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Last week, Sports Al Dente identified three key matchups where Kansas City needed to prevail to continue their dominance over the Chargers in the AFC West. As it turns out, they covered those matchups and the Patrick Mahomes-era started with a bang as the Chiefs beat their AFC Rival Los Angeles for the ninth straight time, 38-28.

How did those three match-ups factor into Kansas City starting the season 1-0? Let’s take a look.

Melvin Ingram vs. Eric Fisher

With Mahomes making just his second career start, the Chiefs offensive line needed to provide him with a clean pocket and they did exactly that. With the benefit of a clean pocket, the young quarterback showed why Andy Reid traded away Alex Smith to make room for him. He completed 15-of-27 passes for 256 yards and four touchdowns.

The Chargers defensive line suffered from not having Joey Bosa on the field. Melvin Ingram managed to hit Mahomes multiple times but came up with no sacks. Kansas City’s quarterback was sacked just once on a blitz by L.A. safety Derwin James.

Even though the Chiefs could never really get running back Kareem Hunt going, the concern was with pass protection against the Chargers’ very good defense. Fisher and his mates passed that test.

Kansas City Defensive Backfield vs. Keenan Allen

Despite the Chiefs win, there is some concern that remains. Los Angeles quarterback Philip Rivers threw for 424 yards and that total would’ve been significantly higher if Travis Benjamin knew how to catch the ball.

Keenan Allen caught eight balls for 108 yards. Unlike last season, the Chiefs didn’t keep him out of the end zone. The wide receiver easily beat Orlando Scandrick for a 20-yard touchdown from Rivers.

With that said, there were some bright spots. Recently signed safety Ron Parker did pick off Rivers and fellow starters Kendall Fuller, Steven Nelson, and Eric Murray also proved that they can tackle. What they didn’t prove is that they can stop opposing receivers from catching the ball, since Rivers completed 34 passes to eight different receivers.

The concerns over the Chiefs defensive backs are justified. If Kansas City’s offense can put 38 points on the board every week, then it won’t really matter. However, Pittsburgh’s Antonio Brown and JuJu Smith-Schuster are going to be licking their chops as they watch film this week.

Tyreek Hill vs. Trevor Williams

Congratulations if your fantasy lineup featured Hill. Before the season began, we looked at how explosive Mahomes throwing to Hill “might be.” That wording now needs to be changed to “is.”

Against Los Angeles, Hill redefined the term “running wild.” He hauled in seven passes for 169 yards and accounted for two of Mahomes touchdowns, including a beautiful shovel pass.

Oh, yeah, and then there was this.


No, Williams and his defensive backfield cohorts aren’t responsible for what Hill did to the Chargers’ special teams unit but it does show just how unstoppable he was on Sunday. The Cheetah’s dominance victimized just about everyone in Los Angeles. Not even the league’s concussion protocol could derail him.

Hill proved that he’s a threat to score any time that he’s on the field. That gives the Chiefs a legitimate chance at overcoming their defensive shortcomings.

Meanwhile, the Chargers were a sexy Super Bowl pick heading into the season, and Rivers showed that he can still sling it. Williams and fellow starting cornerback Casey Hayward battled leg injuries throughout the preseason. Los Angeles better hope that they (and Bosa) return to full health soon.

Brendon McCullin

Author Brendon McCullin

Once a mover & shaker in Los Angeles, I made the bold move to move to the Midwest, where I now write about sports and entertainment industry topics. A long suffering Philadelphia sports fan, I've learned to trust the process but never trust Pete Rose.

More posts by Brendon McCullin

Sports Al Dente 2019

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