Chiefs Defense Stands Tall 4x


It’s the Christmas Season. Rarely in life will your competitive rival provide you a gift, much less a win. That is exactly what the L.A. Chargers did last night. They passed up not one, not two, but THREE opportunities to kick field goals. The Chiefs defense had to do their part as well though. In fact, if they hadn’t there would not have been an overtime. They forced the Chargers to turn the ball over on downs during fourth and goal and they did it on two occasions. The third fourth down stop occurred on their own 28-yard line. Had the Chargers kicked and made all three potential field goals, there would have been no overtime. The Chiefs and Chargers would be even steven at 9-5.

As the Thursday Night kicked off, it looked like it was going to be a home team night as Andre Roberts ran the kickoff back 75 yards causing Sofi Stadium to go wild. The Chargers drove to the Chief’s 5-yard line. Yet, on fourth and five, the Chargers opted go for it instead of kicking the easy three points. Not only did the Chargers come away with nothing, but they also lost reliable Donald Parham Jr. to a devastating injury. As of the end of the broadcast, he was reported to be in stable condition at a local hospital.


The Chiefs promptly turned around and drove 95 yards for a touchdown. Small wonder Chargers Head Coach Brandon Staley wanted to go for seven instead of three. A few plays later the Chiefs defense snag an interception which the offense turned into three points. Then the Chargers woke up. They put together a 75-yard touchdown drive mixing the pass and the run in a beautifully orchestrated drama of play calling. Then the Chiefs offense began to sputter. They went three and out on their next drive which was followed by another Chargers touchdown drive. Then Joey Bosa sacked Patrick Mahomes forcing him to fumble the ball away. The Chargers took the opportunity to drive 44 yards in nine plays but came up with no points. Once again, Coach Stokely opted to go for it on fourth and goal. In that circumstance it’s the right call. The Chargers were on the 1-yard line. Surely, they can get one measly yard! Nope! The Chiefs defense stood tall once again.

The Chiefs receive the ball to start the second half and marched down the field to kick another field goal. The Chargers then drove down the field to the Chiefs 28-yard line wherein they turned the ball over on downs for a third time. This decision was perhaps the most puzzling of the three as the Chargers were sitting at fourth and two on the Chiefs 28-yard line. Logic dictates that you kick the field goal. Up until this point the game has been close. The Chargers attempted to shorten the game by running the ball. They were effective. They ended up with 192 yards rushing on 39 carries. Yet, at this point in the game they had already missed two opportunities to kick field goals and points looked to be coming at a premium. Coach Stokely was thinking something different. He apparently was thinking in terms of what Patrick Mahomes capabilities were. He was right to be concerned. The sleeping giant was about to be awakened…but not quite yet. After the Chiefs defense turned the ball over on downs to their offense, the Chiefs decided to play copycat and opt to go for it on fourth and goal with two yards to go for a touchdown. The Chargers denied the Chiefs their touchdown.

The Chargers turned around and drive the ball 97 yards only to fumble it away on the Chief’s goal line! The Chiefs had already driven 95 yards for a score, what’s another 97. Yet, Mahomes was sputtering. He was not playing his best ball in the second half. He was throwing balls into the dirt. He was missing wide open receivers. His fundamentals were non-existent. So, a big mistake was bound to happen and it did. Mahomes threw an interception, having only traveled the Chief’s offense 7 yards. The sleeping giant was still dormant. It was easy money for the Chargers to turn the Chiefs mistake into a touchdown.

The Fourth quarter is where things began to get interesting. A total of 29 points was scored between the two clubs. Mahomes finally woke up and was throwing lasers all over the field. Then, when the Chief’s defense needed to get a stop at the end of the game, they did. Coach Reid and Mahomes left a minute and sixteen seconds on the clock after they tied the game at 28-28. That is more than enough time for Justin Herbert to drive the Chargers to field goal range to kick the winning field goal. The Chief’s defense stood tall one more time. They stood tall on two fourth and goals and a fourth and 2 on their own 28. Now they had to prevent the Chargers offense from driving into field goal range. They succeeded and really the rest is history. The Chiefs head into overtime, receive the ball, drove the field and score in five plays.

I want to go back in time for just a moment. As the Chargers began their last drive, I wondered if Justin Herbert could pull it off. Up until this point the Chargers played a balanced game, leaning heavily on the run game. They had passed it 33 times and ran it 39 times. That told me that with a minute and 16 seconds left, and only two timeouts, Herbert would have to win the game on his arm. Coach Spagnuolo and the Chiefs defense knew it to. They were quite sure there would be no running back gashing their interior defensive line, and they were right. The Chargers moved the ball 14 yards on the strength of Herbert’s arm. After being penalized 5 yards, the Chargers failed to move the ball the 15 yards needed for another first down. The Chiefs defense stood tall one last time.

The Chiefs offense is peppered with stars. They had to show up and show out. Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce put on a highlight reel of amazing catches as well as run after catches. Kelce caught 10 balls for 191 and two touchdowns while Hill caught 12 balls for 148 yards and a touchdown. But the real heroes of the game were the Chief’s defense. Patrick Mahomes was eventually going to wake up. He always does. Yet, the defense deserves the game ball. Brandon Stokely went for it on fourth down three times. They stood tall to push the game into overtime. Every single time the Chief’s defense answered the mail. Then they had to defend one minute and 16 seconds at the end of the game. They answered the mail without Chris Jones. They answered the mail without L’Jarious Sneed. They answered the call of champions and came out victorious on Thursday Night Football.

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