Chiefs wide receiver Albert Wilson (center) was fired up after a tackle by Kevin Pierre-Louis (right) on a punt return in Sunday’s game against the Chargers. David Eulitt deulitt@kcstar.com
Chiefs wide receiver Albert Wilson (center) was fired up after a tackle by Kevin Pierre-Louis (right) on a punt return in Sunday’s game against the Chargers. David Eulitt deulitt@kcstar.com

Red Zone

The Chiefs and NFL by beat writer Terez Paylor

Red Zone

Chiefs report card: Pass defense, running game lead charge vs. LA

By Terez A. Paylor

tpaylor@kcstar.com

September 24, 2017 08:55 PM

UPDATED September 24, 2017 10:07 PM

CARSON, Calif.

The key plays, stats and grades from the Kansas City Chiefs’ 24-10 win over the Los Angeles Chargers on Sunday at the StubHub Center.

The recap

Player of the game: Interceptions are hard to come by in the NFL, and cornerback Terrance Mitchell notched the first multipick game of his career with two in the first half. Mitchell also finished with team highs in tackles (nine) and pass deflections (four).

Reason to hope: The Chiefs managed to pull out a hard-fought road win with their best offensive receiving target (Travis Kelce) rendered ineffective.

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Reason to mope: The penalties (13 for 122 yards) continue to be a problem. The Chiefs have been among the most undisciplined teams in football through the first three weeks of the season. This needs to be rectified at some point.

Looking ahead: The Chiefs, 3-0, now return home to face Washington on Monday night at Arrowhead Stadium.

Report card

A

Rushing offense: Another game, another big day for star rookie Kareem Hunt, who has begun to establish himself as one of the most entertaining young backs in football. The hard-charging Hunt gashed the Chargers for 172 yards in 17 carries, including a 69-yard gallop in the fourth quarter that effectively put the Chargers away. Not bad, young fella.

C

Passing offense: Quarterback Alex Smith was efficient, completing 16 of 21 passes for 155 yards, two touchdowns and zero interceptions. Unfortunately for him, he wasn’t always upright as the Chargers racked up six quarterback hits and five sacks. The pass protection needs to be better.

B

Rushing defense: Melvin Gordon managed 79 yards and a touchdown in 17 carries, which are solid enough numbers. But the Chiefs’ defense, overall, did a nice job against the run, limiting the Chargers’ tailbacks to a 3.8-yard average.

A

Passing defense: The Chiefs could only manage two sacks, but one was massive. Star outside linebacker Justin Houston’s third-quarter hauldown of Philip Rivers thwarted a game-tying drive and allowed the Chiefs to put the Chargers away. Despite the Chiefs’ overall lack of pressure, they limited Rivers to a 20-for-40 performance in which he threw for 237 yards and was intercepted three times. His passer rating was a miserable 37.2.

Marcus Peters talks about teammates, matchup with Keenan Allen

Chiefs cornerback Marcus Peters weighed in on Terrance Mitchell's big day and his matchup with Kennan Allen but didn't want to talk about the national anthem.

Blair Kerkhoff The Kansas City Star

B

Special teams: Cairo Santos made his only field-goal attempt, and Dustin Colquitt dropped three of five punts inside the 20. Akeem Hunt rocked a sterling 33-yard average on two kicks. The Chiefs’ failed fake punt didn’t come back to bite them, but it does hurt the final grade.

B

Coaching: Another solid performance by coach Andy Reid and his staff. Reid again pulled out some terrific play designs that went for big yardage, though the offense went stagnant for long stretches. Meanwhile, Bob Sutton’s defensive game plan against the Chargers was effective. The penalties hurt this final grade, but this win is nothing to be ashamed of.

Chiefs leave the field after 24-10 victory over Chargers

Chiefs leave the field after 24-10 victory over LA Chargers at the Stub Hub Center in Carson, Ca.

Blair Kerkhoff The Kansas City Star