The AFC West took a funny shape on Halloween night, as Philip Rivers fumbled the ball on the Kansas City 15, with less than two minutes left, something so awful it hasn’t been done in 22 years. Instead of kicking a field goal to win and be 5-2, the Chiefs fought their way into overtime, winning 23-20 and creating a three headed no.1 spot in the division.
Ryan Succop kicked the 30 yard field goal, his second consecutive Halloween night overtime winner, winning a game against the Bills last year. The Chiefs, despite their four turnovers (two Matt Cassel interceptions), found a way to win their fourth game in a row.
They are the first team in NFL history to lose their first three games and at least share a division lead four games later. They are also the first team since the 2000 Pittsburgh Steelers to win four straight after a 0-3 Opening.
But the big story was Rivers. Throwing two interceptions in the first quarter matches his overall form this season, easily his worst since becoming a full time starter. The TD-INT ratio (7-11 so far, 14 turnovers), the QB Rating (80.7) after three straight 100+ seasons. In general, a guy you would probably put as one of the Top 5 quarterbacks in the league is just making mistakes he never did, or avoided most of the time.
It was an ugly game, tying a season high with 8 turnovers, with the biggest play of the game being the post-fumble scrum for the ball. Andy Studebaker came up with the ball, running to the sidelines. And that’s the big difference in the Chiefs this past month. The No Quitting attitude, belief, the regained confidence which took brutal beating during the first three weeks – You never quit, even if it looks ugly. If you quit every time something looks ugly, you miss an opportunity to do something special.
With all that’s going on around the Chargers – Norv Turner getting criticized, most notably by Jets head coach Rex Ryan, the way the seemingly talented, most talented in their division, Chargers dropped their change of winning on Monday Night, having the Packers as their opponents next weekend can’t be good.
A note about Monday Nights – Second ugly game in a week, although still an improvement over the Ravens – Jags from last week. The season is exciting and whole of a lot less predictable in 2011, but the level of play isn’t high. Too many bad teams.