Todd Haley said the Chiefs would attempt to discover the source of the problem.
"I’ve not seen a problem with Rudy until today," Haley said. "That’s something I’ve never seen as an issue with Rudy. It kind of came out of nowhere. We’ll kind of have to study it. We’ll talk to him a little bit."
Chiefs punter Dustin Colquitt set the team’s single-season record for punts inside the opponent’s 20-yard line when he twice pinned the Chargers inside their own 20. Colquitt broke Louie Aguiar’s 1995 record of 29 punts inside the opponent’s 20. Colquitt has 29 of those punts this season. …
Chiefs notes | Haley may rethink future holiday breaks from KC Star
"You want to be playing your best ball at this time of the year," said QB Philip Rivers, who had a big afternoon, completing 21 of 28 for 317 yards and a pair of touchdowns. "Hopefully we can continue this in December like we have. We didn’t feel like we would be in this position in this division. We are going to worry about ourselves and not worry about anybody else. We’ve got to keep growing strong. We can get a lot better.
"No reason Denver can’t get as hot as they were earlier in the year. We have to stay on our streak."
That winning streak is now six games and the Chargers are 8-3, a game ahead of the Broncos. Not bad for a team that was 2-3 back in October when they arrived at Arrowhead and started their run with a 30-point victory.
Chargers Continue Hot Streak & Notes from Bob Gretz
Chris Chambers didn’t miss the restaurants or the social scene. He didn’t pine over the laid-back Southern California atmosphere or even the coastline. The Chiefs wide receiver didn’t go out Saturday night in San Diego. He didn’t need to. It was the weather he missed most.
"A receiver’s paradise out here," he said.
That and the familiarity of home. Chambers was released four weeks ago by the Chargers. He’s 31 years old and hadn’t been productive. It was time for San Diego to move on. Since the day after he was waived, when the Chiefs claimed him, Chambers was looking forward to his return to San Diego and Qualcomm Stadium.
Of all the things the Chiefs have worked to improve this season, few points of emphasis have received the attention coach Todd Haley has given to surrendering fewer big plays.
Haley said Sunday night that he thought Kansas City was responding. He thought that before more big plays led to another blowout, this time a 43-14 loss to the Chargers.
"I didn’t have any delusions that we all of a sudden went from one thing to another," he said. "But I did feel like we were making progress. Today, it didn’t show."
Not only that, it appeared that one of the AFC West’s most poorly guarded secrets is that the Chiefs’ secondary has become a weakness too tempting for opponents to resist.
Chargers burn Chiefs secondary with big plays from KC Star
This was too easy.
The San Diego Chargers turned four turnovers into touchdowns, including a 40-yard fumble return for a score by safety Paul Oliver, to beat the Kansas City Chiefs 43-14 on Sunday and run their winning streak to six games.
LaDainian Tomlinson scored two touchdowns and moved into 10th on the NFL’s all-time rushing list. Philip Rivers threw two touchdown passes to Antonio Gates as the Chargers improved to 8-3.
The Chiefs (3-8) lost a week after stunning the defending Super Bowl champion Pittsburgh Steelers in overtime.
Chargers roll up and over Chiefs from The Pueblo Chieftain
"That's my goal every game, to score," Chambers said. "And I've been having opportunities, more opportunities to make plays since I've been here.
"Definitely, it was a great start for me. I love getting my hands on the ball early in the game and built some momentum for myself."
His scoring play was one of the few highlights for the Chiefs in a 43-14 loss, giving the Chargers a sweep of the season series with their AFC West rival.
CHARGERS: Chambers plays well, Chiefs don't in return to 'Q' from The North County Times
LaDainian Tomlinson had just 39 rushing yards (on 13 carries), but it was enough to move him into 10th place on the league's all-time rushing list with 12,257 yards. He moved past Marcus Allen (12,243) and Edgerrin James (12,246) and is now 23 yards from passing Marshall Faulk and 56 from passing Jim Brown.
Tomlinson keeps movin' up, passing Allen and James from The San Diego Union-Tribune
Critics are going to say the Chargers' 43-14 thumping of the Chiefs yesterday at Qualcomm Stadium was nothing more than their second rout this season of a poor Kansas City club, and while it wouldn't be inaccurate, it also wouldn't be fair. Are they supposed to lose intentionally?
The Chargers, winners of six straight, have finished AFC West play for the year with a 5-1 record, and it's not their problem that two of the division teams they've beaten twice — the Chiefs and Raiders — stink. It is not up to the Chargers to see that bad teams improve. It is up to them not to allow the dregs to spoil what they have going.
The Chiefs may smell, but they came to town having defeated the Steelers the previous Sunday. It may make you wonder if Pittsburgh sent its scout team to K.C., but nonetheless, it happened. The NFL may be more bottom-heavy, filled with more terrible clubs than at any time in memory, but every one of them have beaten somebody.
That loss may end up haunting the Steelers, but the Chargers haven't had such problems during this winning spell because they're not only beating the tougher fighters, they're beating the teams they should beat.
Facing losers, it's time to prey from The San Diego Union-Tribune
En route to what figures to be his sixth Pro Bowl, Gates caught seven passes and scored two touchdowns during the Chargers' 43-14 conquest of the Kansas City Chiefs yesterday. He then explained that his recent resurgence can be traced to a series of injuries that caused him to study his craft instead of simply trusting his talent; to anticipate rather than react.
"I had to learn a lot about myself and I had to learn a lot about the game of football," Gates said. "It forced me to learn coverages. It forced me to learn the game itself.
"I think that was one of my problems because I always just used my athletic ability and with the (2007 toe) injury and then the high ankle sprain and so forth, I had so many different injuries, it forced me to become a football player in the classroom."
Gates learned through pain from The San Diego Union-Tribune
Some observations from Sunday's game involving the Broncos' next opponent: the Kansas City Chiefs, who visited San Diego where they were pummeled 43-14.
1) The Chiefs' defense is as bad as advertised. San Diego QB Philip Rivers was just as methodical and effective against the Chiefs as he was against the Broncos. Rivers hit 21-of-28 passes for 317 yards and two touchdowns. The Chiefs appear vulnerable to the deep ball especially. Rivers connected on a 53-yarder to WR Malcom Floyd that fell a yard short of a third TD pass. Rivers also just missed on other throws for long bombs.
Chiefs' porous defense should be target for Broncos next Sunday from Examiner.com
And oh-so-similar to the one thrilling thousands in the late 1970s and early 80s.
The Chargers tipped their helmet to those good ol' days with an offensive onslaught that would have made Don Coryell proud.
"I think so,'' said LaDainian Tomlinson, who's among 11 current Chargers on the 50th anniversary squad. "With all the different gadgets and throwing the ball downfield and seeing guys jump up in the air and catch the ball, I think we did honor him."
Some Chargers legends delivered back slaps to the current players before the game, while waiting to be introduced. So what if many have a hitch in their giddy-up or are slowed by ailments this violent game never fails to deliver? Their presence was felt.
"It definitely inspires me,'' linebacker Shaun Phillips said. "It's hard work to make that team, so it was definitely motivating to me to go out there and play to their level. I love the challenge at hand in continuing to get to that level.''
JAY PARIS COMMENTARY: Past and present players embrace thumping of Chiefs from The North County Times
As recently as two weeks ago, some were writing that Larry Johnson's once-lustrous NFL career appeared to be over, killed in part because of his lack of productivity, in part because he had lost his desire and in part because he's a bad guy.
"I think the people who were writing that were mostly people in Kansas City," Johnson said. He wasn't sitting in a La-Z-Boy with a TV clicker, but was standing in front of his locker in the Cincinnati Bengals' locker room. "And we're winning and they're not. I'll just keep grinding and doing whatever they ask me to do."
All the Bengals asked Johnson to do when he signed two weeks ago was to serve as an insurance policy against Cedric Benson's good health. The Bengals were on their way to the playoffs and Benson, another supposed bad guy who turned his career around in this NFL halfway house, had become a workhorse for the offense.
Bob Hunter commentary: Maybe Johnson isn't such a bad guy after all from The Columbus Dispatch