Chargers Have Huge Opportunity To Assert Dominance Over Chiefs

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Quarterback Justin Herbert #10 of the Los Angeles Chargers directs his team at the line during the fourth quarter in the game against the Dallas Cowboys at SoFi Stadium on September 19, 2021 in Inglewood, California.
(Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

 

The Los Angeles Chargers put the league on notice after defeating the Washington Football Team on the road to open the new NFL season.

Washington had roughly the same roster from last year, which won the NFC East and made the playoffs.

They gave the eventual champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers a tough time during their Wild Card encounter with Taylor Heinicke under center.

Fast forward to 2021, and Heinicke took over Ryan Fitzpatrick, who went out of the game due to a hip injury.

The change did not bother Los Angeles as they scored the only points in the fourth quarter courtesy of Justin Herbert’s pass to Mike Williams.

Herbert picked up from his impressive rookie season by finishing with 31 completions for 337 yards.

Likewise, the victory also made Brandon Staley the first Chargers head coach to win his debut since Norv Turner in 2007.

Herbert continued his hot streak in Week 2 against the Dallas Cowboys by completing 31 passes for 338 yards and a touchdown.

Last year’s Offensive Rookie of the Year has a touchdown pass in 16 of his first 17 career starts, which breaks a record set in 1950.

Unfortunately, Greg Zuerlein converted a 56-yard field goal with four seconds left to give Dallas a 20-17 victory.

However, Herbert continues to set records after that bitter defeat.

The former Oregon standout became the second quarterback in NFL history to have over 5,000 passing yards in his first 17 games.

He also tied Dan Marino and one other quarterback with 10 300-yard passing games in his first two seasons.

The unnamed quarterback in both nuggets of trivia is Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes.

Ironically, they will add another chapter to their epic intra-division clash in Week 3.

 

Will Lightning Strike Down The Chiefs?

Mahomes suffered his first-ever September NFL defeat when they fell to the Baltimore Ravens, 36-35.

It looked like the Chiefs were on the verge of another game-winning drive until Clyde Edwards-Helaire fumbled the ball.

Baltimore recovered possession, and a critical fourth-down conversion sealed Lamar Jackson’s first NFL victory over the Super Bowl LIV MVP.

But a deeper dive into the numbers reveals that the Chiefs defense has concerns.

They gave two playoff teams from 2020, Cleveland and Baltimore, 29 and 36 points, respectively.

That 32.5 points allowed per game puts the Chiefs at 29th in the league.

Meanwhile, they are also giving up an NFL-worst 202 rushing yards per game.

Chargers running back Austin Ekeler might be salivating upon hearing that statistic.

Kansas City’s pass defense does not look positive either because they give up 267 per match, which is the 13th worst after two games.

In contrast, Herbert leads the fourth-best passing team with 323.5 yards per outing.

Therefore, the Chargers will have a field day in finding the soft spots in the Chiefs defense.

However, they must convert their drives because they are averaging just 18.5 points per game.

That’s a far cry from the 34 points per outing that the Chiefs generate.

In that case, the Chargers defense must also deliver a superb effort to neutralize Kansas City’s high-powered offense.

They have some bright spots in Joey Bosa, Derwin James, and Asante Samuel Jr., who got his first NFL pick against Dallas.

Slowing down Mahomes and company will be a tall order.

But they must do so to prevent the game from turning into a shootout that often works to the Chiefs’ favor.



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