(CBS Los Angeles) — The Los Angeles Chargers and Kansas City Chiefs both suffered disheartening losses in Week 2. The Chargers fell to the Dallas Cowboys on a 56-yard Greg Zuerlein field goal on the game’s last play. The Chiefs dropped one to the Baltimore Ravens, after running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire fumbled on a late fourth-quarter drive to put the team in field goal position. Both teams fell to 1-1, with a tough AFC West rival next on the schedule.
Games in Week 3 of the season are rarely of the must-win variety. But with both the Denver Broncos and Las Vegas Raiders still undefeated, the Chargers will arrive at Arrowhead to play a Chiefs team which, like themselves, will be looking to keep pace and correct early-season problems.READ MORE: Scherzer Scratched As Starter For NLCS Game 6
The Chargers’ pass rush, which includes Joey Bosa, struggled to pressure Dak Prescott, despite the makeshift offensive line protecting him. But the team’s 12 penalties for 99 yards and many other mistakes also kept them from a better outcome.
“For the Chargers, what has been their issue the last couple of seasons especially last season?” asks NFL On CBS analyst Charles Davis. “Closing out ballgames, playing with leads and not finishing the deal. And I know it’s a brand new regime with Brandon Staley, the head coach, but a lot of the same players are still around. So they’ve got to find a way to get over the hump… They didn’t get that done with Dallas last week. To me, that’s the biggest thing they’re going to continue to work on and improve, and I fully expect them to be in playoff contention, as the season goes on.”
The Chiefs’ defense struggled to stop — or even slow down — a Ravens ground attack that piled up 251 yards. “They remind me a lot of what we used to talk about with Indianapolis with Peyton Manning,” said Davis. “They have a defense built to play with a two-score lead, and Peyton often supplied that for their defense. Well, Kansas City had a two-score lead multiple times in the game against Baltimore and did not close it out. Despite some nice plays by Tyrann Mathieu early with the pick-six and another pick in the next series. But again, opportunities to close things out to shut people down. Didn’t get it done. I would be a little bit concerned if I were a Kansas City fan. What are they going to do defensively to get that part fixed and get it corrected? Now, it could be a one-game ‘aberration,’ because Lamar Jackson was sensational down the stretch. But it is something that bares watching, because they shouldn’t be in shootouts each and every week. That offense is tremendous, you shouldn’t be turning around every time and saying ‘okay, Mahomes, rescue us and get us out of here.’ They had two-score leads. They should be able to put that away.”
The Chargers offense also has the weapons to put points on the board. Quarterback Justin Herbert has turned in two more solid performances this season that show continued progress from his 2020 Offensive Rookie of the Year campaign. Week 1 saw him pick apart the Washington Football Team for 337 yards and a touchdown. More than half of that yardage came from Keenan Allen and Mike Williams. In Week 2, he threw for 338 yards and another touchdown, with Allen and Williams once again leading the way. Herbert now has 10 300-yard games in his first two seasons, tying Dan Marino’s record.READ MORE: 19 Lakers, 5 Clippers Named To NBA's 75th Anniversary Team
“This kid has it all, running, throwing,” said Charles Davis. “I absolutely believe he’s on a trajectory to be one of the better quarterbacks of our generation. That would not shock me one bit.”
He’ll have help from a talented core of playmakers that should have little problem moving the ball against a Chiefs defense that allowed about 500 yards of offense to the Ravens. Running back Austin Ekeler, a dual threat out of the backfield, produced a combined 115 yards against the Cowboys. The Chiefs, meanwhile, let the Ravens pile up 251 yards on the ground. Allen and Williams will once again be his primary targets through the air.
There isn’t much more to be said about the Chiefs offense. Mahomes and his talented receivers continue to put up video game numbers on a weekly basis. Mahomes went 24-31 for 343 yards and three touchdowns against Baltimore. He similarly went 27-36 for 337 yards and three touchdowns against the Cleveland Browns in their opener. Wide receive Tyreek Hill and tight end Travis Kelce are both among the NFL’s top 10 in terms of receiving yards.
The Chiefs seem to win a lot of their games close, just as the Chargers tend to lose a lot of their games close. That could be the recipe for an upset. “I just think they need a breakthrough game where it’s 20-17, and they find a way to win in late,” said Davis. “It was just two seasons ago they won 11 games and went to the playoffs. Last year was a disaster in close game. Tyrod Taylor getting hurt, Justin Herbert coming in, you name it. Again, Derwin James hurt in training camp. I can go on and on with that. I think a little bit of luck, and finding a way to win a close one against a good opponent will go a long way towards kind of shaking off some of the demons that they deal with.”MORE NEWS: Gotham Chopra Sheds New Light On Russell Westbrook In SHOWTIME Doc: 'People Think He's Raw Emotion, There's A Lot Of Layers There'
The Chargers play the Chiefs Sunday, September 26 @ 1:00 p.m. ET on CBS.