KC-SD Grades: Defense dominates as Chiefs rout Chargers

The top takeaways and highest-graded players from the Chiefs’ 33-3 win over the Chargers.

| 11 months ago
(AP Photo/Ed Zurga)

(AP Photo/Ed Zurga)

KC-SD Grades: Defense dominates as Chiefs rout Chargers

Here are the top takeaways and highest-graded players from the Chiefs’ 33-3 win over the Chargers.

Kansas City Chiefs:

– Kansas City’s defensive front seven completely suffocated San Diego’s rushing attack, allowing 52 total rushing yards at 2.1 yards per carry. All of the Chiefs starters in the front seven earned positive grades for run defense, led by ILB Derrick Johnson (+3.4 run defense grade, four stops). OLB Tamba Hali earned season-best grades in both run defense (+2.0) and pass rushing (+5.0, 7 total pressures), and NT Dontari Poe’s +2.7 run defense grade was his best of the year. The Chiefs defense has been the strength of their team this season, and currently rank second in our cumulative team run defense grading and third in overall team defense.

– QB Alex Smith (+1.7) earned a green grade for the third time in his past four games with an efficient performance. As usual, most of his passes were underneath, but he finished 4 of 7 for 85 yards on passes thrown 10+ yards in the air. RT Jah Reid was the weak link in pass protection, allowing 5 total pressures. Reid has now started 5 games this season, and earned red grades in pass protection in all of them.

– The Chiefs’ rushing offense was extremely ineffective before HB Spencer Ware’s 52-yard run in the fourth quarter. Starter Charcandrick West (-0.5) finished with just 16 yards on his 11 carries, but did not get much help from the blocking in front of him. West forced 3 missed tackles, and 14 of his rushing yards came after contact. LT Eric Fisher and TE Travis Kelce each earned red grades for run blocking. Ware forced six missed tackles on his 11 carries, although most of his work came with the game already out of reach.

Top performers:

ROLB Tamba Hali (+7.2)
ILB Derrick Johnson (+5.8)
LOLB Justin Houston (+2.2)
QB Alex Smith (+1.7)
SS Eric Berry (+1.6)

San Diego Chargers

– San Diego’s offensive line has been an issue all season, and while injuries have been a factor, the Chargers started four of the five offensive linemen from their opening day lineup in this game. The Chargers finished with a -11.8 team run blocking grade, and were dominated by Kansas City’s defensive front. LT King Dunlap also earned a season-worst -3.2 pass blocking grade after allowing a pair of sacks and being flagged for holding before being replaced by Chris Hairston.

– QB Philip Rivers (-0.8) had a heavy burden in this game. Injuries have decimated his receiving core, and the running game was non-existent. Rivers was pressured on 15 of his 36 dropbacks, and had trouble pushing the ball downfield (2 of 8 for 44 yards on passes thrown 10+ yards). 2015 has been a frustrating season for Rivers, and unfortunately it does not look like things will be improving in the near future.

– The Chargers have our lowest-graded defense in 2015, but OLBs Melvin Ingram and Jerry Attaochu have formed a solid tandem this season. Both players finished with five run stops in this game, and Attaochu added five pressures as a pass rusher. CB Jason Verrett and Attaochu were San Diego’s first two picks in the 2014 draft, and have been two of the team’s most consistent defensive players this season, giving the Chargers some building blocks to work with as they look to upgrade their defense in the offseason.

Top performers:

LOLB Jerry Attaochu (+2.9)
ILB Denzel Perryman (+2.3)
ROLB Melvin Ingram (+2.2)
ILB Joe Mays (+1.7)
CB Jason Verrett (+1.4)

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