We were so busy focusing on the The Phumble late last night that we didn’t get to everything else we learned from the most thrilling Monday Night game of the year:
1. It took Jonathan Baldwin a while to play this year, but it was worth the wait. The rookie first-round pick’s home debut was sensational, with five catches for 82 yards, including a leaping 39-yard score.
Baldwin couldn’t come up with another two grabs, but he displayed athleticism and big play ability. He changes the Chiefs offense. They have another physical threat opposite Dwayne Bowe. Perhaps they can move Steve Breaston to the slot.
The Chiefs started the year as a very limited offense, but they are starting to find answers.
2. Another answer: running back Jackie Battle. The hard-charging former fourth-string player had 43 yards rushing on Kansas City’s key touchdown drive to start the fourth quarter. He’s not a flashy runner, but he’s rugged and rather symbolic of this whole Chiefs team.
3. On one hand, Philip Rivers was almost impressive in this game. He clearly didn’t have his fastball throughout and his accuracy was off. He still made incredible plays in the fourth quarter to put his team in position to win before The Phumble happened.
The other side: Rivers’ first interception was because of a high throw. He missed other throws throughout the night that he usually makes. He leads the league in interceptions. Something is off with this offense and Rivers hasn’t looked comfortable for weeks.
4. Chiefs cornerback Brandon Flowers may have made the Pro Bowl in this game. What a performance against Vincent Jackson and the rest of the Chargers receivers. Tamba Hali was also dominant. Chargers left tackle Marcus McNeill was just called for another penalty.
5. Kansas City struggled to get plays in throughout the night. Todd Haley blamed it on “fuzzy” headsets. Haley was seen screaming an expletive just before halftime to someone on his headset. Matt Cassel, who played a nice game overall, was frustrated throughout because of the slow calls.
6. Haley deserves a lot of credit for bringing this team back from the dead. (Even if he looks like he came back from the dead.) They looked like the worst team in the league through two weeks. No team in NFL history has gone from 0-3 to first place so fast.
7. San Diego came into the game with injuries, and they left with running back Ryan Mathews (groin) and running back Curtis Brinkley (concussion) both banged up. The Chargers may have found something with Brinkley. He helped key the comeback with an amazing catch and some tough running.
8. It’s easy to see Kansas City winning the next two weeks to get to 6-3. They host Miami and Denver at Arrowhead the next games.
9. The more I watch the AFC West, the more I’m convinced only one team is getting into the playoffs from the division.