The Chiefs looked dead in the water following their 24-3 deficit to the Chargers in the middle of the third quarter. But Kansas City got the better end of its AFC West rival, and pulled off the largest comeback in franchise history after Alex Smith's two-yard rushing touchdown on the first possession in overtime. Here's what we learned in the Chiefs' exciting 33-27 victory.
- The Chargers' offense was rolling in the first half, racing out to a 21-3 lead and had the ball for one final possession before half. Then, disaster struck. Fourth-year wide receiver Keenan Allen, Philip Rivers' favorite target, was carted off with a suspected ACL tear. Allen was manhandling promising corner Marcus Peters, racking 63 yards on six grabs before going down. San Diego was unable to find the end zone once Allen went to the locker room.
The injury elevated Travis Benjamin to the top wideout spot on the depth chart. He was able to reel in five receptions after Allen's exit, but only mustered a miniscule 16 yards out of them. Without their most talented pass catcher, the Chargers had difficulty spreading out the field. San Diego's offensive ineptitude in the second half was a major reason behind the Chiefs rallying from 21 points down.
- Jamaal Charles did not suit up for the Chiefs, but their healthy backs had no problem filling in. Given that Kansas City is not a strong come-from-behind team, it was encouraging to see Spencer Ware and Charcandrick West have strong roles in the second half. Ware on the ground had 70 yards and a score, but the duo did most of their damage through the air. The two tailbacks drew Manti Te'o in coverage a lot of the time, and the Chargers linebacker had a very difficult time keeping up with them. In all, Ware and West combined for 13 catches and 153 receiving yards, and gave Alex Smith a nice safety valve when they were on the field.
- Welcome to the end zone, Melvin Gordon. The Chargers running back posted a goose egg in the touchdown column in his rookie season, but on his 220th career touch, the Wisconsin product finally found pay dirt. Getting that monkey off his back was nice, but Gordon looked like a completely different runner in the early stages of this game. He generated a multitude of yards after contact, and looked like a force to be reckoned with. On eight first-half carries, Gordon accumulated 39 yards and two scores. The second half was a different story, as the second-year back only had 18 yards on six totes. It still was an encouraging start nonetheless to Gordon's sophomore campaign.
- You think the Chiefs missed Justin Houston? Kansas City's pass rush was nonexistent in the first half, allowing Rivers to effortlessly dissect the secondary. It wasn't much better in the second half, although Dee Ford sacked Rivers with under a minute remaining in regulation. San Diego's offensive line had the advantage over Ford, a 32-year-old Tamba Hali and journeyman Frank Zombo for most of the day. Houston is projected for a mid-season return, and the Chiefs will have to find other methods over the next few contests to replace his production.