Defense and running game is playoff football

No passing grade. While the focus was on ONE bad game from Philip Rivers, the true story of the game was a defense that stepped up and a running game that continues to churn out yards.

Chargers Report Card:

PASSING OFFENSE: D -- Philip Rivers looked the way a first-year stating QB is supposed to. He was jittery, his passes were rushed, he seldom set his feet and he was bothered for the second time by the Chiefs' blitzes. The Chargers won despite Rivers and this is causing some to raise an eyebrow or two. His rating of 12.4 is no typo. The pass protection had a few hiccups, but seemed to settle down later. That the Chargers won this kind of game from their quarterback tells you how good -- or fortunate -- they really are.

RUSHING OFFENSE: A -- LaDainian Tomlinson is nearly unstoppable. Everyone knows he's going to run, everyone knows he will likely go left and look for the cutback. Everyone knows and no one can do anything about. He goes for 199 yards and two scores, setting numerous NFL marks and solidifying his MVP bid. Run-blocking was sensational. Among the most physical efforts by the front five, fullback and tight ends.

PASS DEFENSE: B -- No big plays or glaring mistakes. CB Quentin Jammer has one of his better days in memory with team-highs in tackles (10) and passes defensed (five). Marlon McCree and Drayton Florence combine for 15 tackles; Donnie Edwards gets a pick. This unit gets help thanks to the steady pass rush. But the same can be said that the coverages were tight, allowing the rush to reach Green.

RUSH DEFENSE: A -- Big improvement here after rough outing against the Broncos. Larry Johnson came in as the NFL's leading rusher and was held to 84 yards, although he did average 4.4 yards per carry. But overall the unit keeps its third rival in four games under 90 yards rushing. DT Jamal Williams dominated the middle, which helped Igor Olshansky and Luis Castillo on the outside.

SPECIAL TEAMS: D -- Dodged a bullet on blocked punt they ended up recovering; had a roughing penalty on another punt. Not too bad on the coverage side; Michael Turner gives the Chargers' return game a boost with a 58-yard return. Nate Kaeding was true on two attempts.

COACHING: A -- The Chargers were emotionally ready to play a team which had plenty of the same on their side. The coaching staff didn't miss a beat to remind the team the Chiefs had called them a finesse team (soft) after the Chargers earlier loss in K.C.

Chiefs Report Card:

PASSING OFFENSE: C -- The six San Diego sacks were devastating. They killed promising drives and put Kansas City into long third downs. Trent Green threw a bad interception to Donnie Edwards and went just 23-for-41.

RUSHING OFFENSE: B-minus -- Larry Johnson wasn't much of a factor with his 84 yards on 19 carries because the Chiefs were playing from behind all game. Still, he averaged 4.4 yards per carry against a stiff Chargers defense.

PASS DEFENSE: A -- Chargers QB Phillip Rivers called Sunday the worst performance of his athletic career, a believable assertion as Rivers went 8-for-23 with two interceptions and a 12.4 passer rating.

RUSH DEFENSE: F -- San Diego averaged seven yards per carry, and, as you'd expect with an average that high, the Chiefs gave up big plays in the running game, including LaDainian Tomlinson's personal-best 85-yard touchdown run.

SPECIAL TEAMS: C -- The blocked punt would have been a big play, had Derrick Ross not dropped the ball, thereby giving it back to San Diego. Then there were the three punt returns for six yards, five kickoff returns for an average of 20.8 yards, getting pinned inside the 10-yard line twice.

COACHING: B -- The Chiefs were aggressive on both sides of the ball and the game plan was a seemingly sound one, they just could not stop Tomlinson. The blitzing on defense seemed to rattle Rivers and the offense was less predictable than it has been in previous road games.

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