Much has been said about the tremendous season Philip Rivers is having, and rightfully so, but a major reason for his success has been the play of the other skill players on offense. The Bolts have five players this season ó tight end Antonio Gates, running back Danny Woodhead, and wide receivers Keenan Allen, Vincent Brown and Eddie Royal ó who all have at least 30 catches and a touchdown. Gates leads the squad this year with 56 catches and 664 yards and comes into Sundayís game in Kansas City two catches and 15 yards away from becoming the fourth tight end in league history with 700 catches and 9,000 yards. Right behind Gates sits Woodhead, second on the team with 55 catches, good for 424 yards and four touchdowns.
Meanwhile, Allen has hauled in 41 passes for 613 yards and three scores, totals that are among the best of any rookie receiver in the league this season. Among rookies, he ranks first in receiving yards, third in catches and heís tied for fourth in touchdown catches. The other two receivers in the group are Vincent Brown with 32 catches, 334 yards and a touchdown, and the senior member of the group, Eddie Royal has caught 30 passes for 397 yards and a career-high seven touchdowns.
On Offense for the Chiefs
Much like Rivers, Kansas Cityís quarterback, Alex Smith, has had success sharing the football. Heís connected with 13 different players this season with running back Jamaal Charles leading the pack, receiving 23.4 percent of Smithís completions. Charles has caught 49 passes for 383 yards, and the next highest receiver is Dwayne Bowe with 37 for a team-high 426 yards.
On Defense for the Chargers
San Diego is coming off a performance in Miami in which they held the Dolphins to just 20 points, marking the fifth time in 10 games that the unit held the opposition to less than 21 points. The Chargers are 11th overall in points per game allowed. In Miami, the defense held the Dolphins to 2 of 10 on third downs and 343 total yards. Earlier this season, the defense went a team-record 12 straight quarters without allowing an offensive touchdown.
On Defense for the Chiefs
KC has one of the most potent defenses in the NFL through 11 weeks. They rank second in the league in sacks with 36, just one behind the Buffalo Bills. Linebacker Justin Houston is tied for third in the NFL with 11.0 sacks while Tamba Hali ranks fifth with 9.0 sacks. The Chiefs also rank second in the NFL in points allowed per game with 13.8, trailing just the Carolina Panthers who have surrendered 13.5. Kansas City is also first in third down defense, allowing on 27.2% of them to be converted.
This will be the 107th time that the Chargers and Chiefs have met and the Bolts hold a 53-52-1 series edge that includes winning two straight, four of the last five and nine of the last 11. The Charges swept the two meetings in 2012, winning 37-20 at Arrowhead Stadium and 31-13 at Qualcomm Stadium.
By the Numbers
For the year, the Chargers rank seventh in total offense (399.4 yards per game), fourth in passing (287.9 ypg), 16th in rushing (111.5 ypg) and 17th in points (22.8). The Chiefs rank 24thin total offense (320.0 ypg), 26th in passing (198.5 ypg), 11th in rushing (121.5 ypg) and 16th in points (23.2)
Defensively, the Bolts rank 27th in total defense (389.0 ypg), 27th in passing (275.5 ypg), 16th in rushing (113.5 ypg) and 11th in points allowed (22.2). Kansas City ranks 12th in total defense (336.9 ypg), ninth in passing (219.8 ypg), 20th in rushing (117.1 ypg) and second in points allowed (13.8).
Milestones on the Horizon
Antonio Gates is 15 yards away from 9,000 career receiving yards and could reach that mark in fewer games than any tight end in NFL history. Gates also has 698 career catches, leaving him just two shy of 700. Should he reach 700 against the Chiefs in his 158th-career game, he would become the third fastest tight end in NFL history to reach the 700-career catch plateau.
Keenan Allen has three 100-yard games this season, including a season- high 128 yards on Nov. 3 in Washington. Just 10 games into his rookie NFL season, Allen has already tied John Jeffersonís team rookie record for 100-yard games in a season (1978). All three of Allenís 100-yard outings have come in the Chargersí last six games, as have all three of his touchdown catches. With 613 yards on the season, Allen is leading all NFL rookies in receiving yards. He is also threatening the team record for receiving yards by a rookie (1,001), which was also set by Jefferson in í78.
Ryan Mathews (3,142 career rushing yards) is currently sixth on the teamís all-time rushing list. He needs 168 to move past the late Chuck Muncie (3,309) for fifth.
Mathews has 16-career rushing touchdowns. He needs one more to break into the teamís career Top 10. Hank Bauer, Rod Bernstine, Dick Post and Clarence Williams all scored 17 rushing touchdowns during their Chargers careers.
Danny Woodhead has five total touchdowns this season. Heís already set a new career- high with four touchdown catches and heís two touchdowns shy of tying his season-high for total touchdowns, which was seven for New England in 2012.
Nick Novak has 293 career points, good for ninth on the teamís all-time scoring list. He needs 56 more to move past Gary Garrison (348) for eighth.
Novak is tied for ninth in the NFL with 84 points this season. He has 65 career made field goals for the Chargers and needs seven more to move past Dennis Partee (71) for fourth on the teamís all-time list.
Antonio Gates has enjoyed a memorable career against Kansas City. His 13 touchdown catches are the most against any single opponent and in 16 career games against the Chiefs, Gates has caught 83 passes for 1,054 yards. In 2004, Gates caught his 10th and 11th touchdown catches of the season against the Chiefs to set a new single-season touchdown mark for tight ends. Gates also caught a career high three touchdown passes against the Chiefs on Oct. 30, 2005.
Playing for Miami as a rookie in 2005, Ronnie Brown had the longest run of his career, a 65-yard run for a touchdown, against Kansas City.
Donald Butler was named AFC Defensive Player of the Week after registering a 21-yard interception return for a touchdown when the Chargers faced the Chiefs in Arrowhead Stadium on Sept. 30, 2012. Butler also intercepted a botched point after try in the game.
Playing for Baltimore, Jarret Johnson had a career-high two sacks against Kansas City on Sept. 13, 2009. Last November, when the Chargers and Chiefs met in San Diego, Johnson had a sack-forced fumble that was recovered for a touchdown that gave the Bolts a 24-6 lead in an eventual 31-13 win.
Philip Rivers made his 100th-career and 100th-straight start Sept. 30, 2012 at Kansas City. His first completion of that game was the 2,000th of his career. Rivers also surpassed 25,000 career passing yards during the Chiefs contest, which was his 104th-career game. He became the seventh fastest player to reach 25,000 yards.
Rivers completed a team-record 90.0 percent of his passes (18 of 20) in the Chargersí Nov. 1, 2013 win over the Chiefs. On Dec. 12, 2010, Rivers threw his 25th touchdown pass of the season against Kansas City to become the first QB in team history with at least 25 touchdown passes in three straight seasons.
Rivers was named AFC Offensive Player of the Week and SportsIllustrated.comís Offensive Player of the Week after a 22-21 win at Kansas City on Dec. 14, 2008. Rivers rallied the team from a 21-10 deficit in the final 4:55 of the fourth quarter, going 19 of 25 for 199 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions while directing touchdown drives of 89 and 61 yards. He threw a game-winning 10-yard touchdown pass with 0:36 left in the fourth quarter.
Rivers threw his first NFL touchdown pass against the Chiefs on Jan. 2, 2005.
Eric Weddle has four interceptions in the last four games against the Chiefs. One of the four was a game-clinching pick with 55 seconds left in the fourth quarter of a 20-17 win over the Chiefs on Sept. 25, 2011.
Playing for Indianapolis in 2012, Lawrence Guy made his first NFL start against the Chiefs on Dec. 23 and racked up a career-high 10 tackles.
Chargers fullback LeíRon McClain joined the Chargers in 2012 after spending the 2011 season in Kansas City.
Nick Novak kicked in six games for the Chiefs in 2009, hitting six of 10 field goals with a long of 43.
David Whitehurst, father of Chargers quarterback Charlie Whitehurst, played quarterback for the Chiefs in 1984.
Chargersí offensive line coach Joe DíAlessandris spent the 2008-09 seasons as an assistant offensive line coach in Kansas City, his first NFL coaching position.
Assistant Strength and Conditioning Coach Rick Lyle grew up in Kansas City, Missouri.
Offensive quality control coach Nick Sirianni spent the last four seasons coaching in Kansas City, including 2012 as the Chiefsí wide receivers coach and 2009-11 as a quality control coach.
Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith is a native of La Mesa, Calif. and he prepped at Helix High School.
Running backs coach Eric Bienemy played running back for the Chargers from 1991-94. He was a member of the Boltsí AFC Champion squad in 1994.
Philip Rivers game winning drive with 1:24 left on the clock was one of the best game winning drives I’ve ever seen by any QB culminated in a 26-yard touchdown pass to Seyi Ajurotutu #6 Charger WR.
In the win, Rivers accomplished something only Dan Marino and Joe Montana have done before. His 392 yards marked the fourth time he’s surpassed 390 yards in a game this year, the most in NFL history. Overall, he completed 27 of 39 attempts for 392 yards and three touchdowns for a 127.3 passer rating. Through 11 games 2013, Rivers has completed 281 of 397 passes for 3,381 yards, 22 touchdowns and a 106.6 passer rating.
Antonio Gates became only the fourth tight end in NFL history to record 700 catches and 9,000 yards, both of which he recorded in Sunday’s 41-38 victory over the Chiefs.