Chiefs’ hot offense rolls into L.A. for matchup with Chargers
Chiefs coach Andy Reid couldn’t suppress his grin with the Los Angeles Chargers, lined up next for Kansas City.
But Reid wasn’t giddy over his undefeated team facing one searching for its first victory come Sunday at the StubHub Center.
Instead, he’s just happy the NFL has returned to L.A.
“I’m from there so I’m an L.A. guy,” Reid said. “I’m glad pro football is back. It’s a big city and it can handle two teams.”
That’s to be determined as the Chargers (0-2) and Rams share Reid’s hometown. What isn’t a mystery is that the Chargers’ biggest task in their second game in L.A. after 56 seasons in San Diego is stopping the Chiefs’ explosive attack.
Kansas City (2-0) has sprinted from the gate with an offense featuring an accurate quarterback in Alex Smith, a shifty rookie running back in Kareem Hunt and a top-shelf tight end in Travis Kelce.
“I think the plays we are dialing up are good,” Reid said. “But most of all the guys are doing a great job of executing them.”
The Chargers’ offense has been known to move the chains, too. But it has to keep the Chiefs’ defenders out of the backfield and these days that means more than Justin Houston.
Chris Jones is coming off a stellar game in which his stat line can’t be ignored: three sacks, two forced fumbles, an interception and five solo tackles.
“He’s shown up on tape quite a bit,” Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers said.
Jones is eager to see Rivers so they can exchange pleasantries.
“He doesn’t curse, he just talks a lot of stuff,” Jones said. “I’m out there saying stuff the whole time but they don’t get me on camera.”
The Chargers weren’t ready for their Hollywood close-up, falling in their home opener to the Dolphins, 19-17, on Sunday. Rookie kicker Younghoe Koo missed from 44 yards in the closing seconds, the second straight week the Chargers had lost on a late kick that wasn’t converted.
It was nothing new for the Chargers as they lost eight games by seven points or fewer last year. In fact, among the reasons the Chargers are 9-25 in two plus years is their inability to win tight contests.
“They have more of those games than anybody the last two years,” Reid said. “When you play it right to the end there you are a good football team.”
That’s Lynn’s point. But the Chargers have to do more than talk the talk.
“First of all, there were a lot of plays that could have made a difference in that game,” Lynn said. “Just evaluating the tape, on offense, defense and special teams, there’s certainly plays where we could have done better.”
But can the Chargers show improvement against the Chiefs, a squad that is clearly ascending once again?
“We’re going to find out what the character, what the identity of this team is,” tackle Russell Okung said. “We’ll see that really soon.”
Rivers knows what has to happen. His unit has to be more productive.
“I know we got to score more points than we have been scoring,” Rivers said. “Our defense gave up 19 and 24 points and we have to win those games.”
It won’t be easy against the balanced Chiefs.
“They got a good offense, the got a good defense,” Rivers said. “They are arguably the hottest team in the league right now.
“It’s going to be a heck of a challenge but one I think we are up for. We got to be up for it. We got to get in the win column and hopefully get on little streak.”
Rivers, who led the league last year with 21 interceptions, knows he must take care of the football. Especially with Pro Bowler Marcus Peters roaming the Chiefs’ secondary to disrupt Rivers.
“He’s obviously a super talent player,” he said. “It’s the corners that are smart, that maybe guess some, but they also understand what they are seeing and they recognize routes. Those are the ones that are the most dangerous. He’s one of the guys that is always breaking up passes and always around the ball.”
The Chargers are always around the win column. Too bad that doesn’t mean squat.
“It shows you what we can do,” Rivers said. “But you got to do it. We’ve done a lot of good things in this first two weeks and at the end of the day we got nothing to show for it. It gives you the confidence to know that if you keep fighting, keep scratching, surely, we will be on the other ends of those. And we got 14 games left.”
None of which are more important that Sunday’s.