Chargers Loss Spoke Volumes for Chiefs

Kansas City head coach Dick Vermeil dared to call Sunday's game with the Chargers their Super Bowl during the week but when it came down to playing the game, the Chiefs weren't even a preseason opponent.

The San Diego Chargers rested their three Pro Bowl players and the Chiefs could still do little to stop the assault. Despite amassing more yards than their opponent, Kansas City came up short and needed the aid of an onsides kick to make it close.

The worst part remains the game was played with many Chargers' players resting up for the playoffs. Players such as Malcom Floyd and Ryan Krause – two receivers who entered the game without a single catch between them in their NFL careers – scored touchdowns.

"It doesn't make it any easier, you know," quarterback Trent Green said. "A loss is a loss, no matter who's in there. No matter who was in there, they played better than us."

Green did all he could to make sure the Chiefs would and could not win.

The Chiefs opened up the game with the ball on their own 13. Sixty-seven yards later they were in the red zone with a first and ten. Using a combination of run and pass they were able to march down the field seemingly at will.

Then Green tried to connect with Tony Gonzalez but little used linebacker Matt Wilhelm jumped the pass and picked it off at the 11 yard line.

A late first half turnover forced by Benny Sapp put the Chiefs back in business. Down by seven points, Kansas City had the ball on the San Diego 29. The next pass, however, was intercepted at the five yard line and a seven point deficit turned into a 14-point hole when San Diego quickly scored to go up 17-3 at the half.

Another chance to make it a game came in the third quarter. The Chiefs had first and goal on the San Diego six yard line but came away empty when Gonzalez looked scared to go after the ball on fourth down. Faced with a decision over attacking the ball or making sure he lived to break the NFL record for most catches by a tight end, Gonzalez chose the latter and decided the catch wasn't worth it with Hanik Milligan hitting him hard.

"We had a number of opportunities," Green said. "We had four plays down in the goalline area; the play they knocked the ball out of Tony's hand in the back of the end zone, that was an opportunity to score. We missed a field goal. Seventeen points that we didn't get."

It was the first half that doomed the Chiefs. They looked listless against what amounts to the Chargers scrubs. A team of misfits who don't get to suit up on a normal week and play on offense, defense and special teams came in and whipped the Chiefs into submission.

"In the first half, we had some opportunities and we turned the ball over," Vermeil said. "When you turn the ball over, it's tough."

What would have happened if the Chargers played their full assortment of players?

"It doesn't help," coach Vermeil said when reminded that the Chargers regulars were not on the field.

This is not the way Kansas City had hoped to end their season. Instead of going out on a high, they went out on the ultimate low – and the loss defined the season of missed opportunities and promise unfulfilled.

"It's just hard to swallow, knowing we can't even beat their second team," Gonzalez said.

Warpaint Specks:

Gonzo ended the day with 14 receptions for 144 yards and in the process he crushed the record for most catches by a tight end in NFL history. He ended the year with 102, breaking the previous mark of 96 held by Ben Coates.

His 14 catches also set a new team record for most catches in a single game. He is the only tight end in NFL history with six 100-yard receiving games in a season. He has now accomplished the feat twice, in 2004 and in 2000. Top Stories