Already frustrated in efforts to upgrade the league's worst pass defense of a year ago, the Chiefs went to Qualcomm Stadium with this year's 29th-ranked pass defense and promptly gave up 324 passing yards and three touchdowns to Drew Brees and another 17 yards and one score to LaDainian Tomlinson.
Tight end Antonio Gates ripped through the Chiefs secondary as if his name was Tony Gonzalez. In catching a career-high 10 passes for 145 yards and three scores, Gates -- in only his third season -- had people asking if he hadn't already passed Gonzalez as the best tight end in football.
"I don't want to say that," Gates responded. "Tony has done it year after year. For me, I need to get to six Pro Bowls (as Gonzalez has done) in order for me to say that."
For the Chiefs, the point is that they seemed ill prepared to limit the Chargers, and they now may be in even worse shape after Patrick Surtain, the corner brought in to turn around the Chiefs secondary, went down in the second quarter of the San Diego game with a sprained knee.
Later in the same game, fellow corner Eric Warfield was slowed briefly by a hip pointer, though he continued to play. And the Chiefs, remember, played the game with injured regular Dexter McCleon on the inactive list with a groin strain.
The offense took a beating, too, when Priest Holmes went down in the third quarter with a mild concussion. At least that blow to the head was not believed to be serious.
Trent Green, after being held to only 35 yards in the first half, completed 24 of 31 second-half passes for 312 of his 347 total yards in trying to rally Kansas City from a 21-3 first-half deficit. But the rally fell short in a 28-20 loss.
But the Chiefs got only a field goal after a drive to the Chargers 3, lost the ball on a fumble after an advance to the 13 and failed on downs after moving to the 2 later in the second half. They finally closed to the final 8-point margin with 2:12 remaining, but couldn't get the ball back with anything significant time left on the clock.
QB Trent Green played in San Diego through the emotional drain of having lost his 58-year-old father to a sudden heart attack just three days earlier.
"I thought about him all day," Green said. "It was difficult waking up knowing he wasn't going to be getting ready to watch the game." But after spending time with his mother and other family, Green said it was clear to his family that his father would have wanted him to play."
TE Tony Gonzalez, frustrated after being held without a catch in the first half, ended with his best day of the season, a seven-catch, 97-yard day that saw Gonzalez catch his first touchdown pass of the year.
WR Eddie Kennison had his third 100-yard day of the year with a seven-catch, 115-yard day that included KC's final touchdown with 2:12 remaining in an eight-point game.
WR/KR Dante Hall came within one man of breaking a punt return for a touchdown against San Diego. As it was he went 52 yards.
Chargers Loss Cold Be Costly for Chiefs
WarpaintIllustrated.com Top Stories
Wackiest moments from 2017 Pro BowlThe 2017 Pro Bowl was filled with the NFL's best, and also included some memorable and enjoyable moments.
Scout NFL Network01/30/2017
LISTEN: Which AFC West Teams Have Improved?Chad Jensen and Luc Polglaze take a sweeping look around the AFC West to determine which teams improved through free agency. Which teams will the Denver Broncos have to look out…
Mile High HuddleMonday at 7:50 PM
Steelers Sign Pair of Free AgentsThe Steelers have signed a kickoff return specialist and a veteran cornerback in free agency.
Steel City InsiderMonday at 12:01 PM
Cowboys Sign No. 2 QB Candidate Kellen MooreThe Dallas Cowboys have a major decision to make on one 'backup' QB in Tony Romo. In the meantime, they've made a decision on Kellen Moore that could end up being 'major' behind…
CowboysHQMonday at 11:05 AM