KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The best thing that can be said for the Chiefs 21-3 halftime deficit to the San Diego Chargers — it could be a whole lot worse.
The Chargers dominating the first half, controlling the clock, the ball and outplaying the Chiefs at every turn.
Everything appeared to start well for the Chiefs, who after a promising first drive settled for a 47-yard field goal. After that, it was all Chargers. Philip Rivers led a balance attack for which the Chiefs have yet to find a solution.
The only spark of excitement came near the end of the first half when Marcus Peters tackled Keenan Allen after an eight-yard gain and Allen lost his helmet.
Rivers then approached Peters and the two appeared to exchange words. Peters shoved Rivers, and a brief skirmish broke out between the teams. The officials did not call a penalty on the play.
Chargers wide receiver Keenan Allen left the game on a cart with apparent knee injury late in the first half. He will not return in the second half.
STOP THE RUN
Chargers running backs Melvin Gordon and Danny Woodhead had their run of the playground in the first half. The Chargers rushed for 68 yards and two touchdowns, with many of the yards coming after first contact.
The ability of the Chargers to run at will looked eerily reminiscent of the struggles the Chiefs had against Seattle and Los Angeles in the first two preseason games against the first-team defense. The defense appeared to right the ship as both games and the preseason wore on, but there are no reserves coming in to save the day.
KEEP ALEX SMITH CLEAN
Smith faced too much pressure in the first half. The Chargers sacked Smith twice, and a third near sack results in a one-yard game. The Bolts also have two quarterback hurries. The offensive line provided Smith with little time to work after the first drive.
If the Chiefs mount a comeback, they have to go to the air, and that means protecting Smith to give him time to throw. Smith finished the first half 9 of 15 passing for 94 yards with 28 of those coming on the last drive that led to no points.
WIN THIRD DOWN
Third down was a bad down on both sides of the ball for the Chiefs in the first half. The offense converted just one out of six third-down attempts. The defense conversely allowed the Chargers success on six of their third downs.
Even given the Chiefs’ offensive woes, they could have stemmed the tide bye slowing down the Chargers on third down.
The loss of Allen late in the first half slowed the Chargers on their final drive. His absence in the second half could be a blow to the Chargers offense.
Matt Derrick is the lead beat writer for ChiefsDigest.com and the Topeka Capital-Journal. Use the contact page to reach him or find him on Twitter: @MattDerrick.