November 22 2015: Kansas City Chiefs 33 – San Diego Chargers 3
Another season of Chiefs football is in store for us, and once again I’ll be looking back at some match-ups from the past with each of our weekly rivals.
As the team starts the post-Alex Smith era, I’ll look back just 3 years to a point where our QB was in full command of his offence. The visit to Qualcomm Stadium was a happy return for him – born close to San Diego, he had led Helix High School to consecutive city championships in his teens.
The Chiefs were fresh from a wonderful road trip to Denver, where they had ruined Peyton Manning’s day with 4 picks in a 29-13 win – while the Chargers were in terrible form, having lost five on the spin, and were hoping a bye week might have given them a fresh perspective.
The game started unusually, with a completely unexpected opening score of the game. Both sides punted on their first drives, but the Chiefs then got things together and reached the Chargers 1 yard line. Charcandrick West took the hand-off at 3rd and 1 but made no progress. So, for the 4th down, coach Andy Reid sent out Dontari Poe, 346 pound nose tackle, to have a try. Poe crushed his way through to become the heaviest player to ever score a rushing touchdown!
After Poe’s score, the teams traded field goals. Josh Lambo hit one for San Diego, while Cairo Santos kicked two for KC. This gave the Chiefs a 12-3 lead at the half; a nice position to be in, but the game far from won yet.
The strong Chiefs defence came to the fore in the 3rd quarter, putting constant pressure on Philip Rivers. In the Chargers’ first drive of the quarter, he was sacked by Tamba Hali and the team had to punt away. In the Chargers’ second drive of the quarter, he was… sacked again by Tamba Hali and the team once again had to punt away. By now seeing ghosts, in the Chargers’ third drive, pinned close to his own line, Rivers threw towards Danny Woodhead but the pass was picked off by Justin Houston, who was able to stroll home to put the Chiefs 19-3 up.
By this point in the game, Chiefs running duties had passed from Charcandrick West to Spencer Ware, who had opened his NFL scoring account earlier in the month in the win over the Detroit Lions at Wembley. Ware ripped off a great 50 yard rush to open a 4th quarter drive, and five plays later applied the finishing touch from 3 yards out.
There was still time to repeat the trick – on Kansas City’s next drive, their last of the game, Ware once again opened the drive with a long rush, and once again finished the job from 3 yards. The extra points from Santos brought the final score up to a crushing 33 points to 3.
The Chiefs kept up their winning ways, going unbeaten for the rest of the regular season, reaching the playoffs, and winning their first post-season game for over 20 years. The Patriots proved to be one hurdle too many, but this was still a season packed with high points.
Elsewhere in the NFL at the time:
Fans in Phoenix saw a thriller. The Bengals led at half time thanks to a Jeremy Hill TD, but then Carson Palmer turned on the style in the 3rd quarter with three passing touchdowns to give the Cardinals a comfortable lead.
Cincinnati then hit 10 unanswered points to tie the game with a minute to go – but that left enough time for Arizona to march back into field goal range to seal a 34-31 win.
Elsewhere in the world:
In other sporting news, this month saw the sad death of Jonah Lomu at the age of 40. He burst onto the scene in the Rugby Union World Cup of 1995, running riot with 7 tries and several dominant performances – which he then topped with 8 more tries in the following World Cup in 1999.