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Rapid Reaction: Chiefs 30, Chargers 13

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The Kansas City Chiefs defeated the Los Angeles Chargers, 30-13, at Arrowhead Stadium Saturday night. The Chiefs improved to 8-6, in sole possession of the AFC West.

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Chiefs 30, Chargers 13 | Five takeaways with Pete

Posted by Arrowhead Pride: For Kansas City Chiefs Fans on Saturday, December 16, 2017

What a game.

There is no doubting the Los Angeles Chargers have been the “it” team in the NFL recently. After starting 0-4, the Chargers stormed back to with seven of nine, and they were coming off four wins in a row entering Arrowhead Stadium

The NFL Network and ESPN got on board, and you started seeing the “fear the Chargers” narrative across the board. The Chiefs, on the other hand, were losing football games to bad teams.

But because of how good the Chiefs were earlier in the season, they afforded themselves a big enough cushion to sustain one of the most pitiful midseason stretches in recent memory.

The issues that plagued the Chiefs during that span have seemed to have disappeared, and they are hitting their stride at the exact right time.

You always want to be the best team, but as we have seen in previous years in the NFL playoffs, the best team doesn’t always win. The team playing the best entering the playoffs does—and the Chiefs have two more regular-season games to continue that trend.

Five takeaways:

Kareem Hunt is back

We coined the nickname “Kareem the Dream” for Kareem Hunt at the beginning of the season, and it was because Hunt was unlike any player we had seen before.

As the team suffered in the middle of the season, so did his production, but over the past two games, that production has returned.

Hunt finished with 206 yards from scrimmage (155 yards rushing and 51 yards receiving) on Saturday night and the sight that we haven’t seen in a while—Hunt gaining chunk yardage and grinding games out—has returned.

A night to remember for Marcus Peters

I mentioned on the podcast that Marcus Peters’ suspension would go in one of two directions.

Either Peters would learn from the experience and he would come back positively and refocused, or it could be the beginning of the end of his Chiefs career.

Right from the game’s start, I felt that it was clear it was the former.

Peters interacted with the crowd, waving to get them pumped up. He had an open-field tackle. With Darrelle Revis on the other side, Peters had opportunities for interceptions and he made two of them. He helped force a fumble.

Then, after a near-perfect returned, he danced as the Chiefs took sole possession of first place.

Alex to Tyreek’s Madden play, forever

Alex Smith and Tyreek Hill identifying one-on-one coverage and Hill running a go route is a call you and I have run before on Madden, and the awesome thing is it is working in real life.

Watch the play here.

Casey Hayward is no schlub. He’s an All-Pro, and Hill beat him on his 64-yard touchdown by four or five yards.

Having the potential for that in the offense opens up the entire field, and when it’s there, Smith is turning it loose.

The Chiefs are winning in the trenches on both sides of the football

The game of football starts in the trenches, and the Chiefs have seen improved offensive line play in recent weeks, which in turn makes the offense as a whole better.

You’ve seen it in the production of Kareem Hunt, as well as Alex Smith’s accuracy and decision-making.

On the other side of the football, the defensive line is breaking through and pressuring the quarterback, and it was visible Saturday night. Chris Jones broke through for a sack. Allen Bailey went into Hulk mode. Justin Houston had five hurries and played a role in one of the interceptions.

The Chiefs control their own destiny

And most important of all, the Chiefs control their own fate after beating the Chargers.

A win against the Miami Dolphins next week at Arrowhead Stadium, and they are in the playoffs.

It has been a roller coaster of a year, but the Chiefs couldn’t have picked a better time to turn it back on.