CBS was on the call for the game, with Spero Dedes and ex-NFL defensive back Solomon Wilcots in the broadcast booth. On Tuesday evening, Wilcots was kind enough to speak with me at length over the phone about what he saw in the Chiefs, and what he sees going forward.
Q: What did you see in the game Sunday?
A: "I think they are so well coached. I can tell the way they play that they will be in it. I anticipated coming off the bye they would be well prepared by Andy. I thought there would be a good chance they would be able to break their losing streak in San Diego. I appreciate the way Alex Smith plays because all too often, coaches have moved because of the quarterback contracts. They want them to just win the game. I grew up and played in a time when quarterbacks didn't have win-loss records, it was about the team. It wasn't about the best quarterback winning Super Bowls, it was about the best team and having a great defense winning the Super Bowl.
"Look at last year. Russell Wilson isn't better than Peyton Manning but he won the Super Bowl because he has a better team ... (Smith) doesn't take chances. He is not going to lose the game. He won't be the one who makes the critical error, I knew that. Andy did a great job playcalling and they had to get the ball to Jamaal Charles and they did that. You love the way they play complementary football. I told Spero during the commercial break, I said if this was baseball they wouldn't hit a lot of home runs but they get a lot of singles, doubles, bunts, and move the runners... I appreciate the way the Chiefs play football.
"Andy told me before the game that there are a few plays, plays like those drops by Junior Hemingway and Dwayne Bowe, which are keeping us from being what we can be in terms of winning games. Just one or two more plays from having a winning record. But he's that good of a coach that he can tell you what those plays are, and he will absolutely get it right."
Q: What were your thoughts on the front four against the Chargers?
A: "No doubt, the front was awesome in terms of not allowing the Chargers to run the ball by stopping Brandon Oliver, who is a tough little rookie by the way. Dontari Poe and Allen Bailey, Bailey looked awesome, they played really well. Josh Mauga was really good and solid against the run and forced Rivers into third and long.
"Tamba Hali and Justin Houston were incredible. Hali got a hit and forced the fumble, and while they didn't recover it derailed the drive. Houston also had a sack, and they were a constant source of pressure. I thought the constant pressure was enough to make Philip Rivers earn every single thing."
Q: Do you see the Chiefs as a playoff team?
A: "I see them as a team that can make the playoffs, no doubt. They dismantled the New England Patriots, and yet nobody was talking about the Chiefs and giving them credit. They were talking about the demise of the Patriots. People capture the headlines; that's how the league is, but they miss the overwhelming story. This is how good the Chiefs can be when they get it going.
"Then the Patriots were great the next week and nobody went back and thought ‘Hey, maybe the Chiefs are really good.' I see them as overcoming some of the early injuries, Eric Berry and Derrick Johnson among others, and you will be inconsistent in the beginning until the backups settle in. Getting off to a 3-3 start, they have overachieved overcoming so many injuries, but this is a playoff team. This is a good team.
"When I put them on tape, I know how good the staff is, it's very good, and they won't give away games. The Tennessee game is still mind-boggling, and it throws a lot of people off. I have no answers for that, it was perplexing. They should have beat San Francisco, they almost did. The Chiefs will be fine. This is the division that put three teams in the playoffs and it could happen again."
Q: Despite a litany of injuries, the secondary stood tall against Rivers. What are your thoughts on that group?
A: "The play Phillip Gaines made in the end zone, he did a good job of finding the football and batting it down. That's the matchup Rivers wanted, to go after the rookie with Keenan Allen against him. They couldn't have snapped the ball soon enough to take advantage and Gaines was there. They tried to pick on Jamell Fleming all day, and the penalty was something that, well, you saw it. I wasn't trying to fight about it on the air.
"Those guys played wonderful. That's what I was talking about, all those injuries and yet guys are stepping in. The bye week came at a good time because it allowed these guys to take on a bigger role. The younger guys realize you aren't getting a redshirt, we need you to be a starter for us. ... No player comes into the league and takes it by storm without good coaching. It will not happen. Coaching is at a premium. If you want to know why the Chiefs went from 2-14 to 11-5, it's the coach. He's going to do it again; he's done it his whole career.
"They don't beat themselves; this is what other teams say about the Chiefs. I have said it since the day the Chiefs signed Alex Smith, he will play the best ball of his career under Andy Reid. He's so smart. He makes great decisions under chaos. He's not going to make bonehead plays and cost you. If you tried to make a bonehead reel of Smith, it wouldn't last three seconds. Alex doesn't bring all that ego to the party. ... In his first six years, he had six coordinators. That would break most guys. That would make most people into Ryan Leaf, into a Joey Harrington, into a Mark Sanchez, into a David Carr. With Andy Reid, he will play his best football. Period."
Q: Many Kansas City fans are excited about Travis Kelce. What are your thoughts on the youngster?
A: "He's a guy Reid designs plays for. That's a rare thing now. That was for a Tony Gonzalez and an Antonio Gates. Coordinators understand what they bring and they start featuring them in the offense. Reid showed some plays before the game and he had a few for Kelce. Coming from Andy Reid, one of the best playcallers ever, that is a huge compliment. He's not a secondary weapon, his numbers show he is a primary weapon. He has proven he will come through. Just that you can say they are .500 and are averaging 23-24 points per game, and the receivers haven't scored a touchdown, tells you a lot about his importance."