The Kansas City Chiefs keep rolling along, notching a fourth straight win by defeating the San Diego Chargers, 33-3, at Qualcomm Stadium.
The Chiefs (5-5) dominated the game from the onset with a formula that has worked the past month: Punishing defense and ground game.
Since allowing 31.2 points per game in Weeks 1-4, the Chiefs have allowed 12.2 points per game in the last six games.
The defense is a perfect complement to the running attack, which didn’t skip a beat after running back Charcandrick West left in the third quarter with a hamstring injury. Spencer Ware stepped up and gouged the Chargers with 96 yards and two touchdowns on 11 carries.
The Chiefs’ win sets up a big showdown with heavy playoff implications in Week 12 against the Buffalo Bills at Arrowhead Stadium. The Bills (5-4) play the New England Patriots on Monday Night Football.
Here are highs and lows from Sunday’s game against the Chargers:
• The Chiefs got creative at the goal line on fourth-and-1 in the first quarter, lining up defensive tackle Dontari Poe in the backfield as a lead blocker for running back Charcandrick West.
Poe, who weighs 346 pounds, took the handoff from quarterback Alex Smith and dove over the pile for a 1-yard touchdown.
The play marked Poe’s first offensive touchdown and he became the first Chiefs defensive player to score a touchdown on offense since CB Javier Arenas ran in a 7-yard score at Oakland on Oct. 23, 2011.
Poe, the first defensive player in the NFL to score an offensive touchdown in 2015, set the NFL record as the heaviest player to score an offensive touchdown, which was previously held by the 336-pound William “Refrigerator” Perry.
• Quarterback Alex Smith set a new team record with 234 straight pass attempts without an interception when he found running back Charcandrick West for a 47-yard completion.
Smith finished the day completing 20 of 25 passes for 253 yards, pushing his streak of pass attempts without an interception to 253.
The last time Smith threw an interception came in Week 3’s contest against the Green Bay Packers.
• The Chiefs outside linebackers excelled against the Chargers.
Tamba Hali recorded two sacks, giving him 85 sacks on his 10-year career and moves him into a tie in 49th place with former NFL defensive end Osi Umenyiora for most sacks in NFL history. The 32-year-old Hali ranks 10th in total sacks among active players, and his 13 ½ career sacks against the Chargers are the most against any team Hali has faced.
Justin Houston notched his second interception of the season, and returned it 17 yards a touchdown. The touchdown is the first defensive score of Houston’s five-year career. Houston finished the contest with one tackle, an interception, a pass defensed and the touchdown.
• Running back Spencer Ware came up big after Charcandrick West left the game in the third quarter with a right hamstring injury.
Ware established a career-high 52-yard run, en route to 96 yards rushing and two touchdowns on 11 attempts. He added one catch for 5 yards, giving him 101 total yards on the game.
With Ware leading the way, the Chiefs rushed for 153 yards and three touchdowns on 31 carries, good for a 4.9 yards per rush.
• The Chiefs sported white-on-white uniforms with red socks for a second straight road game. Since going with the look, the team has scored 62 total points while allowing 16 total points.
• The Chiefs had two drives sputter inside the Chargers’ 10-yard line in the second quarter and had to settle for Cairo Santos field goals from 28 and 24 yards, respectively.
• In a league that stresses safety and legal hits, the officials missed a clear helmet-to-helmet hit when Chargers safety Jahleel Addae blasted Chiefs wide receiver Jeremy Maclin, who was defenseless coming across the middle. Maclin went to the sideline to undergo the concussion protocol, but was able to finish the game.
• The Chiefs didn’t escape the injury bug, as outside linebacker Dee Ford suffered a back injury during pregame warmups and was inactive, wide receiver DeAnthony Thomas suffered a concussion early in the first quarter and running back Charcandrick West sustained a hamstring injury.