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Scouting Report: Chargers vs. Chiefs

Posted Dec 28, 2013

Here is your scouting report for this week's game between the San Diego Chargers and Kansas City Chiefs.

The San Diego Chargers close out the regular season against the Kansas City Chiefs with a game that could potentially catapult them into the NFL Playoffs.  Head Coach Mike McCoy said the team needs the loudest, most vocal fans of the season for the pivotal clash that kicks off at Qualcomm Stadium at 1:25pm  Click here to purchase tickets.

A Look Back At Last Week

After a sluggish first half, the Bolts used a second half surge to blow past the Oakland Raiders 26-13.  Keenan Allen had his fifth touchdown catch in three games while Ryan Mathews ran for 99 yards and one touchdown.  Defensively, Melvin Ingram recorded his first sack of the season and Eric Weddle had a memorable acrobatic interception.  Special Teams played a huge part in the victory as well, as Nick Novak won the AFC Special Teams Player of the Week award by booting four field goals.  They also forced a pivotal fumble late in the third quarter on kickoff coverage.

What to Watch For…

On Offense for the Chargers

Ryan Mathews has set a career high with 1,111 yards rushing and shows no sign of slowing down.  He has proven to be an excellent complement to Philip Rivers, who continues to make a case for NFL Most Valuable Player and perhaps NFL Comeback Player of the Year honors. He has quietly orchestrated one of the most impressive statistical seasons in franchise history, throwing 29 touchdowns and only 10 interceptions while completing passes at a league-leading 69.7 percent rate. He’s already extended his team-record streak of 4,000-yard and 25-touchdown seasons to six and he’s only the third quarterback in NFL history with at least six straight 25-touchdown seasons. Furthermore, Rivers’ passer rating for the season (105.6) is nearly 10 points higher than his career rating of 95.9, and his 29-to-10 touchdown-to-interception ratio (just under three-to-one) is well above his career TD-to-INT ratio of 218-to-103.

On Offense for the Chiefs

The man who makes the Kansas City offense tick is another MVP candidate, Jamaal Charles.  The versatile running back is averaging 5.0 yards per carry, having rushed the ball 259 times for 1,287 yards and 12 touchdowns on the ground.  He also leads the team in receptions with 70 for 693 yards and seven TDs.  Quarterback Alex Smith has also had a noteworthy season as the former Helix High School standout has completed 308 of 509 passes for 3,313 yards and 23 touchdowns to just eight interceptions.  He also ranks second on the team in rushing yards with 431.

On Defense for the Chargers

The Chargers defense goes into Sunday’s regular-season finale playing some of their best football of the season. They have 10 total takeaways in the last five games. The Bolts’ defense has held its last three opponents to an average of just 297.7 yards and 15.7 points per game, including a season-best 265-yard showing last Sunday against Oakland. The Bolts held the Raiders to 59 yards on the ground a week after holding Denver to a season-low 18 yards rushing. San Diego’s secondary also has been playing outstanding football the last three weeks with four interceptions and 21 passes defended in the last three games. The team’s third down defense also has been exceptional the last three games, giving up just 9-of-30 third-down attempts, including a 4-of-13 performance last Sunday against the Raiders.

On Defense for the Chiefs

Kansas City has boasted one of the best defenses in the NFL for most of the season, though their numbers have dipped as of late.  They are still an opportunistic bunch, with Quintin Demps leading the way with four of the team’s 20 interceptions while Eric Berry has three.  Meanwhile, Derrick Johnson has been a nightmare for opposing offenses, leading the Chiefs with 107 total tackles. The big names on defense remain to be Tamba Hali and Justin Houston who are both tied for the team lead with 11 sacks.

Series History

The Chargers beat the Chiefs, 41-38, at Arrowhead Stadium on Nov. 24, their third-straight win over the Chiefs, and lead the all-time series with Kansas City, 54-52-1.

By the Numbers

For the year, the Chargers rank sixth in total offense (392.5 yards per game), fourth in passing (273.9 ypg), 13th in rushing (118.6 ypg) and 14th in points (24.6). The Chiefs rank 20th in total offense (337.6ypg), 23rd in passing (210.1 ypg), ninth in rushing (127.5 ypg) and sixth in points (27.1)

Defensively, the Bolts rank 24th in total defense (368.8 ypg), 29th in passing (263.3 ypg), 10th in rushing (105.5 ypg) and 11th in points allowed (21.6).  Kansas City ranks 23rd in total defense (365.3 ypg), 23rd in passing (249.5 ypg), 21st in rushing (115.8 ypg) and fourth in points allowed (18.5).

Milestones on the Horizon

Keenan Allen needs 43 receiving yards to record the 35th 1,000-yard season in franchise history and the first by an NFL rookie since Cincinnati’s A.J. Green posted 1,057 in 2011. Allen would also become only the fifth NFL rookie since 2000 to go over 1,000 yards.

Antonio Gates is third on the team’s all-time receiving list with 9,162 yards. He needs 42 to pass Hall of Fame wide receiver Charlie Joiner (9,203) for second.

Philip Rivers needs 251 yards for his third-career 4,500-yard season. It would mark his third in the last four seasons. It would also set a new team mark for career 4,500-yard seasons as he and Dan Fouts are currently tied with two apiece.

Rivers has thrown a touchdown pass in 19 consecutive games, tying John Hadl for the third-most consecutive games with a touchdown pass. If he throws one Sunday against the Chiefs, he will tie Dan Fouts (1979-80) for the second-longest streak in team history. Rivers already holds the team record for consecutive games with a scoring strike (23), set during the 2009-10 seasons.

Ryan Mathews has rushed for 1,111 yards this season. He needs 68 Sunday against the Chiefs to crack the team’s single-season top-10 list. Earnest Jackson’s 1,179 yards in 1984 currently stands as the 10th best single-season performance in team history. The ninth and eighth best seasons are also within striking distance. Mathews would need 114 yards to equal the ninth-best season of Marion Butts (1,225 in 1990) and 125 yards to equal the eighth-best season of LaDainian Tomlinson (1,236 in 2001).

Nick Novak has 344 career points, good for ninth on the team’s all-time scoring list. He needs five more to move past Gary Garrison (348) for eighth.

Novak has 135 points this season, third in the NFL. His 32 made field goals are tied for second-most in a season in team history and he needs just two more to tie John Carney’s team record of 34 in 1994.

Connections

Chargers fullback Le’Ron McClain joined the Chargers in 2012 after spending the 2011 season in Kansas City.

Nick Novak kicked in six games for the Chiefs in 2009, hitting six of 10 field goals with a long of 43.

Tackle Jeromey Clary and linebacker Reggie Walker both played collegiately at Kansas State in Manhattan, Kansas.

Safety Darrell Stuckey is a native of Kansas City, Kansas (Washington High School) and went to the University of Kansas.

David Whitehurst, father of Chargers quarterback Charlie Whitehurst, played quarterback for the Chiefs in 1984.

Chargers’ offensive line coach Joe D’Alessandris spent the 2008-09 seasons as an assistant offensive line coach in Kansas City, his first NFL coaching position.

Assistant Strength and Conditioning Coach Rick Lyle grew up in Kansas City, Missouri. He played football, wrestled and competed in track at Hickman Hills High School before heading off to college to play football and compete in track at the University of Missouri.

Offensive quality control coach Nick Sirianni spent the last four seasons coaching in Kansas City, including 2012 as the Chiefs’ wide receivers coach and 2009-11 as a quality control coach.

Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith is a native of La Mesa, Calif. and he prepped at Helix High School.

Chiefs running backs coach Eric Bieniemy played running back for the Chargers from 1991-94. He was a member of the Bolts’ AFC Champion squad in ’94.

Broadcast Information

CBS (KFMB, Channel 8 in San Diego and KCBS, Channel 2 in Los Angeles and Orange County) – Marv Albert(play-by-play), Rich Gannon (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), Mike Costa (sideline)

Spanish Radio –XHFG 107.3 (San Diego) and KWKW 1330 AM (Los Angeles) – Jorge Villanueva (play-by-play) and Dante Lazcano (analyst)

All Chargers radio broadcasts are now being streamed live on the team’s official website, www.chargers.com. XTRA Sports 1360 Broadcasts with Josh Lewin (play-by-play) and Hank Bauer (analyst) will begin two hours before kickoff and continue for 90 minutes of postgame coverage after the game ends.

For a unique, one-of-a-kind look at the Chargers, be sure to tune in each week to Chargers Insider on Fox Sports San Diego.  The half-hour program will be the go-to destination for fans that want behind-the-scenes coverage and unique features on the team. Chargers Insider airs each week throughout the season on Thursdays at 4 p.m. and 10 p.m. PT as well as Saturday’s at 11:35pm on KFMB, Channel 8.

 

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