ReFo: Chiefs @ Chargers, Week 7
This Week 7 AFC West matchup pitted the rolling San Diego Chargers against a Kansas City Chiefs team that was looking to rebound after a loss to the 49ers and a bye week had cooled their recent high.
The teams swapped leads in a close-fought contest before finding themselves tied at 20 in the final minutes. A last-effort drive from their own 8-yard line netted the Chiefs the game-winning field goal and an interception soon after sealed the deal.
Kansas City’s pounding run game and conservative passing plan was a stark difference to the aggressive air day San Diego proposed, making for an enjoyable mix that nearly came out even.
Kansas City Chiefs – Performances of Note
Anthony Sherman, FB: +2.9
Breakdown: Dedicated to the ground game, the Chiefs gave their fullback Sherman 16 snaps of run blocking opportunity — a facet of play that saw him top all fullbacks for the 2013 season — and he unsurprisingly came through for them with a strong effort and a +1.9 grade in that area. Despite seeing his snaps per game down from last season, Sherman is once again leading fullbacks with a +3.7 blocking grade on the year.
Signature Play: 4Q 15:00 Showing off his rumbling ability, Sherman took a screen pass at the 17-yard line, made a cut back to the center of the field and barreled his way to the end zone to give KC a fourth-quarter lead.
Phillip Gaines, CB: +2.7
Breakdown: After seeing just three snaps prior to this week, the rookie from Rice got his first start and produced a game to be proud of. Targeted five times, none of the balls his way were completed and he got his hands in to knock one away.
Signature Stat: Gaines was the only corner this week to give up no catches when targeted more than once.
Alex Smith, QB: +1.1 (passing)
Breakdown: Smith’s oscillating season continued on as he again followed a red grade with a green. A measured approach that isn’t unusual for him marked a unique footprint on his passing map as none of his 26 ‘aimed’ attempts (minus one throwaway and one batted pass) were tossed to the left or longer than 20 yards downfield.
Signature Play: 4Q 1:35 Converting a 2nd-and-15 on the game-winning drive, Smith evades pressure to find Dwayne Bowe down the middle and just past the markers.
San Diego Chargers – Performances of Note
Brandon Oliver, HB: +1.1
Breakdown: The first-year, fill-in runner logged his best rushing grade of the season (+1.6) in his second start. Forcing five missed tackles on run plays to bring his total to nine over two games, Oliver turned in 36 yards after contact on 15 attempts.
Signature Play: 4Q, 11:34 Met by a pair of would-be tacklers at the second level, Oliver spun out of the hit and churned ahead for the remaining yardage needed for a first down.
Ryan Carrethers, NT: +2.7 (run defense)
Breakdown: A third rookie to get mention here, Carrethers’ 13 defensive snaps bumped his season total to 44 but the rarely-used nosetackle made an impact in his limited duty this time. On the 10 run plays he saw, Carrethers collected four tackles and three stops, both figures among the week’s leaders for DTs/NTs.
Signature Play: 3Q, 4:48 Jumping inside left guard Mike McGlynn on a play going away, Carrethers cut off the runner Charles and dragged him down for a loss.
Philip Rivers, QB: +1.7 (passing)
Breakdown: Rivers posted his sixth straight green grade and didn’t settle for nibbles as a larger chunk of his throws were aimed more than 10 yards downfield (18) than short of that mark (11). On the 22 drop-backs where he faced no pressure, Rivers went 15-of-22 for 183 yards and a +2.6 grade. When he was pressured, though, he completed just two of nine attempts for 22 yards.
Signature Stat: Rivers’ nine deep attempts led all QBs this week and his three completions on those trailed only Tony Romo’s four.
PFF Game Ball
Reserving mention for Justin Houston here, the outside linebacker earned his fourth straight green grade as a pass rusher and pushed his total pressures count in those four games to 20 with a sack and four more hurries.