The Kansas City Chiefs are back to .500 after stealing a game from the San Diego Charger..."/> The Kansas City Chiefs are back to .500 after stealing a game from the San Diego Charger..."/>

Ten Quick Thoughts On The Chiefs’ Win Over The Chargers

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2. Santos got the monkey off of his back.

I’ll be honest with you. I was over the Santos experiment very early in the year. He didn’t do himself any favors. Santos missed two of his first four attempts (one of those misses was one of the worst field goal tries in recent memory). On Sunday afternoon, Santos proved that his critics — present company included — may have been a bit reactionary. The Brazilian-born placekicker made three attempts in San Diego. His final attempt, the game-winner, was true from 48 yards. Santos can now go into the rest of the season with confidence and some momentum.

3. The secondary is no longer a liability.

Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

Several of my loyal readers expressed a deep concern about the secondary in the preseason. It looked like they might be the weakest link in coordinator Bob Sutton’s defensive chain. Over the past four weeks, they’ve been anything but. Ron Parker and Sean Smith are exceeding expectations at their respective spots (more on the two of them later). Everyone thought the loss of three-time Pro Bowler Eric Berry would be devastating to the secondary. Surprisingly, it hasn’t been.

Make no mistake, Kansas City’s anxious to get Berry back on the field, but this bunch has given Reid the option of bringing Berry along slowly. He practiced twice last week, but was ultimately inactive for Sunday’s game. As a unit, the Chiefs pass defense is ranked second in the NFL (surrendering only 209 yards per contest). Much of that can be attributed to relentless pressure from Justin Houston and Tambi Hali, but the defensive backs also deserve credit for how they’ve played.

4. Phillip Gaines may be this year’s Marcus Cooper.

The Chiefs knew early in the week that slot corner Chris Owens would miss this game with an LCL sprain. The opportunity to play nickel immediately fell to third-round draft pick Phillip Gaines. The former Rice Owl hadn’t done anything to distinguish himself on defense through the first five games, but with Owens out, he was thrust into the lineup. Much to Reid’s delight, Gaines played unexpectedly well.

In Sunday’s contest, Rivers threw at Gaines five times. None of those passes were completed. He’d already shown himself to be a valuable part of the special teams puzzle. It appears he may also have be ready to contribute something defensively. John Dorsey may have another player with the potential to eventually become a No. 1 corner on his hands. Gaines has the speed, the intangibles, and even the preferred height and length Chiefs brass want in a cornerback. Though unlike Cooper, Gaines wasn’t intimidated in his first meeting with one of the top quarterbacks in the league and looked to have experience beyond his years.

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