KC-SD grades: Alex Smith earns season-high grade in win

Highest-graded players top takeaways from the Chiefs' Week 17 win over the Chargers.

| 5 months ago
Alex Smith

(Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)

KC-SD grades: Alex Smith earns season-high grade in win

Kansas City Chiefs 37, San Diego Chargers 27

Here are the top-graded players and biggest storylines from Kansas City’s 37-27 win over San Diego.

Kansas City Chiefs

Quarterback grade: Alex Smith, 89.7

Smith’s accuracy boosts Chiefs’ offense

While Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith attempted just five passes traveling 10 yards or further downfield, he was still able to make a huge impact. Of the seven incompletions thrown by Smith against San Diego, two were throwaways, and three were dropped. He was at his best when kept clean by the Chiefs’ offensive line, completing 81.8 percent of his passes compared with 50.0 percent when pressure got to him. With Kansas City winning the AFC West and claiming a first-round bye in the playoffs, Smith coming off his best game of the year should have fans feeling confident.

Smith passing chart

Top offensive grades:

QB Alex Smith, 89.7

HB Charcandrick West, 81.8

C Mitch Morse, 79.5

WR Jeremy Maclin, 77.3

G Laurent Duvernay-Tardif, 77.2

Tyreek Hill once again provides the excitement

As the Chiefs’ best playmaker, both on offense and special teams, Tyreek Hill has continued to make huge plays for the Chiefs late in the season, showcasing his incredible speed on a weekly basis. As a receiver, he had 46 yards this week, with another 15 yards added as a runner, but scored on an electric 95-yard punt return that effectively put the game out of reach in the second half. Hill has now forced 19 missed tackles on 76 offensive touches this year, and is a threat to go the distance every time he touches the ball.

Top defensive grades:

CB Marcus Peters, 93.3

LB Ramik Wilson, 84.7

CB Steven Nelson, 80.8

DI Jarvis Jenkins, 72.6

DI T.J. Barnes, 72.4

Elite game from CB Marcus Peters sets tone for solid defensive day

While the Chargers scored 27 points (seven of them off a pick-six) they weren’t all that successful on offense. They can blame Marcus Peters for a fair bit of that. He completely shut down whoever he was covering, seeing five targets and allowing just two catches for 8 yards while intercepting a pass. Peters also had some help in coverage from linebacker Ramik Wilson, who surrendered just three catches for 46 yards and a pass breakup. They bent a few times, but the Chiefs’ defense rarely broke and helped carry the team to victory.

San Diego Chargers

Quarterback grade: Philip Rivers, 42.5

Rivers’ struggles too much for Chargers to overcome in loss

It was a tough day for Rivers, and most of it was done without being under any pressure. He dropped back 39 times and was under pressure just six times. But he averaged just 7.8 yards per attempt when he wasn’t under pressure and threw both interceptions. He rarely looked deep, throwing just two passes beyond 20 yards downfield and completing zero of them while throwing an interception. He was missing his receivers and forcing bad throws, and just couldn’t do enough to carry San Diego to victory.

Philip Rivers vs pressure

Top offensive grades:

TE Hunter Henry, 86.7

T Joe Barksdale, 81.7

G D.J. Fluker, 80.6

T Chris Hairston, 79.6

C Matt Slauson, 75.5

Surprisingly strong game from offensive line still not enough to win

It’s no secret that the Chargers have had their fair share of offensive line struggles in the past. But there was none of that this game, as they allowed no sacks and just two hits and three hurries over 39 dropbacks. They also blocked well for a run game that gained 129 yards on 26 carries. Another bright spot for the offense was rookie Hunter Henry. He only caught four passes for 43 yards and a touchdown, but they were all very important catches, including one ridiculous one-hander on a bad throw by Rivers early in the game.

Top defensive grades:

ED Joey Bosa, 87.9

S Jahleel Addae, 82.7

ED Melvin Ingram, 78.1

LB Jatavis Brown, 69.1

S Adrian Phillips, 69.0

Bosa finishes the year with dominant showing

After holding out and missing the first four games of the year, Chargers edge defender Joey Bosa gave the fans and organization plenty to be excited about when he finally got onto the field. Excellent both against the run and as a pass-rusher, this was true in the final game of the year, too. He racked up a sack and five hurries from just 31 pass-rushing attempts against the Chiefs, and added four tackles resulting in a defensive stop, producing a pass-rushing productivity mark of 15.8 and a run-stop percentage of 16.0.

PFF Game-Ball Winner: Marcus Peters, CB, Chiefs

PFF’s player grading process includes multiple reviews, which may change the grade initially published in order to increase its accuracy. Learn more about how we grade and access grades for every player through each week of the NFL season by subscribing to Player Grades.

| Analyst

Bryson has been an analyst at Pro Football Focus since 2014, and has also been a contributor to 120 Sports.

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