Defense Keeps Chiefs Cooped Up

LaDainian Tomlinson charged into Kansas City ready to run. When he rested, Stephen Cooper and the Chargers defense found the oompth they were missing and continued LT's torrid pace.

What Worked

--Week 13 brought out the luck in LaDainian Tomlinson's game. He was the week's leading rusher with 177 yards. Tomlinson is fourth overall on the season's leader board. His 11 touchdowns leave the rest of the running backs in the dust, except for Minnesota's Adrian Peterson who has rushed to the end zone 10 times in his rookie year.

--On San Diego possessions, Tomlinson acquired the ball 55 percent of the time.

--Stephen Cooper's dominance was at the heart of the Chargers defense on Sunday. He led his squad with 10 tackles. The consistent pressure he put on Damon Huard kept the veteran quarterback to a 56 percent completion rating, his second lowest number of the season.

--Shawne Merriman continued to climb out of his slump with three sacks and six tackles. He now has 10 sacks on the season, the third consecutive year he's hit double digits.

--The level of aggressiveness in the secondary showed improvement in Kansas City. Antonio Cromartie was not afraid to tackle. He did so five times, with two interceptions.

--The Chargers found themselves in a third-and-one situation three times. Michael Turner was the ball carrier twice and was successful in one attempt to get the first down. Tomlinson succeeded once as well.

What Didn't

--The scoreboard hid Philip Rivers' troubles. He completed just 10 of his 21 attempts. Similar to his Chiefs' counterpart, Sunday's game was Rivers second worst passing game of the season. The game was not about Rivers' arm though. The 23 handoffs to Tomlinson were how the game was won.

--On 14 third-down opportunities, the Chargers converted four times. With a 28 percent third-down efficiency, Mike Scifres was left to do the grunt work more often than not.

--There was not anything pretty about San Diego's first drive of the game. Rivers was sacked immediately by Jared Allen for a loss of 9 yards. The Chargers gained a mere 6 yards on the drive. Allen reached Rivers one more time in the first quarter.

What's Next

--The upset in the Raiders-Broncos matchup worked out perfectly for San Diego. The Raiders win helped the Chargers separate themselves by two games in the AFC West. Oakland moves on to Green Bay this week. The Broncos and the Chiefs square off in Denver.

--A trip to Tennessee is next on the Chargers' itinerary. The game will finish off the Chargers tour of the AFC South. San Diego is 2-1 against AFC South opponents this season.

Amberly Richardson is a member of the Pro Football Writers of America and a correspondent for Scout.com. She has contributed to the official Web sites of Shawne Merriman, Lorenzo Neal, Shaun Phillips and others for Sixthman Communications.


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