"It's big," Chiefs safety Kendrick Lewis said. "Those guys have done so much for our defense this whole season. We'll see how that works out. Hopefully those guys aren't too bad."
It was a thrilling victory by the Chargers that buoyed their hopes and a damaging defeat for the Chiefs that could have long-range repercussions. Those are the two biggest takeaways from their thrilling game on Sunday. Here are five more:
CHARGERS GROUNDED: The Chargers aired it out in part because running back Ryan Mathews left with a hamstring injury. Chargers coach Mike McCoy did not disclose the severity of the injury, but it appears that he could be out for a while. Danny Woodhead filled in admirably, and McCoy called him "the definition of a football player. Just shows up every day, does his job, doesn't ask too many questions. He just knows what to do."
CHARLES ON THE RUN: Jamaal Charles ran for 115 yards and two touchdowns for the Chiefs, but his true value wasn't just in his stats. He also forced San Diego to load up the box, and that created chances downfield. Donnie Avery had four catches for 91 yards and Bowe had five grabs for 51 yards. "We got some things moving," Smith said. "We just didn't do it enough."
AJIRO-WHO? Ajirotutu figured he had run about six routes all game before he hauled in the winning touchdown pass. He suspected it was coming his way, too. "Philip said, 'Fly on the boundary,' so I knew that's a little code word that he usually says that the ball's coming to you," Ajirotutu said. It was just his third catch of the season, and his first TD since 2010.
SACK STRUGGLES: The Chiefs were on pace to set all kinds of sack records early in the season, and now they can't seem to lay a hand on the quarterback. Safety Eric Berry had their only sack of Rivers on Sunday, just before his TD pass to Ajirotutu, and the loss of Hali and Houston only serves to compound the problem. "Guys need to step up," Chiefs coach Andy Reid said.
ROOKIE WATCH: The Chargers' Keenan Allen had nine catches for 124 yards, shredding the Kansas City secondary in the first half. It was the fourth 100-yard receiving game of the season for the third-round pick. "We get a lot of confidence from this," Allen said. "It's one we needed."
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