Chargers vs. Chiefs Week 15 Winners and Losers
Thursday’s game was a tough pill to swallow because, for all I could feel at the time, it was a phenomenal performance against a division rival. It was like a victory. It should have been a victory. But the reality says the opposite.
Justin Herbert played as always. But it was the play of forced reinforcements in the fold that impressed me the most. The backing offensive lineman has done a hell of a job. To run the ball so well against what has been the NFL’s stingiest defense since week eight? Well done.
It’s the fact that, despite the loss, I had a lot of players who deserved to be highlighted in the “Surge or Static?” ” from this week.
That being said, let’s go ahead and get into this thing. Here are the players this week who have either “leaped forward” or remained “static” with their game against the Chiefs.
EDGE Uchenna Nwosu
Dude, Nwosu has really happened lately. Two weeks after forcing and recovering a crucial fumble in the team’s win over the Bengals, he caught a Mahomes pass inside the Chiefs’ own 10-yard line to set up an Austin Ekeler touchdown that gave the Chargers the lead late.
While Joey Bosa has been normally disruptive himself, Nwosu has truly become the bookend this team has been needing him for quite some time. With a smooth game against the Texans this week, Nwosu has another great opportunity to build on his positive momentum.
Rb justin jackson
With Ekeler hampered by an ankle injury, Jackson received 13 carries, a team record, and turned it into 86 yards (6.6 ypc), including many big chunks. The backup runner-up spot has been on hold all season and it finally looks like Jackson is making a firm claim to his job.
We’ve always known Jackson was very talented, but he was one of the less fortunate players on the team when it comes to staying healthy. This season he’s been readily available most of the weeks and it’s great to watch him blossom. Of course, he was the team’s first running back in that spectacular victory over the Chiefs at Arrowhead just three years ago. If this team plays their cards right, they can put Ekeler down and make it through to this year’s playoffs while using Jackson more down the stretch.
OT Trey Pipkins
Can we all take a moment to realize what I’m doing here? Pipkins rightfully played well enough not only to not hurt the offense, but he really helped pave the way for a big game on Thursday night. The team finished with 192 rushing yards on 39 carries and their ability to keep the chains moving without putting more pressure on Justin Herbert was vital in getting the Chargers to rally to a 10-0 deficit.
This game alone could actually be what keeps Pipkins going longer than this year and honestly, if he keeps playing the way he did tonight, then maybe there is something after all.
Marshall was forced to start snaps for two consecutive weeks with Derwin James hampered by a hamstring injury. In both games, he fell into the cover of a tight end and watched said tight end catch a pass and scold for over 60 yards. Fortunately, one of those two games was against a team the Chargers knew they would beat anyway.
Marshall is only on the pitch because Alohi Gilman is yet to recover from a quadriceps injury he suffered almost a month ago. Injury devastated that high school and while Marshall, Davontae Harris and Kemon Hall were “fine” for much of Thursday’s game, they couldn’t get the Chiefs’ offense under control long enough.
It’s not that any of us would have expected a GOOD game from Marshall, but an average performance where he didn’t fall on the face would have left fans satisfied.
CB Chris Harris Jr.
After enjoying one of his best games of the season against the Giants, Harris’s age and lack of speed manifested themselves Thursday night against the Chiefs. His poor performance was only highlighted as he was on the wrong side of one of Mahomes’ best plays of the night he slipped out of a possible Harris sack before rushing forward and hitting Kelce for one. great first down conversion.
The veteran was the only defenseman for the Chargers to miss multiple tackles overnight while allowing five of six targets to be completed. He was able to limit those receptions to 38 total yards, but he was also called up for defensive pass interference that helped Kansas City move straight onto the field in their first practice of the second quarter.
Harris has been great against some teams, but he’s a handicap against a Chiefs team based on speed, speed and more speed.