By Dave Thomas
Just this past weekend, most members of the San Diego Chargers nation thought playing the 1-6 Cleveland Browns was the perfect antidote for a struggling Bolts squad.
As fans and anyone else associated with the Chargers found out, even the horrid Browns had just enough to send San Diego to its third straight loss since a win over the Chiefs back on Sept. 30.
So, guess who is on the Chargers’ schedule this Thursday night in an NFL Network broadcast from San Diego? Yes, those same Kansas City Chiefs.
If you thought the Chargers were struggling at 3-4, the Chiefs are in a free-fall meltdown at 1-6. Were it not for a comeback win over a mediocre New Orleans team last month in the Louisiana Superdome, Kansas City would be the lone winless team in the NFL.
As it stands, the Chiefs limp into Southern California this week in the throes of a four-game losing streak, having scored a meager 120 points in seven games (have given up 209 to date). Only Jacksonville has scored less at 103 points.
Kansas City Has Doubts At Quarterback
The QB carousel continues in the nation’s heartland, as the Chiefs have gone with both Matt Cassel and Brady Quinn under center this season. To date, neither has done anything to give even the most dedicated of Chiefs fans reason for hope. While Cassel gave way to Quinn following a recent concussion, Quinn’s short time as the starter was far from impressive.
Yes, there is always the threat of running back Jamaal Charles, who to date has rushed for 595 yards on 120 carries (2 TD’s). While Charles has been the workhorse as expected in the backfield, the Chiefs simply must get better play from whoever is under center.
Cassel comes into the week with a QB passer rating of 69.0, with six touchdowns and 10 interceptions. Quinn is even worse (albeit limited play) at 43.1, with no TD’s and three interceptions. Ask the bulk of Kansas City fans, and they will simply tell you that Cassel has never lived up to the hype he received when the Chiefs got him from New England a few seasons ago.
Along with Charles, Kansas City still has wide receiver Dwayne Bowe (when it can get him the ball) putting up decent numbers, featuring 37 receptions for 492 yards and three scores.
On defense, linebacker Derrick Johnson is by far the team’s top tackler, accounting for 60 tackles (51 of them solo). Fellow linebacker Justin Houston has also played well, tallying six sacks along the way.
While the Chargers pretty much dominated the first meeting this season at Arrowhead Stadium (37-20), that was also a San Diego squad that was playing with a little more confidence (even despite a 27-3 loss to Atlanta the week before) than it is now.
Having suffered three straight losses, the Chargers and their fans are likely hoping that the Chiefs once again prove the tonic to fix what is wrong with San Diego’s football team.
In the event they are not, those remaining on the Charger bandwagon may have to begin turning their attention to a team in Colorado that is looking more and more like the best in the division.
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Dave Thomas is a freelance writer covering all things Chargers. His work can be found on Examiner.com.