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Chiefs beat Chargers 21 - 14

Posted Sep 13, 2010

GOAL-LINE STAND PRESERVES VICTORY AT NEW ARROWHEAD

An electrified crowd of 71,297 christened the grand opening of the New Arrowhead as the Chiefs downed the Chargers 21-14 on ESPN’s Monday Night Football in the final game of Kickoff Weekend. It came down to fourth-and-goal from the four-yard line as San Diego QB Philip Rivers took the snap out of the shotgun looking to tie the game. Rivers scrambled in the backfield looking for an open body, but pressure from the Chiefs defensive line forced an incomplete pass, turning the ball over on downs and sealing the Chiefs first win at the New Arrowhead Stadium. The Chiefs victory over the Chargers snapped San Diego’s 11-game regular season winning streak and puts the Chiefs at the top of the AFC West.

 

All three phases of football began clicking tonight for the Chiefs as big plays were made on offense, defense and special teams. WR Dexter McCluster broke free with a 94-yard punt return in the second quarter, marking the longest punt return in Chiefs history, giving the Chiefs a 21-7 lead heading into halftime. TE Tony Moeaki caught a two-yard TD pass from Cassel capitalizing on a San Diego fumble in the second quarter. RB Jamaal Charles put the Chiefs on the scoreboard with a 56-yard TD run in the opening quarter, tying his career-long rushing TD.

Kansas City was first to touch the ball but a three an out forced an early punt giving the Chargers the ball at their own 28-yard line. Chargers QB Philip Rivers put San Diego in motion with two double-digit completions of 15 and then 11 yards moving the Chargers into Chiefs territory. Kansas City’s defense tightened. On third and seven from the Chiefs 28-yard line, Rivers’ pass was caught, but a jarring hit from Ss Jon McGraw and Kendrick Lewis forced an incompletion and a Chargers punt.

The Chiefs offense took over at its own 20-yard line, but was unable to find rhythm. After three plays, Chiefs P Dustin Colquitt came on for his second punt of the contest. Rivers then found TE Antonio Gates on a short pass up the middle. Gates took the ball down to Kansas City’s five-yard line. Two plays later Rivers again connected with Gates for a three-yard touchdown giving San Diego a 7-0 lead with 1:52 to play in the first quarter. The touchdown capped a nine-play, 60-yard drive.

On the ensuing possession Kansas City’s ground game took control. RB Thomas Jones found a hole up the middle for a nine-yard gain to the KC 40-yard line. Two plays later Charles brought the crowd to its feet. On a handoff to the left side of the line, Charles found a gap and no one would catch him as he made his way 56 yards into the end zone for a touchdown tying the game at 7-7.

The Chiefs defense stiffened, forcing a San Diego punt from its own 13-yard line. CB Javier Arenas rattled off a 36-yard punt return giving the Chiefs prime field position at San Diego’s 32-yard line. However, a six-yard loss on a third-down rush put the Chiefs out of field goal range and P Dustin Colquitt was forced to punt. The Chargers returned the favor again with a punt of their own. Arenas, again gave the Chargers a scare as he scrambled for 24 yards in open space, giving the Chiefs possession at their own 41-yard line. After three plays the Chiefs were forced to punt.

Kansas City’s defense then stepped up to the plate as LB Derrick Johnson stripped the football from RB Ryan Mathews at the San Diego 28-yard line. CB Brandon Carr scooped up the loose ball and returned 23 yards to San Diego’s 12-yard line. The Chiefs offense did the rest. Cassel connected with WR Dexter McCluster bringing the offense to the SD seven yard-line. Cassel then scrambled five yards to San Diego’s two-yard line to make it first and goal. On a play-action pass, the defense bit hard leaving rookie Moeaki wide open in the corner of the end zone for the touchdown giving Kansas City its first lead of the ball game, 14-7 with 5:03 to play in the half.

The Chiefs were just getting started. After another defensive stand P Mike Scifres came on to punt for the Chargers. WR Dexter McCluster caught the ball at the KC six-yard line. On a play that looked broken, McCluster emerged from the pack and a key block from LB Andy Studebaker cleared him for a 94-yard race to the end zone putting the Chiefs up 21-7 with 2:03 left before intermission. McCluster’s return was the longest punt return in Chiefs history.

Kansas City put together one final drive before the half officially closed, but after moving the ball to San Diego’s 31-yard line, the drive stalled and the Chiefs took their 21-7 lead into the locker room at half.

The Chargers were first to touch the ball in the second half of play. Rivers 17-yard pass to WR Legedu Naanee put San Diego into Chiefs territory but the drive ended at the Chiefs 41-yard line as a Rivers pass fell incomplete. San Diego’s punt sailed into the end zone giving KC possession at the 20-yard line.

The teams went punt for punt before the Chargers offense hit their stride. Rivers found Gates who rumbled for 19 yards to the San Diego 30-yard line. Two plays later a miscommunication in the Chiefs secondary left Chargers Naanee wide open and Rivers hit him with a deep ball for a 59-yard TD pass cutting into the Chiefs lead, 21-14 with 2:33 on the clock in the third quarter.

San Diego regained possession after a Kansas City punt. Rivers pass to TE Randy McMichael was good for 20 yards followed by a 23-yard rush by RB Mike Tolbert putting the ball at the Chiefs 44-yard line. On fourth and nine from the KC 32 with just over seven minutes to play the Chargers elected to go for it. Rivers pass slipped through the hands of Naanee turning the ball over on downs.

Kansas City’s offense was stopped and forced to punt with 5:03 to play in the contest. Rivers connected with WR Buster Davis for 22 yards and then to WR Malcom Floyd for 22 yards putting the Chargers at the Chiefs 25-yard line at the 2:00 minute warning down by seven. On fourth and three from the KC 16, Rivers connected on a clutch pass to Naanee for 12 yards and a first down setting the Chargers up with a first and goal from the Kansas City four-yard line. Kansas City’s defense rose to the occasion. On first down, Rivers pass intended for Floyd fell incomplete. On second down the Chiefs run defense stuffed RB Darren Sproles for a two-yard loss. On third and goal from the four-yard line Rivers pass was too high intended for Floyd and sailed out of the back of the end zone.

With 0:39 on the clock the Chargers faced a fourth and goal from the four-yard line. With Rivers in shotgun formation, the ball was snapped. Rivers stepped up in the pocket and threw it up but the pass fell incomplete, sealing the 21-14 Chiefs victory.

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