Chiefs make a statement with dominant victory over Chargers - KCTV5

Chiefs make a statement with dominant victory over Chargers

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Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Tyreek Hill (10) celebrates his touchdown against the Los Angeles Chargers with teammates during the first half of an NFL football game in Kansas City, Mo., Saturday, Dec. 16, 2017. (AP Photo/Ed Zurga) Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Tyreek Hill (10) celebrates his touchdown against the Los Angeles Chargers with teammates during the first half of an NFL football game in Kansas City, Mo., Saturday, Dec. 16, 2017. (AP Photo/Ed Zurga)

On a night where the Chiefs had individual legacies, futures and the overall season on the line, Kansas City turned in one of the franchise’s most important regular season wins of the last 20 years.

It was a win the Chiefs needed to have, in a season the Chiefs needed to get back on track. While playoff disappointment has somewhat stained head coach Andy Reid and quarterback Alex Smith’s tenure in Kansas City, Saturday’s win is a huge step toward changing that narrative.

Kansas City is now just one victory away from winning the AFC West in back-to-back years, something the franchise has never accomplished. Alex Smith is just one win away from becoming the first Chiefs quarterback in franchise history to make the playoffs four times in a five-year span.

The win marked Andy Reid’s fifth straight non-losing season, the team’s longest non-losing streak since 1989-1997. Regardless of what happens in the future, Saturday’s win solidifies the team’s ability to consistently win regular season games year in, year out under Smith and Reid.

The importance would not be dampened if Kansas City won a tight 13-10 game, but the dominant fashion in which both sides of the ball played, should give fans hope that the team has regained some of their old swagger.

Rookie running back Kareem Hunt continued his dominance over the Chargers by rushing for 155 yards on the ground and 51 yards through the air. He now has 389 all-purpose yards and three touchdowns against Los Angeles this year.

Hunt also cemented his breakthrough 2017 campaign by passing Joe Delany for the most single season rushing yards as a rookie in franchise history. Hunt now has 1,201 yards on the ground with two games left in the season.

Quarterback Alex Smith continued 2017’s trend of ball security and down field passes. He stretched the field again with a 64-yard deep throw to Tyreek Hill, and also didn’t commit a turnover, something his counterpart failed to accomplish. Smith also set a career single-season high for touchdown passes in a season.

His top outside weapon, Hill, continued to show his prowess for making the big play with his 11th career touchdown of 50 or more yards. It was the 15th time in Kansas City’s last 20 games that a player has turned in a touchdown of 50 yards or more.

Hill’s touchdown also put him over 1,000 receiving yards for the season in just his second year, becoming just the ninth Chief wide out to ever reach that mark.

Tight end Travis Kelce is also just nine yards away from reaching the 1,000-yard mark for the second straight year. If he does, Kansa City will become just the fifth team in NFL history to have a wide receiver, tight end and running back all top 1,000 yards in one season.

Defensively, the pass rush showed life with two sacks on the day, an impressive number since Rivers had only been brought down 15 times on the season entering week 15. Then after going four weeks without throwing an interception, Kansas City’s pressure helped force three Rivers turnovers.

Marcus Peters returned from his one-game suspension, and all the third year corner did was force three turnovers on the day.

At the end of the day, these are all just stats that won’t carry over into the playoffs. Fair or unfair, that’s the ultimate measuring stick for this team.

But they still in no way should be minimized, considering Kansas City went weeks without coming anywhere near to meeting the team’s potential. On Saturday, with the season on the line, the entire team reached its potential.

A potent offense was stymied in both the run and pass game, a stingy pass defense was beat often and a rookie running back plowed through a heralded front seven. In a game where so much could have gone wrong, credit deserves to go around when nearly everything goes right.

Now there’s legitimate momentum in the air at Arrowhead. Confidence is back in the offense and defense, and no matter how short-lived it may be, it should never be taken for granted in the NFL.

No regular season win will give Chiefs fans much more confidence in the team’s playoff chances, but looking just at this season, in prime time games with the entire country watching, Kansas City is 5-0.

The Chiefs now have two opportunities to seal the deal. And if Kansas City winds up making noise in the playoffs, Saturday’s win will go down as Kansas City’s turning point.

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