Chiefs vs. Chargers game preview: Joey Bosa’s dominance is a big concern for K.C.

CARSON, CA - SEPTEMBER 09: Philip Rivers #17 of the Los Angeles Chargers makes a pass against the Kansas City Chiefs at StubHub Center on September 9, 2018 in Carson, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
CARSON, CA - SEPTEMBER 09: Philip Rivers #17 of the Los Angeles Chargers makes a pass against the Kansas City Chiefs at StubHub Center on September 9, 2018 in Carson, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images) /
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CARSON, CALIFORNIA – NOVEMBER 03: Keenan Allen #13 of the Los Angeles Chargers makes a reception against Jaire Alexander #23 of the Green Bay Packers during the first half at Dignity Health Sports Park on November 03, 2019 in Carson, California. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images) /

The Chargers have a dangerous receiving corp

One thing Rivers has done well this year is spread the ball around, with four skill players receiving 15 percent or more of his total passing production. The first and most obvious target is Keenan Allen. Allen has a penchant for trash talk, but has backed it up for the most part this season.

Through 10 games Allen has commanded nearly 26 percent of Rivers total yardage with 725 receiving yards, and he is on pace for the third highest mark of his career. His touchdowns are down, likely due in part to Rivers declining production, but is still commanding 21 percent of Rivers total touchdowns. He’s likely to secure another bid to the Pro Bowl this season and he’ll be a handful for the Chiefs secondary.

On the other side is big-bodied receiver Mike Williams. Williams has been a mostly inconsistent wide receiver in his early career. That didn’t stop him from having a huge game against the Chiefs last season. Bob Sutton had no answer for Williams, who recorded 7 catches for 76 yards, 2 touchdowns and one catch for a critical two-point conversion that ultimately sealed the victory.

This season, Williams has developed more consistency. He’s currently commanding 21 percent of Rivers total yardage with 585 yards and is on pace for a career high of 975 yards. Oddly enough, after catching 10 touchdowns from Rivers last season amounting to 31 percent of Rivers total touchdowns, Williams hasn’t caught a single touchdown pass in 2019. Even so, he should reasonably be one of Rivers primary red zone targets on Monday given his size.

Don’t forget Hunter Henry and Melvin Gordon. Henry isn’t Travis Kelce, but he’s a matchup nightmare nonetheless and while only playing six games has commanded 14 percent of Rivers total yardage and 3 touchdowns.

Gordon’s stats haven’t been near as impressive as Chiefs fans might expect, with Gordon missing the first four games because of his holdout, but make no mistake, he’s a dynamic running back who can give the Chiefs linebackers trouble in coverage. Ironically, Gordon isn’t the running back I’d expect Steve Spagnuolo is most worried about heading into Monday’s game.

Austin Ekeler has been dynamic out of the backfield

The most dynamic running back and likely best offensive player through 10 games has been none other than Austin Ekeler. Ekeler had absolutely zero fanfare coming out of Western State in 2017. Consequently, 27 running backs were taken in the 2017 NFL Draft and not a single one was Ekeler. After joining the Chargers following the draft, rumor has it he made the team largely because of his performance in the final preseason game.

Since then he has mostly been overshadowed by Gordon. This shouldn’t surprise anyone, as Gordon has rushed for nearly 1,000 yards and 9 touchdowns the last two seasons. He’s not a top-five back, but he’s a top-10 back by most estimates in the NFL.

This is likely what prompted Gordon’s holdout this off season. We all know a running back’s shelf life is short, and Gordon hoped to cash in while he felt like he was a hot commodity. The holdout stretched far longer than most expected and Ekeler has taken every advantage.

Through 10 games, sharing carries in 6 with Gordon, Ekeler leads the team in rushing with 340 yards and 3 touchdowns. What’s more impressive than his rushing ability are his hands in the passing game. He’s caught 57 passes, which amounts to 24 percent of Rivers’ completions, for 559 yards and 6 touchdowns.

The Chiefs have struggled to contain talented running backs this season. I would hope this weekend Spagnuolo doubles down on stopping the run, and the running backs in general, and forces Rivers to beat us.