Key takeaways from first half of Chiefs vs. Chargers Week 3

·3 min read

The Kansas City Chiefs couldn’t get out of their own way in the first half of play, turning the football over on three consecutive offensive drives. They’re beating themselves in every possible sense of the phrase right now. They’ll get the ball to start the second half, but they find themselves in a 10-point hole with the Chargers leading 14-3.

Here are our biggest takeaways from the first half of the Chiefs’ first AFC West matchup:

Mistakes still costing Kansas City

Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

The Kansas City Chiefs started the game out flawlessly. The defense forced a much-needed three-and-out to get some confidence after their struggles in the previous week. The offense was matriculating the ball down the field in the most classic sense when a huge mistake cost the team the possession and points. Marcus Kemp was wide open and Mahomes hit him in the hands with the ball, but instead of a catch, he popped the ball up. Chargers rookie corner Asante Samuel Jr. made a diving interception. The Chiefs forced another punt, but from there everything began to snowball. Another turnover from Kansas City on a Tyreek Hill fumble (his first in over 300 touches) and a penalty put Los Angeles on the edge of Chiefs territory and set them up for their first score of the game. Another Clyde Edwards-Helaire fumble made for three consecutive turnovers on offense and a 14-0 lead for Los Angeles. You can't keep making these types of mistakes and expect to win games if you're Kansas City. There also has to be some accountability when it goes from a one-time occurrence to a trend.

Run defense improves, pass rush and red zone defense not so much

Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

For what it's worth, the run defense has looked a lot better through the start of this game. They've only allowed 9 carries for 13 yards to running backs and receivers. They've also not been in too many short-yardage situations. The line is getting off blocks and the second level is flowing to the ball much better. The pass rush, for the second consecutive game, has been non-existent. The closest thing to pressure we've seen is Chris Jones bumping into Justin Herbert after the ball is already out. The red zone defense remains an Achilles heel for this team. The Chiefs defense has allowed two touchdowns in the red zone so far this game. They've now allowed 10 touchdowns in the red zone this season, which isn't very sustainable. The defense is showing signs of improvement against the run. They've helped keep this game within reach while the offense has collectively decided to put the ball on the ground. It's clear that there is still a lot of room for improvement, though. Especially when it comes to their play in the red zone.

Somehow this disaster is only a 10-point game

Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

This game is, surprisingly, still within reach for Kansas City. We've seen Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs offense come from behind to win against larger deficits and greater odds before. We know how quickly they can score and push the ball down the field. Do they have the intestinal fortitude to be able to make a comeback and win this game, though? It's going to take flawless execution from the offense, which is something we haven't seen so far during this game. It's also going to take the defense forcing more punts, and possibly a turnover in order to get these guys going. Momentum can shift on a moment's notice in the NFL and the Chiefs are certainly capable of stripping it away from the Chargers under the right circumstances at home.

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