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Scouting Report: Chiefs vs. Chargers
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The Los Angeles Chargers (0-2) look to get their first win of the season when they host the AFC West rival Kansas City Chiefs (2-0) at StubHub Center. Kickoff is set for 1:25pm PDT.
A Look Back At Last Week
It was another heartbreaking finish as the Bolts fell 19-17 when Younghoe Koo’s 44-yard field goal attempt at the buzzer was wide right. It was a bitter ending to a historic day for the Chargers, as Antonio Gates set the all-time touchdown record for a tight end with a seven-yard snare in the third quarter. Meanwhile, Philip Rivers set a new franchise record with his 52nd 300-yard passing performance. Number 17 also passed Vinny Testaverde into 11th place in NFL history in career passing yards.
What to Watch For…
On Offense for the Chargers
Keenan Allen has returned to form after missing virtually all of 2016 with an ACL injury suffered against these very Chiefs in the season opener. KA13 had his way up until the injury, and will surely look to pick up where he left off. He’s been one of the top wideouts in the league through two weeks, with his 14 receptions tied for the fifth most in the NFL. He’s also fresh off the 12th 100-yard receiving performance of his career, and the first since 2015 in Green Bay. While Allen has been his top weapon, Philip Rivers has thrived spreading the ball around. His 73.6% completion percentage ranks fourth in the NFL. Overall, he’s completed 53 of 72 attempts for 523 yards, four touchdowns and one pick of a 106.4 passer rating. Melvin Gordon has emerged as one of the game’s top running back threats out of the backfield, as his 12 receptions are the second most for an RB and 12th most of any player. While he’s found the end zone in back to back weeks, he’ll look to get things rolling on the ground as he’s mustered only 67 yards on 27 carries (2.5 ypc).
On Offense for the Chiefs
Rookie running back Kareem Hunt has taken the NFL by storm, leading the league with 229 rushing yards. He’s done so on just 30 carries, averaging a gaudy 7.6 yards per carry, with three touchdowns He’s also the only running back with at least two carries over 40 yards. Hunt is also a threat in the passing game, catching eight passes for 126 yards and another pair of TDs. Meanwhile QB Alex Smith is the AFC’s top rated passer (134.1), completing 49 of 63 attempts (77.8%) for 619 yards, five touchdowns and no interceptions. His top weapon is TE Travis Kelce, who has hauled in 13 passes for 143 yards and one TD. Finally, WR Tyreek Hill remains one of the league’s biggest game changers, catching 11 passes for 176 yards and a score.
On Defense for the Chargers
Jatavis Brown has had a terrific start to his sophomore campaign, leading the NFL with 26 tackles through two weeks. Meanwhile, Melvin Ingram ranks 10th in the NFL with 2.5 sacks, just 1.5 shy of Calais Campbell and DeMarcus Lawrence’s league high of 4.0.
On Defense for the Chiefs
A perennial Defensive Player of the Year candidate, OLB Justin Houston is off to another fast start with 3.0 sacks. Defensive end Chris Jones has also emerged as a force rushing the passer, logging 3.0 sacks of his own with two forced fumbles. Safety Ron Parker leads the team with 12 tackles, and has been tasked with taking on a bigger role with Eric Berry lost for the season. He’s joined in the secondary by Marcus Peters, one of the league’s true shutdown corners whose 14 picks are the most in the NFL since 2015.
Kansas City has won the last six meetings against the Bolts, owning a 58-55-1 edge in the all-time series. However, the Chargers own a 32-24-1 record against the Chiefs at home.
By the Numbers
The Chargers rank 20th in total offense (308.0 yards per game), ninth in passing (254.0 ypg), 31st in rushing (54.0 ypg) and 18th in points (19.0). The Chiefs rank second in total offense (440.5 ypg), fifth in passing (292.0 ypg), second in rushing (148.5 ypg) and second in points (34.5).
Defensively, the Bolts rank 21st in total defense (328.5 ypg), 14th in passing (203.0 ypg), 26th in rushing (125.5 ypg) and 17th in points allowed (21.5). Kansas City ranks 29th in total defense (388.5 ypg), 27th in passing (273.0 ypg), 20th in rushing (115.5 ypg) and 25th in points allowed (23.5).
Milestones on the Horizon
Philip Rivers has 46,356 career passing yards, which ranks 11th all-time. He needs 648 yards to pass Fran Tarkenton for 10th in NFL history.
Rivers and Gates have combined for 85 touchdowns during their careers, third-most all-time between a quarterback and receiver/tight end. With one more, Rivers and Gates will break a tie for second with Steve Young and Jerry Rice.
Melvin Gordon has 1,705 career rushing yards. He’ll need 545 to push his way into the team’s all-time Top 10. Currently, Gary Anderson is 10th with 2,250.
Gordon sports 11 career rushing touchdowns. He’ll need six more to move into the team’s all-time Top 10. Currently, Hank Bauer, Rod Bernstine, Dick Post and Clarence Williams are tied for ninth with 17.
Noteworthy vs. the Chiefs
In the Chargers’ 2004 regular-season finale, Rivers threw the first touchdown pass of his NFL career against the Chiefs.
In Nov. 2015, Philip Rivers became the franchise’s all-time leader for career completions. During the Bolts’ second meeting that year in Kansas City, Rivers passed former Chiefs quarterback Joe Montana to become the 15th-most prolific passer (yards) in NFL history.
In 24 career games against Kansas City, Antonio Gates has caught 112 catches for 1,391 yards and 16 touchdowns. He has more receptions, yards and touchdowns vs. the Chiefs than any other single opponent.
In the Chargers’ 2016 regular-season finale, Antonio Gates tied former Chief Tony Gonzales for most touchdowns by a tight end (111).
In that same game, Jahleel Addae took an interception 90 yards for the score. The touchdown was a career first for the safety. Meanwhile, Hunter Henry hauled in his team-leading eighth touchdown reception in the 2016 season finale. The eight touchdowns tied for the most in the league by a tight end and the second most among rookies.
In 2012 with the Cleveland Browns, Travis Benjamin earned his first AFC Special Teams Player of the Week Award after racking up 149 punt return yards, including a career-long 93-yard touchdown return in a 30-7 win over the Chiefs.
Chiefs Running Backs Coach Eric Bieniemy was drafted by the Chargers in the 1991 NFL draft and played 3 seasons with the team from 1991-94.
Chargers Running Backs Coach Alfredo Roberts played for the Chiefs in 1988-90.
Chargers Wide Receivers Coach Nick Sirianni coached in Kansas City from 2009-12.
Chargers DT Damion Square played for Kansas City in 2013.
Chiefs Head Coach Andy Reid is from Los Angeles, Calif.
Chiefs Tight Ends Coach Tom Melvin is from Redwood City, Calif.
Chiefs Defensive Line Coach Britt Reid is from San Franscico, Calif.
Chiefs QB Tyler Bray is from Clovis, Calif.
Chiefs CB Terrance Mitchell is from Sacramento, Calif.
Chiefs CB Marcus Peters is from Oakland, Calif.
Chiefs T Mitchell Schwartz is from Pacific Palisades, Calif.
Chiefs S Daniel Sorenson is from Riverside, Calif.
Chiefs WR De’Anthony Thomas is from Los Angeles, Calif.
CBS – Kevin Harlan (play-by-play) and Rich Gannon (analyst)
KFI-AM 640 – Matt “Money” Smith (play-by-play), Nick Hardwick (analyst) and Shannon Farren (sideline)
Spanish Radio: KFWB – AM 980 - Jorge Villanueva (play-by-play) and Tony Alvarez (analyst)
Chargers radio broadcasts throughout the season will be able to be heard across 11 radio stations from Southern California to Nevada. Fans can listen in English on KGB-FM and KLSD AM (San Diego), KNWZ-AM (Palm Springs), KALZ-AM (Fresno), KBFP-AM (Bakersfield), KNWH-FM (Yucca Valley), KRLV-FM (Las Vegas), KRAK-AM (Victorville/Hesperia), KATY-FM (San Bernardino) and KPLY-AM (Reno). Spanish broadcasts can be heard on XHFG-FM (San Diego).