As midnight approaches on the East Coast, the Kansas City Chiefs have ambushed their division rivals from San Diego through 30 minutes of action.
The Chiefs lead the Chargers at halftime, 21-7.
It seemed early on that the Chargers would systematically pull away from the perpetually-rebuilding Chiefs, seizing a 7-0 lead on a touchdown pass from quarterback Philip Rivers to tight end Antonio Gates. But then the skies opened up over Missouri, and the Chiefs eventually rained three scores on the Lightning Bolts.
After starting the game with a pair of three-and-out drives, the Chiefs made their third time a charm, via three runs that covered 70 yards, including a 56-yard touchdown jaunt from running back Jamaal Charles. After the teams traded two punts each, Chargers rookie running back Ryan Mathews fumbled, the Chiefs recovered at the San Diego 12, and three plays later quarterback Matt Cassel floated a two-yard touchdown pass to tight end Tony Moeaki — and the new Arrowhead Stadium was a-rockin’.
Three total three-and-out drives later, Chiefs rookie Dexter McCluster took a punt at his own six, and he made a cut to the outside that induced a slip-n-slide move from Chargers special-teamer Mike Tolbert, springing McCluster for a 94-yard score.
There’s plenty of time for the Chargers to pull it out. But there’s a new feeling in the air in Kansas City. After 4-12 in 2007 and 2-14 in 2008 and 4-12 in 2009, there’s a sense that times are changing for the Chiefs — to the obvious chagrin of the other three teams in the AFC West.