Of course, I can't blame that entirely on the Chiefs. The Chargers are one of the best teams in the NFL, and managed to stay in the game despite turning the ball over three times in a hostile stadium.
The Chiefs put themselves in a fantastic spot with today's win. If I told you at the beginning of the year that after six games:
• Trent Green would go down for an extended period.
• Larry Johnson would average 3.7 yards a carry, and average less than 100 yards a game.
• Jordan Black and Kevin Sampson would be the starting tackles.
• The Chiefs would struggle in the Red Zone.
What would you have said their record would be? 2-4?
Even with the loss to the Steelers last week, the Chiefs have to be happy with where they are at this point. The Denver game would be nice to have back; the Chiefs would be leading the division despite all of their issues. For now they'll have to settle for being two games behind Denver with a 1-1 record in the division. Kansas City's in position, but there's still a ways to go to make the playoffs.
Larry Johnson got back on track, to the tune of 132 yards and two touchdowns. The Chiefs definitely had some success, but don't even start to think the running game is back. These guys have still have issues. There still aren't any lanes on perimeter runs, and LJ is being forced to break tackles around or behind the line of scrimmage. The Chiefs can't consistently control the line of scrimmage, but at least today was an improvement. If Welbourn can make it back soon, they'll be able to gain SOME consistency in the running game.
With Ronnie Cruz out, tight end Kris Wilson was able to do his thing as an h-back. Except for a couple of blips, including a false-start penalty before the game-winning kick, he had a terrific day. Wilson finished the day with two catches for 13 yards, including one for a wide-open touchdown, giving the Chiefs their first score of the day, and Wilson the first of his career.
"I was confident," said Wilson. "I've been preparing for this day. it's not like I hadn't taken any reps at fullback in practice in the offseason, in training camp and during the season. I was confident I could get the job done."
Wilson found his way into the endzone after a great fake by Damon Huard. He slid out to the back of the endzone and Huard hit him with a nice pass over the defender.
"I got out there and found myself a little open, and I was hoping that Damon could find me, and Damon found me," said Wilson. "He put the ball up perfect, and I came down with it."
When I asked Wilson about the false-start penalty, he had a different take on what happened on the field, and actually, he was right. That play was crucial because it could have cost the Chiefs the game.
"I was disappointed, because they blew that call," said Wilson. "I was drawn offsides, and that's illegal. They should have called it on the defender, but they called it on me and they blew that call."
It might have gone unnoticed, but the Chiefs gave rookie safety Jarrad Page the task of stopping Chargers tight end Antonio Gates in the second half. At the end of the first half, Gates had 6 catches for 51 yards, but Page helped contain Gates to three catches and 12 yards the rest of the day.
"We had discussed earlier in the week that we wanted me to be the matchup on Gates," said Page. "I'm a little bit bigger than a corner, but they felt my coverage skills were good enough to stay with him. He's like a big wide receiver. He's quick off the line and he can go get the ball."
I don't know if it's more impressive that a rookie safety was so effective against Gates, or that the Chiefs had the faith in him to do it.
Nuge's Nuggets: Chiefs Suck It Up
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