Thursday night football has become synonymous with mediocre television. For some reason, most TNF matchups seem to involve two uninteresting teams in a game that means absolutely nothing. Not tonight, though. Tonight there is a game between two highly talented clubs with entertaining quarterbacks and a chance to win the division title up for grabs. It’s a must for both teams, and that probably means we’ll have a very slow and low-scoring game.
Despite both teams averaging 27 points per game of the season – tied for eighth place in the NFL, and with two of the most exciting quarterbacks to watch, this game is about to come down to who can hold the ball the longest.
Both the Chargers and the Chiefs are in last place in the NFL in yards per transport allowed. In fact, the Chargers have conceded at least 150 yards on the run and / or more touchdowns on the run over half of their games this season. In their first fight, the Chiefs recorded 186 yards on the ground and walked away defeated anyway. Meanwhile, the Chargers recorded just 77 yards on 22 carries and still earned 30 points. This time around, however, Los Angeles won’t have the privilege of relying on its young quarterback star.
Chiefs head coach Andy Reid is renowned for his ability to create flawless game plans when given enough time. It’s like the football version of Batman, but with a much nicer mustache. Reid is 27-6 when his teams leave the scene – 20-3 in the regular season, 7-3 in the playoffs. He is 7-1 after a bye with Patrick Mahomes as the quarterback. While he’s not leaving this week, he’ll be seeing the Chargers for a second time this year after taking a loss in their first fight, and revenge is on Reid’s mind.
Over the past five years, whenever the Chiefs have lost to a division opponent or won in a close match (possession) during their first fight of the year, the Chiefs have returned to game number two and forced their opponents to play a whole new style of football. In 2016, after an overtime win in Week 1 against the Chargers – when Phillip Rivers completed 70 percent of his passes, the Chiefs defense failed to force any turnover and Melvin Gordon threw the ball for two goals – the two teams met again at the very end of the season. Rivers only completed 57.9% of his passes. The Chargers committed two turnovers and failed to score once on the ground. The Chiefs led by three possessions at the start of the fourth quarter. That same year, after a narrow overtime win over the Denver Broncos in week 12, the Chiefs dominated their 33-10 Mile High opponents just four weeks later.
In 2017, Kansas City lost to the Raiders 31-30 in their first fight. Derek Carr threw for three touchdowns and zero interceptions. He was not fired once. In their second fight, the Chiefs won by forcing Carr to two interceptions and bringing him down three times, tied for the third highest sack of the season.
In 2018, the Denver Broncos forced Patrick Mahomes to have the worst game of his season to date, recording only one touchdown and only 6.6 yards net per pass attempt, his lowest score of the season in that game. over a yard. Four weeks later, Mahomes pitched for four touchdowns.
I could go further, but I think you get the point. Reid is Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution coming to life, because very few people are better at adapting.
One way the bosses could force Herbert and the Chargers into bad situations would be to check the clock. Possession time dominance forces you to make hasty decisions and call the game, something most sophomores tend to struggle with. Hasty decisions lead to turnover. Turnover leads to points. Points lead to victories. Chargers allow for the second plus yards per run attempt in the NFL. Expect a hefty dose of CEH and Darrell Williams in an effort to keep Herbert, Allen, Ekeler and Williams on the sidelines.
Everything I’ve said probably sounds like I expect the Chiefs to walk away with an easy win, but that’s not the case. We haven’t yet seen how head coach Brandon Staley can adapt when he sees a team for the second time in a season. Maybe he’ll be good or even better than Andy Reid. The Chargers have the knack to keep up with the Chiefs, even as this Chiefs team has been reborn during the current six-game streak. Despite playing twice in the top-10 three times during their winning streak, they’ve kept each of their opponents under 20 points. With such a hot defense, it will take a great game plan to come out on top.
It should be a very good result, although it should be a much lower score than we think.