Antonio Gates Drives Chargers in 28-20 Win

The Kansas City Chiefs had a golden opportunity on Sunday to drive a stake in the heart of the San Diego Chargers. Instead the team limps home after failing to score touchdowns in the red zone. There was little doubt that the Chargers were going to exploit the Chiefs secondary. Quarterback Drew Brees hit tight end Antonio Gates for three touchdowns on the afternoon and that proved to be the difference in the game as the Chargers defeated the Chiefs 28-20 on Sunday afternoon.

It was a good start for the Kansas City Chiefs defense as they held the Chargers three and out. But San Diego's defense was just as pumped up as they swarmed the Chiefs backfield and shut them down on three consecutive plays. Rookie punter Dustin Colquitt hit a very short punt that was returned for 23 yards by former Kansas State standout Darren Sproles. That set up the Chargers deep into Chiefs territory at the 34 yard line.

After two short runs the Chargers faced a third and four from the 28-yard line. The Chiefs defense held firm as Jared Allen knocked down on third down but San Diego went for it on fourth down. It didn't work as safety Sammy Knight knocked down a pass intended for tight end Antonio Gates.

That put the ball back into the hands of the Chiefs offense. After Priest Holmes ripped off an 11-yard run, Safety Sammy Knight was flagged for a 15-yard face mask penalty. That put the Chiefs at the Chargers 44-yard line. But after a pair of one-yard runs by Holmes, Kansas City was poised for their first key third down attempt of the afternoon. Quarterback Trent Green hit Eddie Kennison for a 22-yard gain but the call was challenged by Chargers Head Coach Marty Schottenheimer. After further review, Kennison was ruled out of bounds.

After failing to get a first down in each of their two possessions, the Chargers gained three quick first downs that put the ball in Chiefs territory at the 42-yard line. But the defense stiffened and forced the Chargers into a third and five. But wide receiver Keenan McCardell caught a pass in front of Eric Warfield for an 11-yard gain. That set up a 19-yard touchdown pass from Brees to Antonio Gates. On the play he left safety Jerome Woods in his dust and the Chargers jumped out to a 7-0 lead late in the first quarter.

However the Chiefs offense unable to protect Trent Green was forced into another three and out. The Chargers took over at their own 17-yard line. After an initial first down, Brees found Gates again for another first down. Once again Brees hit a wide open McCardell for a 30-yard gain then Tomlinson ran for 12-yards and the Chargers sensed this was going to be their day as the first quarter ended. They went for the kill as running back LaDainian Tomlinson threw his third touchdown pass of the season hitting a wide open Eric Parker for 19-yard flip that put the Chargers in a commanding 14-0 lead. With ten days to prepare for the Chargers, the Chiefs are playing the same game they played in Denver in week three.

It was critical for the Chiefs offense to score some points on their next drive. After a ten-yard screen pass to Priest Holmes that set up a first down, the offense fizzled once again. On a third and three near midfield, Green missed a wide open Priest Holmes in the flat as he turned and short hopped the ball to tight end Jason Dunn. That forced another punt by Dustin Colquitt. The Chargers took over at their own 10-yard line holding a fourteen point lead.

That put a lot of pressure on the Chiefs defense that has been on the field for most of the game. After a pair of three and outs, the Chargers offense quickly moved back into Chiefs territory when wide receiver Rene Caldwell fumbled the ball and it was picked up by cornerback Eric Warfield. With some momentum, Larry Johnson ripped off a 48-yard run but the offense could not find the end zone. Kansas City had to settle for a 34-yard field goal from Lawrence Tynes. He nailed it and the Chiefs trailed 14-3 with just under two minutes left in the first half.

But the defense couldn't prevent the Chargers from knifing into Chiefs territory as Brees hit consecutive passes to Parker that put the ball at the 38-yard line. Two plays later Brees hit Gates again for their second touchdown hook-up of the game. This time the Chiefs defense played prevent defense generally only rushing three of four players and they were torched by Brees as San Diego took a commanding 20-3 lead with just seconds remaining in the first half.

In the second half, Kansas City had the ball first but the offense could only get one first down. Dustin Colquitt hit his sixth punt of the day as San Diego went on the attack. This time Tomlinson paved the way for a fifteen yard gain setting the tempo. But the defense stiffened as San Diego faced a third and six. This time the defense was able to get pressure on Brees and the Chargers were forced to punt. Kansas City took possession at their own nine yard line and finally showed some life. After a key third down pick-up from Green to Kennison, tight end Tony Gonzalez caught back to back passes that finally put the Chiefs in the end zone. The first pass to Gonzalez covered 36-yards and the second pass for 16-yards that made the score 21-10 Chargers.

Now it was up to the defense. This time they did the job as Greg Wesley intercepted an errant Brees pass. That put the Chiefs into Chargers territory but the offense did the unthinkable and turned the ball over as Green fumbled on third and 12 from the fourteen. After the defense held, Hall made another fabulous return putting the ball down at the 35-yard line. But after getting the ball inside the ten yard line, the Chiefs faced a fourth and goal from the two-yard line. They though about going for it but instead settled for Tynes second short field goal of the game. That made it a one possession game as the Chiefs trailed 21-13 with 12 minutes left in the fourth quarter.

Sproles took the kick-off all the way out to the 47-yard line. That put a lot of pressure on the Chiefs defense. They didn't respond as the Chargers quickly moved the ball down to the 34 yard line. They forced a third and four and Brees hit a wide open Antonio Gates who easily broke a tackle from Sammy Knight and he walked into the end zone giving the Chargers a 28-13 lead. Once again, the Chiefs defense did not double up on Gates nor get any pressure on Brees. For the afternoon, Brees threw for 324 yards and though he struggled in the second half, Gates bailed him with three scores.

The Chiefs got the ball back and drove all the way down to the Chiefs 2-yard line. But Johnson was stuffed for a one-yard loss and Green was sacked forcing fourth down. Once again the offensive line did a miserable job pass blocking and the drive stalled and the Chargers took over on downs. It's clear that this heralded offensive line didn't bring their ‘A' or even their ‘B' game today. The Chiefs were in the red zone six times on the afternoon and only scored two touchdowns and a pair of short field goals. The lines inability to pass block was the primary reason this offense misfired all afternoon. Tackles Jordan Black and Willie Roaf were beaten often in passing downs and Green had little time to throw the ball all afternoon.

Kansas City did find the end zone late in the game as Green hit Eddie Kennison for a 7-yard strike. Kennison led the Chiefs in receiving with 115 yards receiving and made some nifty catches that kept the Chiefs in the game. But it was too little too late for the Chiefs. Green found his stroke late in the game but did not make enough plays to put the ball in the end zone. Four times he failed to score touchdowns after getting inside the red zone, including twice with first and goal. Next week the Raiders come to Arrowhead riding a two game winning streak. Top Stories