The Chiefs pass rush vs. Philip Rivers. That's pretty much what this KC Chiefs and San Diego Chargers Week 7 game comes down to. The Chiefs biggest strength on the team is their pass rush and the Chargers biggest strength is their quarterback Philip Rivers. This matches up nicely.
The Chiefs pass rush, who sacked Rivers four times in two games last year, has been solid this year as it was last year. Justin Houston and Tamba Hali coming off the edge with Dontari Poe and a better Allen Bailey pushing the middle. As Borat might say, I like!
The problem the Chiefs ran into late last season was the quarterbacks, especially the good ones like Philip Rivers, getting the ball out before the pass rush could get there. The Chiefs have a very good pass rush but I am already cringing thinking of the pass rush getting within a step of Rivers before he gets the ball off on a crossing route to Keenan Allen or Antonio Gates is somehow sitting wide open over the middle of the field like he always is.
While the key is the pass rush, because it is, the Chiefs secondary also faces a significant challenge. Obviously it's not a good time for all those secondary injuries. They need to hold for at least a few seconds and stay with their man to allow the Chiefs pass rush to get there. They need to be disciplined on those crossing routes that take two seconds to develop because that's where Rivers will be going. Rivers is capable of getting the ball out in 2-3 seconds before the pass rush can get there. That's something the Chiefs absolutely must plan for because we all know it's coming. If I see Rivers repeatedly hitting those crossing routes in the first 2-3 seconds I am going to pull my hair out as I imagine Bob Sutton will be doing.
Rivers is not a threat to run. He's not one of those mobile quarterbacks. So the Chiefs will pressure him on each edge with Houston and Hali. That will force him to step up in the pocket because he's not going around those edge rushers. When that happens Poe and Bailey need to be there pushing the pocket back into him against a Chargers interior offensive line that has not been very good. Make him uncomfortable in every way possible, which leads to turnovers, which leads to points, which leads to wins.