Kansas City may have lost a meaningless game to the Chargers, but some Chiefs helped themselves on Sunday.
The Kansas City Chiefs lost to the Los Angeles Chargers 38-21 on Sunday, but ultimately the final score of the game is meaningless going forward. The Chiefs are still the top seed in the AFC and will benefit from the lone first round bye that comes with that title. Yes, it might have been nice to see a better defensive effort in this game, but you simply can’t get too upset about the results of a game where the Chiefs had to play Khalen Saunders at LINEBACKER and often had BoPete Keyes lined up against the Chargers top receiver.
This game wasn’t completely meaningless for the Chiefs, however. Several young players got a great chance to prove their worth in this game. In many ways this game was a lot like the fourth preseason game, in that the final score didn’t matter nearly as much as the opportunities for inexperienced players to cement a role going forward.
There will be plenty of time to dissect the AFC playoff matchups and look at who may or may not be a likely matchup for the Chiefs in the divisional round. Before we fully turn our collective attention to the postseason, I thought I would take a minute to recognize the players who made a case on Sunday to either earn a little playing time in the playoffs or, at the very least, made a strong case to be part of the team’s future.
Before we get the players who made my list, I want to acknowledge the other thing that mattered in this game and that was a couple injuries. Willie Gay Jr. is hopefully not going to be out too long with a sprained ankle, but he missed out on valuable reps that he would have benefited from even if he does make it back for the playoffs. The other big one was Deandre Baker, who broke his femur. Baker would definitely have made this list if not for the injury. Now his status for playing at all next season, let alone for the Chiefs, is in serious jeopardy.
I’d also like to give an honorable mention to BoPete Keyes. While he got picked on a lot in the passing game and gave up too many plays to make this list for me, I thought he competed really hard in a brutal situation. If nothing else he looked solid against the run and had 8 tackles on the day. While I’m sure he’ll beat himself up a little when he watches the tape of some of the passes he allowed, I certainly wouldn’t write him off as a possible contributor next season off this game.
Now let’s get to the guys that did make the list.