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Week 14 Game Recap: San Diego Chargers 3, Kansas City Chiefs 10
What you need to know
Torrential rains throughout the game could have helped contribute to the lack of an aerial show by the two teams. Although Kansas City isn't real known for its big-play offense, and San Diego doesn't appear to have one anymore
The explosive San Diego offense of recent years and earlier this season is but a distant memory at this point. Injuries along the line and to the skill players, as well as general ineffectiveness, have relegated this unit to the type of team you want to start your fantasy defense against.
Running back Melvin Gordon
continues to get opportunities, and continues to do very little with them. At this point, the Chargers almost have to keep feeding him the ball to see if there is anything there worthwhile to build on in season two, because it seems pretty clear that his rookie year is going to end as a lost cause.
Soggy and windy conditions at Arrowhead Stadium helped to hold both the Chargers and Chiefs offenses in check on Sunday. Alex Smith
would see his streak of pass attempts without an interception halted at 312 when he threw a pick at the end of the first quarter, but he would make up for the error on the team's next drive. Smith would connect with Albert Wilson
for a 44-yard touchdown in the second quarter, the lone touchdown by either side. Charcandrick West
and Spencer Ware
shared duties at running back and combined for 106 yards. Once again, Jeremy Maclin
was the most targeted Chiefs receiver on the day with nine, which he converted into six catches for 68 yards. The Chiefs would close out the game with a solid goal-line stand to prevent the Chargers from tying the game and preserved their seventh consecutive victory in the process.
San Diego Chargers
|QB Philip Rivers, 67 offensive snaps, Pass: 24 - 43 - 263 - 0 TD / 1 INT, Rush: 1 - 4 - 0|
The early season fantasy bonanza that Rivers owners enjoyed, has come to a crashing halt over the last several weeks. Even a player of Rivers' caliber is going to have a difficult time putting up big stats with all the many injuries surrounding him. He entered this game without Keenan Allen
, Stevie Johnson, or Dontrelle Inman
, a hobbled Antonio Gates
, and an offensive line that has been decimated by injuries (he lost left tackle King Dunlap to reinjury in this one). It's no wonder, then, that he spent the majority of the game being rushed by the Kansas City pass rush. On one particular sack, one of the linemen didn't even realize the ball had been snapped. He stood there for a good 1-2 seconds as the pass rusher ran right by him and absolutely crushed Rivers for the sack. And on the rare occasions he was able to step into his throws, there was rarely anyone open. There were a few instances where he clearly tried forcing the issue to make a play, but as is often the case, they didn't work. One such pass ended up getting deflected by a defender and into the waiting arms of a defender for the interception. Furthermore, Rivers threw the pass off his back foot, which weakened the velocity enough to make the deflection easier. The Chargers only came close to scoring on two occasions, and shot themselves in the foot both times. On one instance, Rivers found a streaking Malcom Floyd
in stride at around the 5-yard line. It should have gone for an easy 58-yard touchdown that would have tied the game up, but the sure-handed Floyd inexplicably dropped the ball. On San Diego's last-gasp desperation drive to try and tie the game, Rivers brought the team downfield via three separate fourth down pass conversions. One went to Javontee Herndon
, and the other was a floater to tight end Antonio Gates
with pressure in Rivers' face. San Diego got down to the goal line, but a delay of game penalty pushed them back to the 6-yard line. Clock management was another issue Rivers faced in this game, as he twice had to call timeouts in the first half to avoid delay of game penalties. From the six, Rivers hit tight end Ladarius Green
in the hands, but the pass had a little much on it and couldn't be brought in. An ensuing false start flag backed them up to the 11-yard line. On the last try, Rivers again hit a receiver in the hands, this time running back Danny Woodhead
, but the ball rolled up his arm and couldn't be brought in, sealing the Kansas City win.
|RB Melvin Gordon, 28 offensive snaps, Rush: 14 - 35 - 0, Rec: 4 - 28 - 0 (4 targets)|
Once again, San Diego made a concerted effort to get the ball into the hands of their prized rookie. Clearly, with the team out of the playoff race for awhile now, they've needed to see exactly what they have in Gordon heading into 2016. The problem is, it's difficult to gauge when the offensive line play is so putrid. Gordon looks to run with power at times, looks to have some nice moves at times, and shows good hands out of the backfield. But once the ball is in his hands, defenders are all over him so quickly that you've got to wonder if ANY back would have consistent success running behind it. He had a nice 15-yard gain up the left sideline early in the second half. He beat his man to the edge, showed good vision in getting around would-be tacklers, and did a nice job hanging onto the football despite getting tackled from behind. But again, with San Diego trailing for most of the game, it was tough to really establish any kind of rhythm on the ground.
|RB Danny Woodhead, 43 offensive snaps, Rush: 3 - 5 - 0, Rec: 3 - 8 - 0 (6 targets)|
Woodhead's role has shrunk in the second half of the season to be more of a pure backup runner than the 1 and 1A scenario he ane rookie Melvin Gordon
enjoyed early on. Woodhead got a couple of looks in the passing game, one of which was a terrific one-handed catch that he corraled over his head before cradling it into his body. But it was too little too late, as he couldn't reach the first down marker on a third and long play. His key target came on the game's final play when Rivers looked for him in the back of the end zone. The pass led him perfectly to the only spot on the field that was open, but the ball rolled off Woodhead's arms/hands and fell harmlessly incomplete, ending the game.
Thrust into significant action due to several injuries to players ahead of him on the depth chart (Keenan Allen
, Stevie Johnson, & Dontrelle Inman
), Herndon saw a decent amount of looks. Early on, he caught a couple of passes that would typically be Antonio Gates
-type grabs. There was a short catch over the middle on a comeback route, a diving grab along the sideline, and a quick out to the sideline to pick up 21. But he saved his best for last, with a tremendous fourth down grab in traffic late in the fourth quarter on San Diego's desperation attempt to tie the game. With three Kansas City defenders hanging around him (and one literally ON him), Herndon muscled them away and showed tremendous hands to reel it in and keep the drive (and game) alive.
|WR Malcom Floyd, 63 offensive snaps, Rec: 3 - 56 - 0 (9 targets)|
Floyd, who has just three games left in his NFL career after this one, had a game he'd soon like to forget. Targeted in the first half in traffic, the defender had better positioning than he did, deflecting the ball up in the air where it was picked off by another Kansas City defender. And then the sure-handed Floyd had one of the worst drops of his entire career (the announcing team mentioned it was just the eleventh drop EVER for Floyd) that will stick with him for awhile. He got beyond the secondary and was wide open for what should have been an easy 58-yard touchdown. Quarterback Philip Rivers
put the ball right on Floyd's hands, but he allowed it to get to close to his body and he simply dropped it. A score there would have tied the game. On the next San Diego possession, he kind of made up for that drop by hauling in a fantastic 41-yard bomb down the right sideline. He somehow out-leaped the Kansas City defender, taking the ball away from him in mid-air and pinning it against his hip with three defenders surrounding him, for a true highlight-worthy grab.
|WR Vincent Brown, 34 offensive snaps, Rec: 1 - 22 - 0 (2 targets)|
The former Charger was re-signed this past week to provide depth in the passing game following injuries to Stevie Johnson and Dontrelle Inman
. Little did anyone expect Brown to make the game-saving fourth down catch on the team's desperation drive. It was the third conversion of a fourth down on the drive, and Brown hung on despite a defender hanging all over him. It was his lone target of the game, and he won't be a big part of the passing game moving forward, but he made this one count at least.
|TE Antonio Gates, 42 offensive snaps, Rec: 6 - 76 - 0 (8 targets)|
Gates was really the only Charger who salvaged something productive in this game from a fantasy perspective. Week after week, Gates continues to pretty much do the same things over and over, and defenses are almost powerless to stop it. Run 8-10 yards upfield, stop, turn around, defender can't get around the big body, catch the ball, turn upfield and dive ahead for another yard or two. Rinse, repeat. In this one, he also made a tremendous one-handed snag on a floater towards the sideline. Gates showed soft hands in first deflecting it to himself, then cradling it in and keeping his feet inbounds. He was also hit in stride on a deep ball down the seam for a nice gain. And his last significant contribution was a big one, going up in traffic over the middle on a game-saving fourth down pass play with less than a minute remaining to keep the drive alive. Later on in that drive, Rivers threw a deep ball in the end zone on a third down pass play, but Gates couldn’t get in position to make the catch. Once San Diego got close to the end zone, the offense stalled and was unable to punch one in for the tie. Curiously, Gates did not see any targets in the end zone from short yardage in that situation with the game on the line.
Even with all the injuries to the San Diego receiving corps, Green has still mostly been an afterthought since Antonio Gates
returned to the lineup. In this one, Green made a short catch over the middle in the first half as the second or third option in the pattern. And later added a wide open catch on a crossing route to the left, getting to the edge for a nice gain. But those were his only real contributions. What was more significant was the pass he did NOT bring in, a red zone look on San Diego's last-gasp drive near the Kansas City goal line. Quarterback Philip Rivers
put the ball on Green's hands, albeit perhaps a bit too high, and the big tight end was unable to reel in what would have been the game-tying score.
Kansas City Chiefs
|QB Alex Smith, 54 offensive snaps, Pass: 15 - 23 - 191 - 1 TD / 1 INT, Rush: 5 - 40 - 0|
's streak of passes attempted without an interception came to an end on Sunday, but the efficient quarterback quickly redeemed himself with a long scoring drive resulting in the game's only touchdown on the next drive. Smith engineered a nine-play, 96-yard drive in the second quarter that was capped off with a 44-yard touchdown pass to Albert Wilson
. The touchdown pass to Wilson was also Smith's longest completion of the day, as the wet and windy conditions at Arrowhead Stadium were not conducive to a game featuring offensive fireworks. The Chiefs employed a very balanced gameplan with 23 pass attempts versus 25 rushing attempts, with Smith relying on his typical array of short and efficient passes. Smith also picked up 40 yards on the ground, his second highest total of the season. The win over the Chargers was the Chiefs seventh consecutive victory and keeps them squarely in the mix for a playoff berth. They will look to continue their winning ways next week when they travel to Baltimore to take on the Ravens.
The Chiefs again employed the running back by committee approach with both Charcandrick West
and Spencer Ware
seeing their fair share of carries, 10 for West versus eight for Ware. West's longest run of the day would come in the third quarter. Facing first and ten at the Chargers 43-yard line, West would take the handoff from Smith around the left end and advance it for a 15-yard gain before he was pushed out of bounds. All told, it was a quiet offensive game for both the Chiefs and Chargers as the game was played in some rough conditions. We can expect the backfield by committee approach to continue for the remainder of the season.
Ware continued to share carries with Charcandrick West
in a relatively even fashion, with eight carries for Ware versus 10 for West. His longest run would come on the Chiefs lone touchdown drive of the day. On first and ten from the Chiefs 17-yard line, Ware took the handoff from of the right guard for a 20-yard gain. The drive was ultimately capped off by a 44-yard Alex Smith
to Albert Wilson
touchdown connection. Sunday's weather conditions were not conducive to productive offensive football, limiting the effectiveness of both Ware and West. Ware exited the game with a rib injury but is expected to be fine. We can expect the committee approach to continue for the remainder of the season.
|WR Jeremy Maclin, 52 offensive snaps, Rush: 1 - -2 - 0, Rec: 6 - 68 - 0 (9 targets)|
Maclin was targeted a team-high nine times, but a wet and windy day limited his overall effectiveness. He hauled in six of them for 68 yards, his lowest output since Week 11 - also against the Chargers. Maclin was the intended target on the play which broke Alex Smith
's streak of passes attempted without an interception. On first and ten from the Chargers 38-yard line, Smith attempted a deep pass into the end zone intended for Maclin which was picked off by the Chargers Jason Verrett. Maclin's longest play of the day would come just before half time, a deep right pass from Smith for a 21-yard gain. He remains the unquestioned top target for the chiefs as they continue their push for a playoff spot.
|WR Albert Wilson, 49 offensive snaps, Rec: 4 - 87 - 1 (6 targets)|
Wilson was the most productive Chiefs receiver on the day and responsible for the game's lone touchdown. Facing second and four from the chargers 44-yard line, Alex Smith
would find an open Wilson over the middle, who would show of his wheels while finding pay dirt, capping off a nine-play, 96-yard drive. In all, Wilson was targeted six times, behind only Jeremy Maclin
's team-leading nine targets. He remains third in the passing game pecking order behind Maclin and Travis Kelce
|TE Travis Kelce, 51 offensive snaps, Rec: 3 - 18 - 0 (5 targets)|
Sunday's nasty conditions at Arrowhead Stadium were not conducive to effective offensive football, but Kelce had a particularly quiet day. He was targeted five times, hauling in three of them for 18 yards- 11 of which came on one play. This was the second consecutive quiet outing for Kelce, who was battling a groin injury heading into Sunday's contest. We'll have to wait and see if he can bounce back against the Ravens next week, but a third consecutive down week might point to the big tight end being more banged up than we realize.