Philip Rivers is going to get his passing yards and he’s also going to get his touchdowns. There’s just not much any team — especially an 0-2 team with a banged up secondary — is going to do to shut down Rivers, and even in a winning season last year, Rivers got his stats in two match-ups against the Chiefs. But what is telling about those two Chargers-Chiefs games from 2010 is that the Chargers defense is what killed the Chiefs.
The Chiefs won one and lost one against the Chargers. The win was a 21-14 contest to open the season in which the Chargers beat themselves. The stats tell the story, however, of the Chiefs still being beaten down by the Chargers defense, surrendering only 9 Chiefs first downs all day. Matt Cassel was 10 of 22 for 68 passing yards.
The loss was as lopsided a contest as you’d find last year and it’s hard to believe that the 31-0 shutout against the Chargers later in the season would be the best game played by the Chiefs in 2011. How times have changed. In this loss, the Chiefs were held to only 5 first downs and Jamaal Charles had 40 rushing yards. Cassel didn’t play this game and Palko and Croyle performed like Palko and Croyle should be expected to perform.
Even more, the Chargers had 4 sacks in that second game and that was from a beat-up defensive unit. The Chargers defense is certainly better this season, or at least holds more depth. Takeo Spikes has been a sparkplug in the linebacking corps and new additions like Jonas Mouton and Corey Liuget should be staples for years to come.
This will be a tough match-up for the Chiefs in any year, but this year it’s going to take some significantly better coaching to get the job done and exploit match-ups that KC can take advantage of. It’s not impossible but the Chiefs are clearly not lucky enough to simply let the Chargers beat themselves this year, like they did in 2010. But tough or not, if the Chiefs don’t win this weekend, they’re setting themselves up for a miserable season.