Nuge's Nuggets - Chiefs vs. Chargers

The #27 jersey tells the entire story. It's covered in grass stains, paint and blood. Chiefs running back Larry Johnson, the man wearing that jersey, slumps forward in his chair, unable to move. The jersey speaks of frustrations and missed opportunities, and the eventual demise of the Chiefs playoff hopes.

It tells of losing starting quarterback Trent Green in the first game of the season, against the Cincinnati Bengals, of losing a painful overtime game to the Denver Broncos. The jersey speaks of a blowout loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers, and an inexplicable loss to the lowly Cleveland Browns.

In the end, it tells the story of a team that clawed and scraped its way as best it could, but in the end, just couldn't get it done.

With a field goal, the San Diego Chargers sent the Chiefs to the mat with a 20-9 loss in Qualcomm Stadium. If there was any doubt the Chiefs were going to spend January at home, the Chargers ended any realistic hopes of the Chiefs being invited to the post season dance.

A team can overcome only so many missed opportunities, but at least the Chiefs kept up the fight. In the end, the Chiefs didn't quit, they just couldn't finish it out. This is an incomplete team, a work in progress. There's two games left. The Chiefs can still lay the foundation for next season, but there will be no playoffs this year.

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Speaking of Larry Johnson, his post games quotes were pretty interesting:

"When you do the same thing, people catch on to it, especially being a good defense like that and playing them twice a year," said Johnson. "All you can do is play your part as best you can and try to help out."

That sounds like a man who isn't very happy with the play calling. This may be a fun week at Arrowhead. Johnson appeared to struggle in pass protection at first, but got better as the game wore on. LJ had a decent day running the ball, but offensive coordinator Mike Solari got away from him in the second half, despite the amount of time left on the clock.

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One of our readers asked if the staff could be more positive. Here goes: the Chiefs held Chargers running back LaDanian Tomlinson under 200 yards.

Seriously, you have to be excited about the play of the two young safeties, Jarrad Page and Bernard Pollard. You definitely have to be excited about Derrick Johnson. Looking to next year, all the Chiefs may be missing is that stud defensive tackle to be a top 10 defense.

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Players that should get some time looking to next year:

Jeff Webb: The Chiefs are going to have to make some tough decisions at the wide receiver position this offseason, but first they've got to see what they can get from Webb. Rod Gardner and possibly one of the other guys we're used to seeing around will be gone.

Keyaron Fox: Same deal at the linebacker position. It's almost a certainty that Fox will penciled in as the WLB starter next season, and Edwards has already indicated that he'll be getting more time, so pay attention.

Bernard Pollard: We all know about Jarrad Page, but Pollard's working his way onto the field. He's making a big play or two a week on special teams, which makes it hard not to give him opportunities on defense. The Chiefs will likely have two new starters at safety next year, and they're getting the jump now.

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