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Scouting Report: Chargers vs. Chiefs

The San Diego Chargers take the field for the final time this season when they host the Kansas City Chiefs on New Year’s Day.  Kickoff on Sunday is set for 1:25pm PT.

What to Watch For…

On Offense for the Chargers

Philip Rivers leads the Bolts onto the field having completed 327 of 540 attempts for 4,117 yards and 31 touchdowns.  Meanwhile, Melvin Gordon declared himself a true game day decision and should he take the field, he’ll continue his quest for 1,000 yards.  The second-year running back is only three short, totaling 997 yards on 254 carries this year. Ronnie Hillman and Andre Williams are the other two rushers who figure to see the field.  On the other hand, Tyrell Williams is another Charger closing in on the 1,000-yard barrier as he’s caught 63 passes for 989 yards and seven touchdowns.  Finally, Antonio Gates’ next touchdown catch will tie him with Tony Gonzalez for most ever by an NFL tight end.

On Offense for the Chiefs

Kansas City’s offense is firing on all cylinders as they finish the regular season.  Alex Smith is 307 for 461 on the season for 3,238 yards, 13 touchdowns and only seven interceptions. His top weapon is Pro Bowl tight end Travis Kelce, who has 84 receptions for 1,117 yards and four touchdowns.  Meanwhile, rookie Tyreek Hill has emerged as one of the NFL’s most explosive players.  He’s caught 54 passes for 547 yards and six touchdowns while also rushing for 252 yards and three scores on 21 carries. Spencer Ware has taken over as the Chiefs’ lead back, toting the rock 214 times for 921 yards and three scores.

On Defense for the Chargers

Joey Bosa looks to close his rookie season out in style as he is a half sack away from 10 on the year.  The rookie has also recorded 42 tackles, 42 pressures, 12 QB hits and one forced fumble on the year.  Melvin Ingram is right on his heels with 8.0 sacks while Denzel Perryman leads the Bolts with 80 total tackles.  In the secondary, Casey Hayward is headed to the Pro Bowl as the shutdown corner leads the NFL with seven interceptions.

On Defense for the Chiefs

Eric Berry is the leader of a stout Chiefs defense and had another Pro Bowl campaign.  With Derrick Johnson out for the season, Berry leads the team with 74 tackles and is second on the team with four interceptions including two pick-sixes.  Meanwhile, Dee Ford has been a terror on the outside recording 10.0 sacks while Justin Houston has 4.0 in only five games.  Cornerback Marcus Peters paces the Chiefs with five picks.

Series History

The Chiefs lead the all-time series 57-55-1, and have won five straight dating back to the start of the 2014 season.  

By the Numbers

The Chargers rank 16th in total offense (354.0 yards per game), sixth in passing (261.9 ypg), 27th in rushing (92.1 ypg) and 10th in points (25.5). The Chiefs rank 20th in total offense (341.5 ypg), 21st in passing (231.9 ypg), 16th in rushing (109.7 ypg) and 15th in points (23.5).

Defensively, the Bolts rank 14th in total defense (345.9 ypg), 19th in passing (248.3 ypg), 10th in rushing (97.6 ypg) and 28th in points allowed (25.7).  Kansas City ranks 24th in total defense (366.5 ypg), 17th in passing (245.9 ypg), 26th in rushing (120.6 ypg) and 5th in points allowed (18.9).

Milestones on the Horizon

Antonio Gates’ next touchdown catch will tie Tony Gonzalez (111) for most ever by a tight end in NFL history.

Philip Rivers needs four touchdown passes to tie his career high of 35 in a season.

Rivers’ next 300-yard passing game will be his 52nd, setting a new franchise record.

Joey Bosa is 2.5 sacks away from tying Leslie O’Neal for most by a rookie in team history.  Only three others have recorded 10 (Shawne Merriman, Chris Mims and Burt Grossman).

Should Gordon reach 1,000 rushing yards, he’ll become just the 11th player in franchise history and first since LaDainian Tomlinson in 2008 to rush for 1,000 yards and 10 touchdowns in a season.

Gordon has 12 combined TDs on the year, and with three more, would mark the ninth time a Charger has had 15 or more in a season.  LT did it six times, while Chuck Muncie and Lance Alworth did it once.

Gordon has 1,416 total yards from scrimmage this season (997 rushing and 419 receiving), to rank seventh in the NFL. With 84 more yards, Gordon would record just the 15th 1,500-yard season in franchise history.

Tyrell Williams needs 11 yards for a 1,000-yard season. Should he get there, it would mark the 36th 1,000-yard receiving season in franchise history. Those 36 have been achieved by 14 different players. If Williams reaches 1,000, he’ll become the 15th player in franchise history to reach the milestone.

Noteworthy vs. the Chiefs

Melvin Gordon scored his first two NFL touchdowns in this year’s season opener. He became the first Chargers running back since Gene Foster in 1965 to score two rushing touchdowns in the first half on kickoff weekend.

In 2014, Antonio Gates surpassed 10,000 career receiving yards to become the 44th player and fourth tight end in NFL history to achieve the mark.

In the Chargers’ 2004 regular-season finale, Rivers threw the first touchdown pass of his NFL career against the Chiefs.

Connections

Chargers tight end Sean McGrath played in all 16 games and made nine starts for the Chiefs in 2013.

Safety Darrell Stuckey hails from Kansas City, Kansas.

Wide Receivers Coach Nick Sirianni joined the Chargers in 2013 after spending four seasons in Kansas City. From 2009-11, he was an offensive quality control coach for the Chiefs and in 2012 he coached the team’s wide receivers.

Assistant Strength and Conditioning Coach Rick Lyle grew up in Kansas City. He was a football, track and wrestling standout at Hickman Mills (Mo.) High School. Lyle also went to the University of Missouri and starred along the Tigers’ defensive line.

Offensive Assistant Tommy Rees’ father, Bill Rees, worked in personnel for the Chiefs.

Director of Player Personnel JoJo Wooden’s older brother, Terry, played nine seasons in the NFL as a linebacker, including one season with the Chiefs.

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

Defensive end Kendall Reyes was a second-round pick of the Chargers in 2012 and he played four seasons (2012-15) with the Bolts.

Running Backs Coach Eric Bieniemy was a second-round pick of the Chargers in 1991 and he played running back for the Bolts from 1991-94. Bieniemy was a member of the Bolts’ AFC Champion squad in ’94.

Assistant Linebackers Coach Mark DeLeone is the son of former Chargers offensive line coach George DeLeone.

Know Your Opponent

Take a look at who the Bolts will face on New Year's Day for a divisional matchup at the Q.

Broadcast Information

CBS (KFMB, Channel 8 in San Diego) – Greg Gumbel (play-by-play), Trent Green (analyst) and Jamie Erdahl (reporter)

Rock 105.3 FM, XTRA Sports 1360 (San Diego) and AM 570 KLAC (Los Angeles & Orange County) – Josh Lewin (play-by-play), Nick Hardwick (analyst) and Mike Costa (reporter)

Spanish Radio – XHFG 107.3 (San Diego) – Jorge Villanueva (play-by-play) and Tony Alvarez (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 Nick Hardwick (analyst) will begin two hours before kickoff and continue for 90 minutes of postgame coverage.

Download the Chargers Official Mobile App for live game coverage, stats, and game day news.

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