The first thing we have to get out of the way after Thursday night’s game is that the Chiefs had absolutely zero business winning this football game. Andy Reid forgot he had the best quarterback in the NFL for the first two drives, and even when he did remember who his quarterback was Mahomes wasn’t as sharp as he would like to be.
Nonetheless the Chiefs managed to pull a rabbit out of the hat and got themselves to 2-0 on the year with an early season divisional winning against the Chargers. Remember this win for later in the season because the Chargers in all likelihood will be battling for a high seed in the playoffs and this game could have some pretty major tie-breaker implications.
Let’s get into winners and losers for Thursday Night Football.
Winner: The Defense
The Chiefs surrendering 24 points is not at all indicative of how they played. Quite frankly the defense played their asses off and were the only reason the offense even had a chance to take the lead. The defense was operating like the government with all the bailouts they gave the offense.
After surrendering 10 quick points on the first two possessions, the Chargers scored only once on their next eight drives not including the kneel down to end the half.
It doesn’t get much better than that especially when you’re playing a quarterback like Justin Herbert. These guys are young, fast, physical and will not back down. It’s definitely a promising sign for a defense that had a ton of question marks to start the season.
Loser: Bryan Cook
Bryan Cook landed himself on the loser side on Thursday after a stupid mistake that legitimately almost cost the Chiefs costs.
After the Chiefs kicked a field goal to tie the game was hit with a personal foul penalty for smacking a Chargers player in the face on the ensuing kickoff. That gave the Chargers the ball at the 40 yard-line to start the drive and if it wasn’t for Gerald Everett being dog tired and Jaylen Watson getting a pick six the Chiefs would have been trailing early in the fourth quarter instead of leading.
A note for the rookie. Don’t do stupid stuff in a critical moment of the game.
Winner: Frank Clark
A week after being pretty much a no-show against the Cardinals and ending up on the loser side of the list, Clark put together a better performance on Thursday. It wasn’t the stat stuffer that we’re all waiting for but he was credited with a QB hit.
Not only that, but he had some good pass rush reps down the stretch especially on the Chargers final drive. Like I said last week it was only week one, and there was no reason to be overly concerned. Hopefully he takes this performance and we will start to see him finish these pressures and turn them into sacks.
Loser: Asante Samuel Jr.
Realistically, and there’s no way anyone can debate this, the Chargers in all likelihood would have won this game if their secondary could actually catch the ball.
Asante Samuel Jr. had an interception that was ultimately overturned by replay, and immediately led to a touchdown for the Chiefs after getting a second chance at life.
Samuel then dropped what would have been a sure fire pick-six in the end zone the following possession that would have kept the Chiefs from tying the game.
Outside of two dropped interceptions Samuel played really well. Unfortunately those dropped interceptions proved costly for the Chargers.
Winner: Amazon Prime
Holy cow what a masterclass performance from the crew at Amazon Prime. From the broadcast crew all the way down to the production team. Because it’s a streaming service there will eventually be an outage or lagging or some kind of buffering at some point in the season so just get prepared. But to have zero problems in your debut is excellent for fans.
Not to mention they gave viewers the option of viewing the game with “TNF Prime Vision” which showed camera angles from the All-22 camera. Highlighting players on the field, a dynamic win probability tracker and player tracking as well. Me personally I was fine with the player tracking to see the full path an individual took on a given play, but I would prefer they do one or the other because as my girlfriend put it, it’s really cool, but there’s too much going on.
Also showing EPA numbers is a nerds dream. The All-22 camera is far and away the biggest win out of this viewing option. Writers, analysts and die hard football fans have been BEGGING to see the whole field and routes developing downfield and where running lanes open up. NBC dabbled in it a couple times, but for some reason went away from it. And if that’s not for you, that’s fine and the option of the traditional broadcast is there.
Most importantly none of the pre and post-game crew had any kind of analysis that was just flat out wrong or bad process. We’ll see how long that lasts though.
Look it’s only week two, but after the stuff everyone heard from analysts, looking at you James Jones, about how the Chargers were such a better team than Kansas City this isn’t the best look for them.
Again, it’s only week two and it’s a long season, but those who though the Chargers were better and were going to win the division and all of these other things they needed the Chargers to win this game. Championship teams make the plays that the Chargers failed to make tonight. The Chiefs made the plays they needed to and the Chargers didn’t and that’s the difference between the two teams.
It’ll be interesting what the talking heads resort to next time to invalidate how good the Chiefs are.