Let’s look at what we learned about the Kansas City Chiefs in their first home game of the 2022 season—in Week 2 against the L.A. Chargers.
The AFC West race is officially on.
The Los Angeles Chargers came into Arrowhead Stadium against the Kansas City Chiefs on Thursday knowing that the early lead for this season’s division title. The difference this year is that every team has/had legitimate reasons to believe that it could be the winner in 2022 following an “all-in” offseason for each franchise.
After the Raiders and Broncos lost in Week 1, the winner on Thursday Night Football was going to enjoy a nice lead. The Chiefs came out in a thrilling and often messy game to stand as the leader alone at the top of the standings with an extra few days before facing the Indianapolis Colts on the road in Week 3.
There’s a lot to unpack from a competitive game that went back and forth, but the Chiefs are ultimately 2-0. That’s what matters even if the whole night wasn’t all fun and games for Chiefs Kingdom.
Short weeks can mess with teams
If you were scratching your head early and often during the game, you could have been a fan of either team. Whether you were rooting for the Chargers (no one here, of course) or the Chiefs, both franchises came out looking a bit flat and certainly not the way we’re used to seeing either team. You have to wonder how much a short week played a part in things.
For the Chiefs, the first half was an abysmal 30 minutes of football. The playcalling was remarkably conservative and featured as many touches from fullback Michael Burton as the entire new wide receiving trio of Skyy Moore, JuJu Smith-Schuster, and Marquez Valdes-Scantling. Coming off of such a dominating win over the Arizona Cardinals in Week 1, the Chiefs looked timid offensively and the play calls followed suit.
Even the Chargers looked a bit “off” in terms of their normal aggressive approach. Many analysts were wondering where Brandon Staley went after the Chargers head coach decided to allow his specialists to do their work instead of going for it on multiple fourth-down calls. That’s not to say they were unwise decisions, but the more conservative approach (we’re sensing a theme here) flew in the face of expectations laid last season.