Posted Tue Sep 14th by Monty
As Week One in the NFL came to a close, it’s the Kansas City Chiefs — owners of a combined 10-38 record over the past three seasons — who stood alone atop the AFC West.
They arrived there in dramatic fashion.
Four stops inside the six-yard line with less than a minute to play sealed the Chiefs’ 21-14 win over the San Diego Chargers Monday night, highlighted by Jamaal Charles‘ 56-yard touchdown run and Dexter McCluster‘s franchise record 94-yard punt return.
As Philip Rivers drove his Chargers to what looked to be the game-tying touchdown, one got the sense that this was the same old Chiefs team collapsing in the last minute. But Kansas City held its ground, turning the early tide in this 2010 division race.
What We Learned
- The Chiefs’ return game is for real — Rookies Dexter McCluster and Javier Arenas were electric in return duties, with McCluster executing the coup de gras with a 94-yard punt return in the first half. The Broncos’ struggles in coverage against Jacksonville Sunday were easily one of the largest contributing factors to their 24-17 loss; they need to shore that up if they hope to compete against Kansas City’s special special teams.
- Matt Cassel is not — If the Chiefs have one Achilles Heel, it’s their quarterback, and they seem to know it. Cassel went 10 of 22 for 68 yards, and he had very little to do with any of Kansas City’s three touchdowns.
- The Chargers stink in September — again — Let’s not write off San Diego just yet. They’re inexplicably built to struggle in September, excel through December, then collapse in January. And it wasn’t 12 months ago that Eddie Royal was returning two touchdowns against the Chargers on a Monday night; maybe the Chiefs aren’t all that special, and the Chargers have yet to “flip the switch.”
The Chiefs surprised the Chargers and the NFL world Monday, and the Broncos can’t afford to write them off. If we assume the Chargers will turn up the heat at some point this season, it’s imperative Denver doesn’t let the division get away from them. They need to start their winning ways in Week Two against Seattle, lest they find themselves on the outside looking in on a two-team AFC West race.