It’s Halloween Day, and the ghosts and goblins will be hitting the streets at about the same time that the ball kicks off in Arrowhead Stadium tonight. If you are stuck walking your little monsters, princesses, and super heroes from door to door, gathering bucket-loads of sweets to be enjoyed at halftime, I feel for you. The rest of us will be at home watching the best costumes of the night. No, I’m not talking about the blessing that is NFL cheerleaders dressed in their Halloween-best. On one side of the field we will see the San Diego Chargers dressed as contenders. On the other side of the field we will see the Kansas City Chiefs dressed as the 2009 Chargers.
For the Chargers, their costume is one that is all too familiar. They have been dressing the part since Philip Rivers took over at QB in 2006. Back then, that contender costume was shiny and new. It fit well and looked sharp, leaving fans excited every time they came knocking on our doors yelling “Trick or Treat!” While previous years were a treat for longtime Chargers fans unfamiliar with repeated success, constant let downs when the season mattered most have felt more like a sad trick repeating itself every year.
Is this current 4-2 start a trick? That may well be determined tonight in Kansas City.
In the Chargers locker room, the compounding injury issues must seem like a trick at best, and a recurring nightmare at worst. Players not playing tonight include Shaun Phillips, Kris Dielman, Luis Castillo, and Larry English, who was recently placed on Injured Reserve. Players who probably won’t be of much help due to injury include Mike Tolbert and Malcolm Floyd, and possibly Marcus McNeil. In reality, the players wearing Chargers uniforms tonight may look like a bunch of guys in costumes, and not the team we have been following for years.
As for the Chiefs, their costume looks eerily familiar. A team coming off of an AFC West crown, immediately facing an uphill battle because of a glut of injuries to key players, but stepping up to win after a brief adjustment period. It looks very 2009-Chargers to me. Their bad start could easily be blamed on injuries and questionable coaching decisions. Yet they have battled back to win their last three games and find themselves playing for first-place tonight.
So the Chiefs have found a way to win after losing starters to injury. Can the Chargers?
Is the depth on the San Diego bench strong enough to maintain their lead in the AFC West? I’m not sure, and that scares me.
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