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San Diego Chargers at Kansas City Chiefs
The Chargers aim for their second divisional win of the season when they travel to Kansas City this Sunday to face the Chiefs. Both teams are coming off bouts against the NFC South, with the Bolts falling to the Falcons while the Chiefs rallied for an overtime victory against the Saints. This is the first meeting of the season for the two rivals. Their second meeting will be a primetime affair on November 1st at Qualcomm Stadium.
A Look Back At Last Week
Everything that could go wrong for the Chargers last week did, falling to the Atlanta Falcons, 27-3. Atlanta outgained them in total yardage 384 to 164, on the ground 119 to 116 and via the air 265 to 164. They forced four Chargers turnovers and dominated time of possession, controlling the ball for 36:14. The Falcons were incredibly efficient on third downs, converting eight of 13 attempts including seven in a row throughout the second and third quarters.
What to Watch For…
On Offense for the Chargers
With the return of Ryan Mathews and Antonio Gates, San Diego’s offense hopes to get rolling after failing to score a touchdown for the first time in 152 games. The streak was the second longest in NFL history. In his return from a fractured clavicle, Mathews rushed for 44 yards on 10 carries and caught five passes for 32 yards, but had a key fumble that marred his day. Expect the Chargers to continue to feed their lead back the ball.
On Offense for the Chiefs
The Chiefs lead the league in total offense under the guidance of quarterback Matt Cassel. Running back Jamaal Charles has proven to be healthy after missing all but two games last season due to a knee injury. The 2010 All Pro and Pro Bowl selection has carried the ball 55 times for 329 yards and one touchdown so far on the season. In Week 3 against the Saints, Charles led the league with 233 yards on 33 attempts. The Chiefs offense also deploys two dangerous downfield receiving threats in Dwayne Bowe (81 catches for 1,159 yards and five scores in 2011) and Steve Breaston (61-785-2).
On Defense for the Chargers
The Chargers defense looks to get back on track after a rough day against Atlanta. In the first two games, the team applied pressure and had success getting off the field on third down, but the Bolts struggled in those areas against the dynamic Falcons offense. The defense spent the week working on these areas as they seek to return to their winning ways against a potent Chiefs offense this Sunday.
On Defense for the Chiefs
The Chiefs’ defense features one of the NFL’s most disruptive forces in outside linebacker Tamba Hali, who’s long been a thorn in the Chargers’ side. A Pro Bowl player in 2011, Hali comes off an 83-tackle season in which he paced the Chiefs with 12 sacks and 32 quarterback pressures. The Chiefs’ secondary is also a strong unit, returning cornerback Brandon Flowers, who tied for the team lead with four interceptions and led the squad with 21 passes defensed in 2011.
The Chargers and Chiefs will meet Sunday for the 105th time since 1960. Kansas City leads the series, 52-51-1, but the Chargers have won seven of the last nine overall and three of the last five at Arrowhead Stadium. Forty-six games in the series have been decided by seven points or less, while both games last season were decided by three points.
By the Numbers
For the year, the Chargers rank 23rd in total offense (318.0 yards per game), 22nd in passing (219.3 ypg), 17th in rushing (98.7 ypg) and 21st in points (21.0). The Chiefs rank first in total offense (441.7 ypg), 16th in passing (250.0 ypg), first in rushing (191.7 ypg) and 17th in points (22.7)
Defensively, the Bolts rank ninth in total defense (305.7 ypg), 17th in passing (238.3 ypg), fourth in rushing (67.3 ypg) and sixth in points allowed (17.0). Kansas City ranks 16th in total defense (347.7 ypg), 12th in passing (225.0 ypg), 22nd in rushing (122.7 ypg) and 28th in points allowed (33.0).
Milestones on the Horizon
Norv Turner needs one more victory to tie former Chargers coach Don Coryell (114) for 32nd all-time in career wins.
The Chargers need six regular-season victories to reach 400 all-time. The Chargers’ all-time regular-season record is 394-386-11.
A.J. Smith is the winningest general manager in franchise history with 93 wins. He needs seven wins to see the team reach 100 wins under his watch. Additionally, the Chargers’ next division title will be Smith’s sixth as general manager, most in team history, and the Chargers’ next playoff win will be Smith’s fourth as general manager, also most in team history.
Philip Rivers will start his 100th-career and 100th-straight game Sunday in Kansas City.
Rivers’ first completion vs. the Chiefs will be the 2,000th of his career.
Rivers (24,973) needs 27 passing yards to become the 63rd NFL quarterback in NFL history with 25,000 career passing yards. If he reaches the mark before throwing two more interceptions, he will have the lowest career interception total among all NFL passers with at least 25,000 yards. Jeff Garcia, who passed for 25,537 yards during his career (1999-09), threw only 83 picks during his career.
Antonio Gates (76) needs five touchdown catches to match Lance Alworth’s (81) team record.
Shaun Phillips has 62.5 career sacks, fourth in team history. Phillips needs three more to tie Lee Williams (65.5) for third, and he needs 4.5 to tie Gary “Big Hands” Johnson (67) for second.
Nate Kaeding’s next field goal attempt will be the 208th of his career, tying Rolf Benirschke for second in team history. John Carney (320) has the most.
Quentin Jammer will play in his 160th career game on Sunday, tying Carney for ninth-most in team annals
Chargers fullback Le’Ron McClain played for the Chiefs in 2011.
Linebacker Demorrio Williams spent the last four seasons with the Chiefs (2008-11), including a career-high 142-tackle season in 2009.
Running back Jackie Battle signed with Kansas City as a rookie in 2007 and spent the last five seasons with the Chiefs (2007-11) before he signed in San Diego in July.
Safety Darrell Stuckey is from Kansas City.
The Chargers claimed tackle Jared Gaither off waivers from Kansas City in Nov. 2011 after he played in 10 games with the Chiefs.
Strength and conditioning coach Jeff Hurd held that post for the Chiefs from 1998-06 and is a Fort Hays State (Kan.) alum.
Assistant secondary coach Cris Dishman started at cornerback for the Chiefs in 1999.
Wide receivers coach Charlie Joiner manned the same post for the Chiefs from 2001-07.
Director of player personnel Jimmy Raye was an assistant-quality control coach for the Chiefs in 1995.
Chiefs practice squad fullback Patrick DiMarco spent time with the Chargers in 2011.
CBS Sports (KFMB, Channel 8 in San Diego) – Kevin Harlan (play-by-play) and Solomon Wilcots (analyst)
Rock 105.3 FM, XTRA Sports 1360 (San Diego) and AM 570 KLAC (Los Angeles & Orange County) – Josh Lewin (play-by-play), Hank Bauer (analyst) and Mike Costa (reporter)
Spanish Radio –XHFG 107.3 (San Diego) and KWKW 1330 AM (Los Angeles) – Jorge Villanueva (play-by-play) and Dante Lazcano (analyst) Read