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After their 0-3 start, the Kansas City Chiefs were labeled by many as the worst team in the league and the leaders in the race to obtain the No. 1 overall pick in the NFL Draft, and consequently, Andrew Luck. Since then, they've won four straight games, and following their dramatic 23-20 win over the San Diego Chargers on Monday Night Football, they sit inexplicably at the top of the AFC West, in the driver's seat for a playoff spot. If you missed the game last night, want to relive it or, like me, passed out on the couch during the fourth quarter, here are the video highlights.
Curtis Brinkley's plays to get the Chargers back into the game late were a great introduction to the NFL spotlight and a real highlight of the game. Unfortunately for him and the Chargers, Philip Rivers' mistakes are going to be the much bigger talking point.
The Chargers lost 23-20 to the Chiefs in overtime on Monday night, and Philip Rivers knows that this one is on him. The veteran quarterback made a rookie mistake in the final minutes of regulation, fumbling the snap in the red zone as the Chargers were trying to kill the clock and set up a potentially game-winning field-goal attempt.
"This one's rough," Rivers said, according to Chargers.com. "Any loss, you want throws back. There's plays we could obviously play better, but when you know you're a minute away from just leaking the clock and kicking a field goal to end it after the way we fought back, then you blow it on something that shouldn't ever happen."
Rivers has 11 interceptions in seven games -- including two on Monday. But as prone to turnovers as he's been this year, fumbling the snap is a gaffe that rarely happens.
"I haven't had one in years," Rivers said, according to the Associated Press. "It's unfortunate. I dropped it. This one is rough. You blow it on a play that never should have happened."
"It was a critical situation and it cost us," center Nick Hardwick said. "It's been six years and we haven't had one on the ground. We can't have that."
A firework reportedly went off in the parking lot of Arrowhead Stadium just before the ill-fated snap, prompting some speculation on the Chargers' radio broadcast that Rivers was spooked. But Rivers dismissed that theory, telling reporters he didn't hear anything. Instead, Norv Turner probably summed it up best.
"It looked to me like Philip got a little anxious and came out early," Turner said. "That's a very unusual way to not win a game."
Ryan Mathews suffered a groin injury in the fourth quarter of Monday's loss to the Chargers. The severity is not yet known, but it was enough to prevent him from returning to the game. His final play was a 14-yard reception with nine minutes left in regulation.
Despite losing their starting running back, it's hard to say the Chargers missed him. Backup running back Curtis Brinkley, who came into the night with just two career touches, caught a 20-yard reception two plays after Mathews left. He dove two yards into the end zone on the very next play, and then caught the game-tying two-point conversion. Seeing action as the featured back the rest of the way, Brinkley gained 27 yards on five carries.
With Mike Tolbert sidelined with a hamstring injury, Mathews was expected to carry a full load. He came through with 112 yards from scrimmage, including 13 carries for 57 yards and a team-high six receptions for 55 yards. He played through a minor injury to his left thumb suffered in Week 7. That injury didn't contribute to his second-quarter fumble, though, which occurred when he had the ball punched out of the grip of his right hand.
Mathews clearly has a lot of talent, but his inability to stay on the field has been a frequent problem. Ironically enough, just this week he talked about playing hurt in a radio interview with XX1090 San Diego.
"No one's going to be 100 percent healthy coming in, so you start learning to suck it up," he said. "You've got to play when you're hurt."
Stay tuned for more on Mathews' injury this week as information becomes available.
For more on San Diego, visit Chargers blog Bolts From The Blue.
The San Diego Chargers dropped a tough overtime loss to the Kansas City Chiefs on Monday Night Football, but they may have created the next great fantasy football waiver wire candidate. Every week, at least one player on very few fantasy football rosters puts together a monster performance on Sunday or Monday. Two days later, when waiver wires are processing across the country, everybody places a claim on that player.
Given the injuries Ryan Mathews and Mike Tolbert are dealing with, Curtis Brinkley will be that guy on the week nine waiver wire. Brinkley took over for Mathews on Monday and put together 43 rushing yards and a touchdown on ten carries with an additional 24 receiving yards. It was not enough to get the victory, but it was enough to put fantasy owners on high alert.
If you have space to add a guy like Brinkley, there likely is some value to it. He is not a great long term answer this season because Mathews will be the main guy. The issue for Mathews is that he has struggle staying healthy. Given that, Brinkley is a decent guy to have on hand. If you have Mathews I would recommend Brinkley as a handcuff. If you don't have Mathews but can afford to drop a guy, there is some upside there.
Antonio Gates was his usual solid self during Monday's loss to the Chiefs, finishing as San Diego's second-leading receiver with 73 yards on four catches. He found the end zone in the second quarter after making a 17-yard reception ... but the pass was called back after he was flagged for offensive interference. Replays showed that he extended his arm in the direction of his defender, but any actual contact was slight and certainly didn't give Gates much of an advantage. Nevertheless, that's how it was called.
Incidentally, San Diego ended up getting nothing out of that drive -- Philip Rivers was sacked on the next play, and the Chargers were flagged for offensive holding on the play after that. On fourth-and-22, Nick Novak was wide right on his 52-yard field-goal attempt. Considering the Chargers eventually lost in overtime, Gates' missed opportunity was basically the game.
Gates returned last week after missing three games with plantar fasciitis in his right foot, picking up where he left off with five catches for 54 yards and a touchdown. He'll likely continue to battle lingering soreness in his foot all season -- it's the same injury that plagued him in 2010 -- but it's just impossible to take him out of your fantasy lineup when he's healthy enough to play.
The Chiefs are tied for first in the AFC West after a big Monday Night Football win against the Chargers on Halloween.
A Philip Rivers fumble cost the Chargers a chance at a last-second, game-winning field goal attempt against the Chiefs on Monday Night Football. Killing clock with the score tied 20-20, Rivers fumbled the snap and it was recovered by Kansas City on their own 16 yard line.
The game is headed to overtime.
Want to enjoy some schadenfraude? Here's an animated version of the fumble. Feel free to watch over and over (especially you, Chiefs fans).
It was the third turnover of the game for Rivers, who leads the NFL in giveaways. Andy Studebaker emerged from the pile with the football as the referees were trying to determine who had recovered the football. The fumbled prevented a field goal attempt from Nick Novack, who has already made all four of his field goal attempts so far on Monday night.
Rivers and the Chiefs will get the ball first in overtime.
Consider this an introduction to Curtis Brinkley. The Chargers backup running back made three straight special plays to tie the Chiefs on Monday Night Football. Brinkley scored his first ever NFL touchdown one play after making his first ever NFL reception -- then caught a pass to score on the two-point conversion and tie the game 20-20.
In his second season out of Syracuse, Brinkley stepped in to spell Ryan Mathews, who is on the sideline with an injury, and helped the Chargers get into the end zone after settling for four straight field goals.
The touchdown was upheld after a review when it was ruled that Brinkley had crossed the goal line before losing the football. GIF below:
On the ensuing two-point conversion, another review was needed to make certain that Brinkley got into the end zone. Watch the play here:
In all, two exciting moments for the Chargers running back in what has become a very exciting Monday Night Football game. Could this be the moment the game shifted for good in favor of San Diego?
Kansas City running back Jackie Battle punched home the touchdown on the goal line one play after his apparent touchdown was reversed when it was ruled that his knee was down before he crossed the plain. Image below:
It was Battle's first touchdown of the season. The undrafted free agent running back has carried the ball 12 times for 55 yards so far on Monday night.
Here's video of the touchdown:
Prior to this drive, the Chiefs had been unable to score or even sustain a drive in the second half. But Kansas City ran the ball well on this nine-play, 74-yard touchdown drive.
Nick Novak is the entire San Diego offense. The kicker has all 12 of the Chargers' points on Monday Night Football against the Chiefs. After trailing by as much as 13-3, the Chargers have cut Kansas City's lead to one point, with the score at 13-12.
The Chargers appeared poised to take a lead with a first and goal situation. But then one lackluster run attempt and two busted pass plays later, San Diego was trotting out Novack for another field goal attempt, which he hit. Novak is 4-for-4 on field goals so far.
While we're talking at length about Novak, I thought I'd look up his Wikipedia page. Did you know he has played for something called the Cologne Centurions (an NFL Europe team, apparently), as well as the Florida Tuskers of the UFL? These are facts! He also made the Dean's List three times at the University of Maryland.
It appears that if the Chargers are going to come back against the Chiefs it will be Nick Novak who kicks San Diego to victory, one mid-range field goal at a time. The Chargers kicker belted another field goal through the uprights, cutting Kansas City's lead to 13-9 in the third quarter.
San Diego trails by just four despite a lackluster performance. Novak has been necessary because the Chargers have been unable to finish off their drives. San Diego has been inside the Kansas City 35-yard line six times and come away with just nine points. That would be a problem, except that the Chiefs offense hasn't been all that special either.
The field goal was set up by an interception tossed by Chiefs quarterback Matt Cassel in Kansas City territory. The Chargers went four yards on three plays before bringing out Novak to boot it home.
Here's video of the interception:
Nick Novak snuck a 44-yard field goal just inside the upright to pull the Chargers closer to the Chiefs on Monday Night Football. With the field goal, San Diego trails 13-6 midway through the third quarter.
Philip Rivers lead the Chargers on a 10-play, 62-yard drive to get the score. San Diego is somehow within a touchdown of Kansas City despite leaving points on the board with penalties and turnovers.
Rivers has thrown for 222 yards against the Chiefs secondary, but he has thrown two interceptions. He has been getting good opportunities to throw the ball and Antonio Gates and Malcolm Floyd have been key in the passing attack. Gates has three catches for 67 yards and Floyd has 68 yards on four catches.
The San Diego Chargers couldn't hold on to the football and couldn't get anything done when they weren't turning it over. Quarterback Philip Rivers threw two interceptions and running back Ryan Mathews fumbled, which led to the Kansas City Chiefs taking an early lead. Right before halftime, the Chargers nearly scored a touchdown off of a Matt Cassel fumble, but ultimately went backwards and missed a field goal.
On the Chiefs next drive, despite some poor play calling and clock management by Chiefs head coach Todd Haley, the Chiefs were able to move down the field far enough to give Ryan Succop a shot at a 47-yard field goal, that he nailed. The Chiefs go up 13-3 at the half. The Chiefs can build on their lead too, as they get the ball back after the half.
After the San Diego Chargers turned the football over three times in the first half, Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Matt Cassel fumbled the football when his arm was hit by linebacker Travis LaBoy. The play was originally ruled an incomplete pass, but Chargers head coach Norv Turner challenged the play. After a review, the play was reversed and ruled a fumble with the Chargers recovering. Judge if the call was correct yourself:
After the Chargers got the ball back, they had a touchdown pass to tight end Antonio Gates called back due to offensive pass interference and their drive stalled out. The Chargers had another holding penalty on the drive and Rivers took a sack on third down. The Chargers lined up for a 50-yard field goal, but Nick Novak missed. The Chiefs still lead, 10-3.
Late in the second quarter, the Chargers were driving, going 45 yards in four plays, and looked poised to put points on the board before the end of the half. Then running back Ryan Mathews had the ball punched out of his hands
Mathews isn't the only Charger who has failed to take care of the ball. Philip Rivers has already thrown two interceptions. Rivers leads the NFL in turnovers this season.
San Diego Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers just can't seem to not throw interceptions. Rivers was picked again on the Chargers next drive after the Kansas City Chiefs field goal. The pass was tipped as he threw it and picked off by linebacker Derrick Johnson.
Here's a video of the interception:
The Chiefs took the football at their own 20-yard line and proceeded to march right down the football field. On third and short Matt Cassel hit fullback Le'Ron McClain for 14 yards as McClain made a heck of a catch, then was hit by safety Steve Gregory in the helmet. That tacked on an extra 15-yards with the personal foul that setup this next play from Cassel to rookie Jonathan Baldwin:
Baldwin made a leaping grab on the 39-yard touchdown pass to put the Chiefs up over the Chargers 10-0.
Break up the Chiefs! Kansas City has won three straight games and now has an early 3-0 lead on the Chargers on Monday Night Football. Ryan Succop drilled a 36-yard field goal to give the Chiefs the first score of the game.
The Chiefs used almost five minutes of clock going 49 yards in 10 plays on their first offensive possession. After kicking off, the Chiefs intercepted San Diego quarterback Philip Rivers on the Chargers ensuing possession.
Here's video of the interception:
Kansas City turned the ball right back over to the Chargers, when Dexter McCluster fumbled. The referees reviewed the play, and confirmed that it was a fumble.
On the ESPN Monday Night Football broadcast, the announcers seemed surprised that there was not enough evidence to overturn the call. Time will tell if the Chargers can take advantage of the apparent break.
It's just about an hour before kickoff for Monday Night Football and we've got the team's inactives for you, so that you can appropriately adjust your fantasy line-ups.
The biggest news on either team's inactive list is running back Mike Tolbert. With Tolbert out of the line up, that means Ryan Mathews should get a lot more touches out of the backfield. Linebacker Shaun Phillips being out will certainly hurt the Chargers defense, he will be replaced by Antwan Barnes in the line-up.
The Chiefs face the Chargers at home on Monday Night Football this week. Take a closer look at the odds tonight, as well as some of the more attractive prop bets on the board. All content comes courtesy of SB Nation's odds partners at OddsShark.com.
San Diego Chargers running back Mike Tolbert has been ruled out for Monday Night Football against the Kansas City Chiefs. Tolbert has been dealing with hand and hamstring issues and was doubtful heading into the game. Deactivating Tolbert is not a surprise, but it is still worth noting for fantasy purposes.
The Tolbert injury means that Ryan Mathews will likely get his biggest rushing load of the season. The Chargers are facing a struggling Chiefs rush defense, which could mean big things for Mathews. His primary backup will be Curtis Brinkley, who has not touched the ball this season. Brinkley might get a couple touches, but Mathews will likely dominate the carries.
I would actually expect Jacob Hester to get more carries due to the Tolbert injury. Hester operates as the Chargers fullback, but when running backs are limited, the team has shown a willingness to get him more involved in the offense. Week five against the Denver Broncos, Hester rushed 11 times for 47 yards and hauled in a pair of passes. I suspect Hester gets at least five or six carries on Monday.
The Kansas City Chiefs are looking for their fourth straight win when they host the 4-2 San Diego Chargers at Arrowhead Stadium on Monday night.
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