Chargers take one on the chin

The Chargers defense took a day off last Sunday and face another mean test this coming week. But, things didn't have to be this way - Sunday could have been a time where the roll continued.

Chargers Report Card:

PASSING OFFENSE: C -- Philip Rivers had a rocky start, fumbling away one ball and throwing an interception. But the pass-protection was shaky, especially early on, when the crowd seemed to get under Rivers' skin. Rivers rallied in the second half and his work was among the reasons they came back to tie the game. And don't overlook LaDainian Tomlinson tossing his fifth career touchdown pass. But too many mistakes early put the Chargers in a 14-0 hole and it proved to be a hill too big to climb.

RUSHING OFFENSE: B-minus -- Improvement here, but the Chargers still don't have the we're-going-to-run-then-ball down your throat mentality it once did. Tomlinson averaged 4.4 yards per carry but he only carried it 15 times -- instead he had more yards (72) in the pass game. Tomlinson has now gone five straight games without getting 100 yards. The Chargers, as a team, fell 3 yards short in getting to the century mark. Overall, the run blocking was average.

PASS DEFENSE: C-minus -- If the Chiefs' Trent Green drops 232 passing yards on you, that's one thing. But it was Damon Huard doing the damage and in particular the Chargers couldn't cover Tony Gonzalez -- he had six catches for 138 yards. The pass rush took the week off, with the Chargers only getting to Huard twice. Quentin Jammer got burnt for one touchdown. The tackling here was bad.

RUSH DEFENSE: D --The Chargers never did look confident squaring up on Larry Johnson, and he went for 132 rushing yards. The tackling on the runs was terrible, and that will be addressed in this week's practice. The Chargers were missing run-stuffer Igor Olshansky and it showed. Johnson has now gone for 100 yards in his last two games against the Chargers; only two other rushers have done it once since 2004.

SPECIAL TEAMS: B -- The coverage units were solid in keeping Dante Hall under wraps; he was slowed, too, by a sore hip. Nate Kaeding kicked two field goals, but he'll remember the 47-yarder he missed --- especially with the Chargers losing by three. Michael Turner had a 24-yard kick return; Antonio Cromartie had a long of 19. Eric Parker delivered a great third-quarter spark with his 50-yard punt return.

COACHING: C -- The Chargers looked unprepared early on, when the Chiefs blitzed more than they expected. The defense had trouble tackling all day, and it ended up costing them the game -- then there was Tony Gonzalez seemingly running free whenever the Chiefs needed a key catch. It wasn't that the team was flat, it just seemed they were playing catch-up to what the Chiefs were doing.

Chiefs Report Card:

PASSING OFFENSE: A-plus -- This probably wasn't truly an A-plus performance, but it looks like one compared to the last four games when the Chiefs failed miserably to use Tony Gonzalez. Gonzo repeatedly busted big plays Sunday, including consecutive catches of 18 and 19 yards to put the Chiefs in position to kick the winning field goal.

RUSHING OFFENSE: A-minus -- Larry Johnson got untracked for 132 yards and looked more like the old LJ on Sunday as the Chiefs seemed to figure out how to block a 3-4 scheme and figured out that it's OK to pass on first down occasionally. A better line performance and less predictable game plan helped tremendously.

PASS DEFENSE: B-minus -- The Chiefs get an A for early-down pass defense, but they gave up too many long third-down conversions. And how do you forget to cover LaDainian Tomlinson? Still, the four sacks were crucial. Two of them ended San Diego's last drive with enough time for the Chiefs offense to drive into field-goal range.

RUSH DEFENSE: A -- As usual, the Chiefs stuffed Tomlinson, this time for 66 yards and a fumble. The Chargers broke a few long runs, but they had no consistency in their rush attack. Once Kansas City built a big lead, it was a moot point.

SPECIAL TEAMS: C-plus -- K Lawrence Tynes almost single-handedly earned the special teams an F with a missed field goal and extra point, but he bumped up the grade to a C by making a 53-yard game-winner. The plus is for P Dustin Colquitt, who had a 58-yard blast. But Dante Hall had another poor performance, fielding one kickoff far too deep in the end zone and returning it to the 11.

COACHING: B -- Credit Herm Edwards for having his team ready to play after an embarrassing loss. And credit both coordinators for getting the better of their San Diego counterparts. The Chiefs blew their last possession of the first half with amazingly inept clock management, which is not the first time that has happened.

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