Game Recap: Chiefs Defeat the Chargers, 10-3, Improve to 8-5 on the Season from The Mothership
The Chiefs defense held the Chargers out of the end zone as time expired to improve to 8-5 on the season.
"All in all, it was a good win," Chiefs head coach Andy Reid said. "You're going to have these kinds of games, especially against the AFC West rivals. You've got to find ways to win. We fought ourselves a little bit to do it, but we found a way to win at the end, which ended up being very important."
Albert Wilson's Touchdown Changed the Game Sunday from The Mothership
The rainy weather seemed to have curbed both offenses, and the likelihood of a touchdown before half on either side seemed bleak.
Alex Smithhad the Chiefs offense at the San Diego 44-yard line for second-and-6, but before he snapped the ball, he noticed something.
The Chargers were about to bring the house.
"We had the play call on and then they showed pressure, kind of bringing it," he explained after the game. "I felt really good about the matchup with Albert (Wilson)."
Smith called an audible, sending Wilson on a slant route behind what he believed to be a blitzing secondary.
It turned out Smith was right.
Dee Ford Honors Justin Houston, Tamba Hali on Sunday from The Mothership
It was the best game of his young career and came at a time in which it was needed the most.
On the first of his 3 sacks on the day, which all came in the final 17 minutes of the game, Ford honored his good friend, Houston.
"That's just me speaking to God to get him back healthy," Ford said after imitating Houston's celebration on his first sack of Rivers late in the third quarter.
"It's love. I did Tamba's celebration, too. I just think about everything that I've been through with those two, training me and showing me everything - it all comes down to that result.
"It's a beautiful thing. Tamba was standing right there in front of me—it was kind of emotional."
Chiefs vs. Chargers: 11 Observations from The Mothership
It was a game that was eerily reminiscent of the losses earlier in the season against the Denver Broncos and Chicago Bears—the opposing offense was driving late in the game to the East end zone with a chance to win.
In those games, they wound up in the end zone, stealing victories over the Chiefs in both games.
But Sunday was different because this team is different; they have evolved, they have developed and they have become a better team because of the lessons learned in those earlier games.
KCChiefs.com Videos: Kansas City's Week 14 Highlights
Alex Smith's interception streak ends, but Chiefs' winning streak continues from The Kansas City Star
The streak stood at 305 attempts, and with Smith's fourth attempt Sunday, he passed Bernie Kosar for second place on the all-time list.
Next up, Tom Brady at 358 attempts.
That one will have to wait.
Smith's personal turnover streak ended when his deep ball down the right sideline intended for Jeremy Maclin was slightly underthrown and picked off by a cornerback Jason Verrett in a dive.
The play survived a replay review and the amazing streak was over at 312 attempts.
"It was close, I was still looking at the replay," Smith said. "Just trying to take a shot, we were right there, felt good about it, we had the matchup we wanted with Jeremy ... the kid made a good play."
Alex Smith's consecutive passes without an interception ends at 312 from Chiefs Digest
Verrett told Chargers beat writers he wasn't surprised Smith tested his side of the field and the cornerback had a feeling the ball was coming his way.
"They started off running a lot of little short routes while we were in zone," Verrett said. "They were trying to get Maclin going. It happened to be on my side. I think he's (Smith) thinking like, ‘Let's just keep going at him.' He threw it deep and I took it from him."
While turnovers aren't often looked upon as good, there was a positive to take from the interception.
"If you're going to throw one, it's not bad," Smith said. "We threw them down inside the 5-yard line, pinning them down there."
One reason to get excited: The Chargers have had a lot of difficulty scoring points of late, but the Chiefs still held down San Diego quarterback Philip Rivers.
One reason to panic: The penalties had nothing to do with the weather. Tight end Travis Kelce was called for pass interference on the play that wiped out the West touchdown.
Chiefs survive scare, hold off Chargers 10-3 from The Kansas City Star
Dee Ford laid on the muddy Arrowhead Stadium field near the back of the east end zone, the announced crowd of 72,314 erupting all around him. The game was over, finally — yet another Chiefs win — and the young outside linebacker had just made the play of the game in what was easily his best overall performance as a professional.
Ford's tight pass coverage on running back Danny Woodhead, which led to an end-zone incompletion in the final seconds of the Chiefs' 10-3 victory on Sunday, was a fitting end to a day that likely will be remembered one day as Ford's coming-out party or biggest tease.
Dee Ford enjoys a breakout game in Chiefs' 10-3 win over Chargers from Chiefs Digest
"You start to get a feel of the game - and I spoke on that a lot - once you experience and you get to your first sack, then comes the second one, there comes the third one," Ford said. "You have to really be aware of that scenario and really take advantage of it."
Ford has also learned patience from developing the past year with the added benefit of receiving mentorship from two of the top pass-rushing outside linebackers in the NFL.
And he put all of the lessons learned to good use Sunday to become the first Chiefs player to total three or more sacks in a single game since Houston produce four in Week 17 of the 2014 season.
It wasn't the matchup the Chiefs wanted, not with the game on the line. But they rushed only three players, and Ford wasn't one of them. His job, as it turned out, was to cover one of San Diego's most accomplished receivers with two seconds left from the Kansas City 11.
The pass from Philip Rivers to Woodhead in the end zone hit the receiver in the hands. But he was separated from the ball by Ford's hit.
"Anybody's number could have been called at that time," Ford said. "You can't just be a one-trick pony."
Dee Ford breaks through, but Chiefs linebacker's real arrival still awaits from The Kansas City Star
Asked if that was the ideal matchup, Chiefs coach Andy Reid smiled and said, "I'm asking for another question."
None of which is to say this wasn't a substantial step forward for Ford, whose hushed rookie season was underscored by a play he misread against San Francisco that left him running away from ballcarrier Frank Gore.
"Terrible play ... Unacceptable," Ford wrote on Twitter at the time. "Watch how I respond ...!"
It's been in fits and starts, really.
But maybe that was to be expected more than we might realize.
Especially since one of the reasons Ford hasn't been as visible his first two seasons is because of the mentors playing in front of him now — Houston and Tamba Hali — who will be influential in his presumably bright future.
Chiefs survive Rivers, rain in seventh straight victory from Chiefs Digest
As he watched from the sideline, Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith was on an emotional roller coaster, a ride very similar to what the fans remaining in a soggy Arrowhead Stadium were experiencing at the end of Sunday's game against San Diego.
Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers was driving toward a potential tying touchdown. Starting at the San Diego 11-yard line with five minutes on the game clock, Rivers moved the Chargers to the Chiefs 1-yard line with five seconds left.
Watching it happen, was a drip, drip, drip torture for Smith.
"You're standing on the sideline and there isn't anything you can do about it," Smith said. "It's just like a fan. There's so much emotion involved. That whole end of the game, it was tough. He's (Rivers) done that so many times. He kept converting and getting another chance."
WR Frankie Hammond Jr.: He fumbled a punt return for the second week in a row. This time he didn't recover. The Chargers did.
CB Marcus Peters: He was beaten for what should have been a long touchdown by Malcom Floyd in the fourth quarter, but Floyd dropped the pass.
Albert Wilson hits his stride for Chiefs' lone touchdown from The Kansas City Star
On the play, the Chargers had 10 the box and left the middle of the field open, which Alex Smith recognized when he broke the huddle. He checked into the play, and Wilson shuffled his feet to create space from cornerback Steve Williams.
Wilson broke inside, took the pass in stride, broke away from Williams' arm swipe at his legs, and breezed to the end zone.
"Alex recognized the coverage and he did a great of making the call," Wilson said. "I pretty much knew if I could get the position I got, it was going to be a good play."
Weddle also sensed something big was about to happen.
"It was a good check by Alex," said Chargers safety Eric Weddle. "We should have checked out of it, but shoot, they made the play. Good release by (Wilson)."
Notebook: Rain brings out the gloves for Chiefs' Alex Smith from Chiefs Digest
"It was coming down pretty good pregame and in that first half, I just felt better with it," Smith said. "I knew we had some of that ball handling stuff in the shot gun and I just felt good with it.
"I'd fooled around with them, I'd never practiced with them, I'd never played in a game with them. I tried them out in pregame and felt OK with it. I felt like I could get a decent grip on the ball so I just went with it."
For the most part, Smith didn't appear to be bothered by the new experience.
He played an efficient game, completing 15 of 23 passes for 191 yards and a touchdown against an interception.
Chiefs Blitz: Q&A about Sunday's 10-3 win over San Diego from The Kansas City Star
3. Do the Chiefs have a long-snapper problem? - @cadillacjaxon
This is a fair question, especially after the Chiefs, who missed a field goal Sunday due to a bad snap, also failed to convert two extra points the week before against Oakland. But while long snapper James Winchester accepted responsibility for the miss on Sunday — "It was 100 percent on me," he said — special-teams coach Dave Toub chalked the Oakland misses up to errors committed by holder Dustin Colquitt and kicker Cairo Santos. So the answer to your question is "probably not," though it would be telling if the Chiefs bring in some snappers this week for tryouts.
CHIEFS 10, CHARGERS 3
Jeremiah Attaochu. The second-year pro forced Frankie Hammond to fumble on a punt return. Attaochu also finished with a sack and three combined tackles. He is second on the team with 5.5 sacks this season. -- Eric Williams
Dee Ford. Ford had three sacks in his second NFL start in replacement of injured Justin Houston. He finished with seven tackles and three quarterback hits.-- Adam Teicher
Chiefs notebook: KC is doing damage against AFC West foes from The Kansas City Star
It's been a banner year for the Chiefs against their division.
Last week's victory at Oakland meant the Chiefs won all of their AFC West road games for the first time since 1995. Sunday's triumph over the Chargers gives the Chiefs a 4-1 record in the division and clinches a winning record against their most familiar foes for the first time since 2006.
The Chiefs finish the regular season against a division foe when they play host to the Raiders on Jan. 3.
5. Kansas City Chiefs (8-5): Come rain, rain or more rain, the Chiefs just keep on winning. They pushed through an unrelenting storm Sunday to knock off San Diego 10-3 and extend their winning streak to seven. Kansas City closes the season with a game at Baltimore and are at home against Cleveland and Oakland, which means a 10-game winning streak is within reason.
Victory keeps Chiefs in playoff projection with eye on division title from The Kansas City Star
The Broncos' home loss to the Raiders means two games separate Denver, 10-3, and Kansas City, 8-5, in the AFC West, and the Broncos have the more difficult remaining schedule.
Next week, Denver plays at Pittsburgh and finishes with home games against the Bengals and Chargers.
The Chiefs play at Baltimore next week and finish at home against the Browns and Raiders.
If the teams finish with the same record, the first tie-breaker is head-to-head, and the Chiefs and Broncos split the regular-season meetings.
The second tie-breaker is games within the division. At the moment, the Chiefs are 4-1 and the Broncos are 3-2.
Goal-line stand propels Chiefs to 10-3 win over Chargers from The Associated Press via FS Kansas City
The Kansas City Chiefs had relied heavily on their stingy, opportunistic defense during a six-game winning streak that vaulted them right back into playoff contention.
Their defense delivered again Sunday.
After shutting down San Diego most of the game, the Chiefs forced Philip Rivers into a pair of incomplete passes near the goal line in the final seconds to preserve a 10-3 victory over the Chargers at soggy Arrowhead Stadium that could prove to be critical in the race for an AFC wild card.
10-3. Smith and Cairo Chiefs give its seventh straight win from Terra [translated from the original Portuguese]
The star pin Chiefs made a 44-yard pitch Wilson captured and put the 6-0 that the Brazilian kicker Cairo Santos extended to 7-0 with the extra point.
Cairo would then himself who sealed the victory with a field goal of 40 yards Chiefs completed advance of four plays and 39 yards with just two seconds to conclude the first part did so with partial (10- 0).
Despite Loss, Defense's Bright Future on Full Display from Chargers.com
Not a single soul in the locker room was happy after a 10-3 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs dropped the Bolts' record to 3-10.
At the same time, a second straight dominant effort by the defense has them encouraged not only over what they can accomplish over the final three games, but their long term potential as well.
One week after holding the Denver Broncos to just 10 points, the Bolts did it again as the Chiefs could only muster 10 as well, all coming within a two-minute span to end the first half.
In the early stages, Super Bowls were far from the glitz and glamour that they are today. College bands performed during halftime, the high-brow seats were $12 - yes, there was outrage over $12 Super Bowl tickets; the game was not a sellout - and the first couple of Super Bowls were not even labeled as such. Back in January 1967, it was known as the AFL-NFL World Championship Game.
Another distinction is how the event was broadcast. Since the competing leagues each had its own TV rights deals, both NBC (partnered with the AFL) and CBS (NFL) were simulcasting Super Bowl I nationally. Apparently, there were tensions between the two crews leading up to the game, and things got weird following intermission.
As CBS aired the second half kickoff, NBC was still at commercial. So instead of allowing the Green Bay Packers' kickoff to the Kansas City Chiefs stand, officials ordered for the kickoff to be redone after being alerted of the circumstances.
It's hard to fathom something like that occurring today. Sort of like a stadium blackout on Super Bowl Sunday. Never mind!
The Browns have a tough finish -- with road games in Seattle and Kansas City -- and the season finale against the Steelers at home on Jan. 3. All three teams are 8-5 and gunning for the playoffs, and Seattle and Kansas City both have top 10 defenses.
The Steelers, who defeated the Bengals 33-20 on Sunday and knocked Andy Dalton out of the game -- and likely for the season -- are on a roll and will likely still be scrapping for a wildcard spot when they come to town. The Seahawks, owners of the No. 2 defense, knocked off the injury-riddled Ravens 35-6 on Sunday and the Chiefs beat the Chargers 10-3.
It could get ugly over the next three weeks for the 3-10 Browns, so they chose to savor this victory.
Seahawks rout Ravens, 35-6, with big second half from The Baltimore Sun
What remains in play is the Ravens tying the inaugural 1997 team for the worst record in team history. That team went 4-12, which the Ravens can match with season-ending losses to the Kansas City Chiefs (8-5), Pittsburgh Steelers (8-5) and Cincinnati Bengals (10-3). The Ravens figure to be significant underdogs in those games.
What also is still not out of the question is the Ravens finishing with the first overall NFL draft pick. The Cleveland Browns' victory over the San Francisco 49ers pulls them one game closer to the Ravens.
The Browns, Tennessee Titans and San Diego Chargers are all 3-10, while the Ravens, 49ers, Dallas Cowboys and Detroit Lions each have four wins. The Jacksonville Jaguars, New Orleans Saints and St. Louis Rams won their fifth games Sunday.
Nearly a dozen marines volunteered in the rain Sunday outside Arrowhead Stadium collecting toys for kids in need this holiday season. Toys for Tots has teamed up with the Chiefs for the last fifty years.
While the temperatures ranged higher than normal for this time of year, that did not slow people down from getting into the white Christmas spirit.