The Chiefs defense came up big at the end of the game stopping Phillip Rivers and the Chargers four times deep in the red zone to hold on for a season opening 21-14 win over San Diego late Monday night on a windy and rainy night at Arrowhead Stadium.
The Chargers went on top with less than two minutes in the first quarter on a short touchdown pass from Rivers to tight end Antonio Gates on 3rd and goal to put San Diego up 7-0. Then the momentum turned in favor of the Chiefs.
Jamaal Charles, busted out on a 65 yard, weaving back and forth run on the Chiefs next possession, to tie the score at 7-7. Matt Cassel was just 10 of 22 for 68 yards, but he found rookie tight end Tony Moeaki on a two yard touchdown after Derrick Johnson popped the ball loose from Chargers’ running back Darren Sproles, setting up a short field. That made the score 14-7. Special teams play was huge for the Chiefs as well. They had just 197 yards of total offense for the game, and 219 yards in punt and kick returns, including a 94 yard return from Dexter McCluster, giving the Chiefs a 21-7 halftime lead.
The Chiefs defense was pretty solid all night. They really shut down the Chargers run game holding them to 3.8 yards per carry and they made it a frustrating night for Sproles. The defense was buzzing especially in the first half. However, late in the third, there was a breakdown when Phillips found a receiver wide open down field and the Chargers scored on a 59 yard pass to make the score 21-14.
Rivers got the Chargers a first-and-goal from the four. His first pass was incomplete, Sproles lost two yards, and Rivers missed on his next two attempts as the Chiefs sealed their first Monday night win in 10 years.