Patrick Mahomes isn’t only thing Chargers should be afraid of Thursday night

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The Los Angeles Chargers are in for a rude awakening against the Kansas City Chiefs rushing attack on Thursday night.

On a short week, you can bet Brandon Staley has been watching a lot of film on his Week 2 opponent — the Kansas City Chiefs.

Faced with the reality of life without Tyreek Hill, Kansas City was more creative and diverse than ever with their rushing attack Week 1 against the Cardinals. Andy Reid and Co. ran out of sets with four different personnel groups, which was one more than the norm last year.

22 personnel (two running backs, two tight ends, one receiver) and 13 personnel (one running back, three tight ends, one receiver) could prove dangerous against a Los Angeles defense which struggled against these groups last season. In Week 1, Kansas City went with these personnel groups on 20 percent of their plays, per USA Today.

Chiefs running game should scare the Chargers

Clyde Edwards-Helaire and Isiah Pacheco excelled in Kansas City’s rushing attack, with Pacheco gaining 66 yards on 12 carries (he also scored a touchdown). 33 of those yards came in 22 personnel.

Why is that relevant? Namely, the Chargers struggled last season against 22 personnel, giving up more yards and touchdowns than any other team.

Reid and Eric Bieniemy know this, and will put Staley’s defense to the test early and often. When asked why the Chiefs are so difficult to defend, Staley acknowledged that guarding all five skill-position players as well as the quarterback is nearly impossible.

“Because you have to defend all five people and the quarterback. Any time all five people are a legitimate threat to do something with the football down there, and you have to account for the quarterback, you’re maximizing your chances of being an outstanding red zone team. They run the football well down there because they can run it, and they can get the RPO version of the game, so they can change the math, even the math out down there. They’re an outstanding screen team. A very, very tough cover. That’s why they’re such a good football team.”

The Chargers use plenty of light fronts, especially against teams with quarterbacks as talented as Mahomes. A play-action fake could otherwise leave Los Angeles’ secondary vulnerable at any moment.

But that’s the thing about the Chiefs this season — by no means do they need to be so pass-heavy. Expect Reid to target the Chargers weakness early and often.

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