SD-KC: What Worked, What Didn't, What's Next

San Diego's five-game winning streak came to an abrupt end. The Chiefs came into Qualcomm Stadium, dominated time of possession and kept the Chargers out of the end zone in the second half en route to a 23-20 victory. Here is our weekly look at what worked, what didn't and what's next for the boys in (powder) blue. (Photo by Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports)

What Worked

--Keenan Allen caught six passes for 58 yards. Although he has still yet to find the end zone, the six receptions were his second-most this season (behind his 10-catch, 135-yard game against the Jaguars). Three of his receptions came on San Diego's final scoring drive, when the Chargers tied the score on a 48-yard field goal by Nick Novak right before the two-minute warning. Allen was targeted 10 times on the day, an indication that Philip Rivers is trying to get him more involved.

"It just wasn't our best day," Rivers said. "And Kansas City, give them credit, they had a lot to do with it."

The Chargers need Allen to have a big game on Thursday in Denver. In three meetings against the Broncos last season (including the playoffs), Allen caught 12 passes for 212 yards and four touchdowns.

--Corey Liuget had an active game with six tackles and a sack. He also knocked down a pass at the line of scrimmage for the first time in 2014 (by comparison, he had nine such breakups in 2012). The Chargers need Liuget to play at an elite level now more than ever. Not only is he the team's most talented defender, but the D-line is the only healthy unit on defense.

Liuget & Co. must put a lot of pressure on Peyton Manning on Thursday or he will pick apart a back-seven that is dealing with injuries to Melvin Ingram (hip), Manti Te'o (foot), Jeremiah Attaochu (hamstring), Brandon Flowers (concussion), Jason Verrett (shoulder) and Steve Williams (groin).

What Didn't

--The Bolts played terrible situational football. The offense went three-and-out on its only drive of the third quarter, when the defense desperately needed a rest. In the fourth quarter, San Diego settled for a pair of field goals when a touchdown would have flipped the outcome in San Diego's favor.

The Chargers' defense could never get off the field. The Chiefs converted 7-of-14 third downs, protected the football and held possession for 39:00. Basically, they played Chargers football against the Chargers. John Pagano's troops also failed in the game's most crucial moments, allowing Alex Smith to complete consecutive passes for 19, 16 and 8 yards on the game's final drive to set up Cairo Santos' game-winning 48-yard field goal.

"Third downs on both sides, offensively and defensively, were poor overall," said coach Mike McCoy. "We couldn't sustain drives and we couldn't stop drives."

--The Chargers, already dealing with more injuries than any team in the league, suffered more against the Chiefs. Flowers and Williams both left the game with injuries, leaving San Diego with just three healthy cornerbacks. Even the backups couldn't avoid the injury bug. Jahleel Addae and Tourek Williams had to be evaluated after getting dinged on the second-half kickoff; Kavell Conner, filling in for Te'o, was hurt two plays later.

San Diego's injury woes will only be magnified by the short work week, as the team has just three days off between games against its two fiercest division rivals. The loss against the Chiefs, which dropped the Chargers to 1-1 in the division, puts even more pressure on San Diego to go into Denver and win.

The good news is, after the Denver game, the Chargers have 10 days until they travel to Miami to face the Dolphins, followed by a sorely needed bye week.

What's Next?

The Chargers travel to Denver to face a red-hot Broncos team in a battle for first place in the AFC West. Denver is coming off a 42-17 win over the 49ers and is the last one-loss team in the AFC.

McCoy, a former Broncos offensive coordinator, has proven he can lead his Chargers into Denver and come out victorious. Last season, the Chargers were the only team to win at Mile High Stadium. There is also a chance the Broncos could be due for a letdown after Sunday's emotional win in which Manning became the league's all-time leader in passing touchdowns.

The Chargers better hope McCoy has another masterful game plan up his sleeve, because a second straight divisional defeat would erase all those warm and fuzzy feelings generated by the team's 5-1 start.

Michael Lombardo is a long-time contributor to the team. His analysis has been published by the NFL Network, Fox Sports and MySpace Sports. He has followed the Chargers for more than 18 years and covered the team since '03. You can see more of his updates by following him on twitter.

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