Chiefs Beat Chargers 23-20 from The Associated Press via The Mothership
Alex Smithand the Kansas City Chiefshave made the AFC West a three-team race.
Cairo Santoskicked a 48-yard field goal field goal with 21 seconds left and the Chiefs beat San Diego 23-20 Sunday, snapping the Chargers' five-game winning streak.
The Chiefs moved into field goal range thanks to Smith, who completed three straight passes on the drive for 53 yards, including a 29-yarder to
Jamaal Charles' Becomes Kansas City Chiefs All-Time Leading Rusher from The Mothership
On Sunday against the San Diego Chargers,
Jamaal Charlesbroke Priest Holmes' record and became the Kansas City Chiefs all-time leading rusher.
Charles, who is in his seventh year with the Chiefs after being selected in the third round (No. 73 overall) of the 2008 draft out of the University of Texas, needed just 53 yards against the Chargers to claim the record.
"Since I've been in this league, I've been known as an underdog," Charles said back at training camp after signing an extension with the Chiefs. "I still have to earn my respect, I still have to go out there and perform."
It's that kind of chip on his shoulder that has led Charles to this point in his career. After all, he was the ninth running back selected in the 2008 draft.
Chiefs vs. Chargers: 10 Observations from The Mothership
Jamaal Charlesis good at football
On one of the most spectacular carries of his storied career, Jamaal Charles passed Priest Holmes (6,070 yards) as the Chiefs all-time leading rusher on a 16-yard touchdown run on the first play of the second quarter.
Charles showed a little bit of everything on the run that ended with him leaping into the end zone while taking a couple of hits that sent him spinning through the air and landing on his side.
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RB Jamaal Charles rushes into Chiefs history from Chiefs Digest
"I know the play where it happened," Charles told reporters during a postgame media session. "It was a great feeling and it felt like a special moment because the man above gave me the strength and I thank God for that moment."
While Charles knew when the team record was broken, his head coach didn't. But that didn't stop Andy Reid from feeling good for his star running back.
"I didn't realize it at the time," Reid told reporters after the game, "but I'm happy for him. Well deserved. Jamaal is a heck of a player."
Chiefs have used running game -- and a rookie kicker -- to turn 2014 around from FS Kansas City
The Chiefs (3-3) are what they are, and they are not Denver. The less Reid (you still reading this, coach?) and his fellows come to grips with this, the better they (and the rest of this season) will probably play out. They are 1962 football, power first, running to set up the pass, deep in tight ends who can block or stretch the field vertically, unafraid to punt and hope their defense can set up something more tenable.
And, more often than not, it kind of works. The Andy Gang is 3-1 this fall when they run the ball at least 24 times in a contest; 0-2 when they don't. In the Reid Era, the Chiefs are 13-5 when they hit that magic 24 number (winning percentage: .722), and just 1-4 (winning percentage: 200) when they fall short.
Which is not to say we don't believe in the magic of Alex Smith. It's just funny how much more magic No. 11 has in his wand when he uses his legs (and the legs of others) to set things up first.
Rapid Reaction: Kansas City Chiefs from ESPN
Game ball: Rookie kicker Cairo Santos made all three of his field goal attempts, including a 48-yarder with 21 seconds remaining that provided the winning points. The Chiefs kept Santos, an undrafted rookie from Tulane, in a controversial choice instead of veteran Ryan Succop. Santos earlier hit kicks from 28 and 40 yards.
The Chiefs clearly understood the importance of this victory. Chairman Clark Hunt and general manager John Dorsey had handshakes for everyone, including myself, on the elevator ride from the press box to the locker room.
Rapid Reaction: San Diego Chargers from ESPN
Chiefs play keep away: The Chargers were No. 3 in the NFL in time of possession heading into Sunday's game. However, with a steady diet of running back Jamaal Charles (95 yards on 22 carries), the Chiefs dominated time of possession, keeping the ball away from San Diego's explosive offense. Kansas City finished with a 39:00-21:00 edge in time of possession.
Dominating time of possession leads the highs from Chiefs' Week 7 win from Chiefs Digest
Game stories are generally written with the dominant statistic in mind, and there's one area proving impossible to ignore. The Chiefs successfully utilized a keep-away mission from the potent Chargers offense with a whopping 39 minutes time of possession to the Chargers' 21 minutes. The offensive game plan was so effective the Chargers only had three offensive plays in the entire third quarter. Three.
The Chiefs defense for the most part executed a solid game plan, applying pressure on Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers with two sacks (one each by outside linebackers Tamba Hali and Justin Houston) and holding the Chargers to convert 3-of-10 on third down (30 percent). San Diego entered Week 7's game converting on 53.8 percent of third down attempts.
By taking care of business against a pair of sub-.500 opponents, the Chiefs can get to 5-3 at the season's midway point. After a start to their season that included a home loss to the dismal Tennessee Titans, a potentially overwhelming wave of injuries and four road games, the Chiefs would be elated with a 5-3 record.
But they couldn't get there without beating the Chargers and to do that, they would need a late scoring drive after the Chargers tied the game at 20-20 with 1:57 remaining.
Chargers suffer backward loss to KC from The San Diego Union-Tribune
One team kept possession for nearly 40 minutes.
One team converted half its third downs. One team ran 24 plays in the third quarter when its opposition ran three. One team overcame miscues. One team found a way to win.
Not the Chargers.
"They did to us what we normally do to people," tackle King Dunlap said.
K Cairo Santos comes up big in Chiefs' 23-20 win over Chargers from Chiefs Digest
"Sometimes the best defense against (Chargers quarterback) Philip Rivers is keeping him on the sidelines," Chiefs coach Andy Reid told reporter during his postgame media session. "And we were able to do that for the most part in that third quarter."
Running back Jamaal Charles agreed.
"We've been doing that to every team we play and our identity is we keep the ball from the other team and eat up the clock," Charles said. "If we can keep doing that to every team it's possible to win any game. When we get the chance to keep the other team off of the field it gives us the advantage to win the game."
Bad taste left in Chargers' mouths from The San Diego Union-Tribune
The Chargers went vegan for four straight weeks, noshing on easy-to-digest NFL fare such as the Bills (kale), Jaguars (tofu), Jets (bananas) and Raiders (nuts). So Sunday afternoon, when they were offered something of substance, Kansas City steak, they regurgitated and spit it out all over Qualcomm Stadium.
In the bitter end, the Chiefs had beaten San Diego 23-20 by being more like the Chargers than the Chargers. They out-Bolted the depleted Bolts at their own game.
3 big moments from Chargers vs. Chiefs from The San Diego Union-Tribune
2 -- The Chargers' defense just couldn't get off the field.
Not even with the Chiefs' receivers trying to help them by dropping key passes and running out of bounds with no one between them and the end zone.
Chargers-Chiefs: Instant analysis from The San Diego Union-Tribune
AFC West teams know the Chargers better than others do.
Give them extra rest and preparation, and those teams are proving themselves extra capable against San Diego's schemes.
The Chargers eked out a win over the Raiders following Oakland's bye.
But the Chiefs didn't let them off the hook Sunday, earning a 23-20 victory to end San Diego's five-game win streak.
It wasn't a pleasant sound afterward: Chiefs fans' "tomahawk" chants at Qualcomm Stadium following their team's first win there in seven years.
Chiefs exploit bye, Chargers' soft pass D from The San Diego Union-Tribune
Visits to San Diego had left the Kansas City Chiefs feeling like the tourist who gets seasick, sunburned and then lost while driving around Hotel Circle wondering where the exit is.
It got to be repetitive. Six trips to Qualcomm Stadium, six defeats and then on back to Flyover Country, wondering what it would take to beat Philip Rivers on his home field.
Sunday brought a familiar chance, and a new result.
The Chiefs hogged the ball most of the afternoon, a tactic the Chargers (5-2) have mastered in many recent games.
Chiefs Outdo Chargers 23-20 from Chargers.com
Nick Novakdrilled a 48-yard field goal to tie the game at the two minute warning, and the Chiefs started their final drive at their own eight yard line with 1:51 remaining. On 2nd-and-10, Alex Smith scrambled for a nine yard gain, but Corey Liuget was flagged for a 15-yard face mask that breathed new life into the visitors. Kansas City moved the ball with passes to Dwayne Bowe and Travis Kelce before Cairo Santos booted a 48-yard field goal with 26 seconds left.
Jamaal Charles becomes Chiefs all-time leading rusher from The Port Arthur News
San Diego appeared to have Charles trapped for little or no gain near the right sideline. However, the former Memorial great, as he so often does, quickly turned what looked like a bad play into a spectacular one. He reversed direction at the 12, zipped past a tackler, saw a seam and accelerated toward the end zone.
Charles flew into the end zone from the two, taking a brutal helmet-to-helmet shot from former Chiefs teammate Brandon Flowers after he'd broken the plane.
Chargers drop back to reality with loss to Chiefs from USA Today
Corey Liuget was so confident that the San Diego Chargers would continue their charmed run through the early part of the NFL season that he designed a T-shirt last week, boasting that his team would "KO KC."
Unfortunately for Liuget, the Chargers defensive end was involved in the play that led to the San Diego KO-ing its own chances of racking up a sixth consecutive victory, before Alex Smith drove the Kansas City Chiefs down the field to set up a game-winning field goal from Cairo Santos and a 23-20 triumph at Qualcomm Stadium.
Chiefs upset Chargers in San Diego from PFT
Surprise, surprise: The Chiefs are alive in the AFC West, and the Chargers have taken a tumble.
Just when it looked like San Diego was establishing itself as one of the very best teams - maybe even the best team - in the NFL, Kansas City came to town and won a hard-fought game on a last-minute field goal, 23-20.
Chargers not as good as their record? from The San Diego Union-Tribune
It may be a stretch to say that San Diego was universally projected to have at least five wins by this point, but their record isn't terribly surprising. Aside from the defending Super Bowl champion Seahawks, there wasn't a particularly daunting foe on their slate through the first seven games of the year.
In fact, at 3-3, Seattle doesn't appear to be anywhere near the force that last year's title team was, and if you look closely, you'll notice that the Chargers' five game streak came against opponents that are a combined 9-25.
That doesn't spell dominance, it casts doubt.
NFL Week 7 winners and losers from USA Today
Fantastic finishes: It was an Alcoa kind of day with four teams (Bills, Chiefs, Lions, Redskins) notching their winning score with less than 1:48 remaining. Of that group, only Kansas City was not trailing after the two-minute warning.
Bolts Played Hard but Missed Opportunities from Chargers.com
The effort was there, but it wasn't enough. While the team was accustomed to playing tight divisional games, unlike their comeback victory last week, San Diego didn't make as many big plays as they needed to walk out of Qualcomm with a win today. Kansas City's final drive secured the 23-20 win over San Diego and while the Chargers clawed back, the Chiefs pulled out the victory.
"We lost opportunities for our offense to score," free safety
Eric Weddlesaid. "Third downs, penalties, we didn't play good enough to win in all three phases. Give credit to the Chiefs, they played their tails off. We tried to match them but (in) key situational football, we didn't execute."
The Chiefs borrowed the Chargers' blueprint, using a "death by a thousand paper cuts" offense to control the tempo and keep Philip Rivers' high-scoring offense on the sidelines. By the start of the fourth quarter, the Chiefs owned a 3-to-1 edge in time of possession -- and were still trailing by a point. Smith outplayed Rivers in the all-important final frame, taking the lead with an early-fourth quarter touchdown and breaking a tie in the two-minute drill.