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#pounditSunday, May 19, 2024

Chargers players appear to call out coaching staff after Chiefs loss

Brandon Staley wearing a headset

Oct 31, 2021; Inglewood, California, USA; Los Angeles Chargers head coach Brandon Staley looks on during the second half against the New England Patriots at SoFi Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Chargers had no answers for Patrick Mahomes and Travis Kelce on Sunday, and there seemed to be some finger-pointing going on after the game.

Mahomes threw for 424 yards and 4 touchdown passes to lead the Kansas City Chiefs to a 31-17 win over the Chargers. Kelce had one of the best games of his career with 12 catches for 179 yards and a touchdown. The star tight end did most of his damage in the first half, when L.A. chose to predominantly play zone defense.

The Chargers had more success against Kelce in the second half when they began using more man-to-man coverage. Chargers cornerback Michael Davis said L.A. made life easy for Kelce in the first half, when Kelce had 9 catches for 143 yards.

“We played zone,” Davis said, per Daniel Popper of The Athletic. “(Kelce) just goes to the spot and turns around. It has nothing to do with Travis. It’s us. We got to get on their ass. When you come down and you play the Chiefs, you got to come out and play man and get on their ass.”

Several of Davis’ teammates felt the same way. Safety Derwin James, who covered Kelce for much of the second half, said the Chargers played “a little bit too much zone” in the first half before switching things up. Cornerback Ja’Sir Taylor said the Chargers realized in the second half that Kelce was “eating up the zone like he usually does.”

None of that reflects well on head coach Brandon Staley. If everyone on the Chargers knew how much of an issue it would be to try to stop Mahomes and Kelce with zone coverages, why were so many called? Staley essentially said it did not matter.

“We played plenty of man in the first half, too,” Staley told reporters. “I feel like no matter what scheme we were in in the first half from a coverage standpoint — man, pattern match, zone — (Mahomes) was able to create plays post-snap outside the pocket.”

Defense was not the only issue for the Chargers. They did not score a single point in the second half as the defense made the appropriate adjustments and kept them in the game. Still, it is concerning when several players openly question the game plan.

Staley has made some massive mistakes over the past two seasons that have led many to believe he is coaching for his job. With the Chargers now 2-4, the seat under him is warmer than ever.

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