鈥?The Kansas City Chiefs played so well without Marcus Peters last week that some wondered whether they were better off without the talented yet volatile All-Pro cornerback.Peters provided quite an answer to that question Saturday night.Returning from a one-game disciplinary suspension Authentic Scooter Gennett Jersey , Peters picked off Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers twice and caused another fumble in a dazzling performance. Kansas City added another interception of Rivers and rolled on offense to a 30-13 victory and a stronghold on the AFC West lead.“Marcus went out there and played lights-out football,” said Chiefs safety Ron Parker, who had the other pick. “I think he came back with an ego. He wanted to prove to us that he missed us.”He proved it with his actions, even if he didn’t want to say it in words.Peters refused to speak to reporters this week, then declined to speak again after the game, even though players can be subject to fines if they do not handle media responsibilities.There were plenty of others in the Chiefs’ locker room willing to speak for him, though.“Definitely not surprised,” said Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith, who threw for 231 yards and two scores. “He’s such a competitor on top of what kind of player he is. He’s got amazing ability, he has such great feel for the game 鈥?just a heck of a competitor.”But that competitiveness had boiled over in recent weeks, and led to embarrassing incident in New York when he chucked an officials’ flag into the stands during a loss to the Jets. Those antics, and a blowup with an assistant coach on the team bus, earned him a one-game suspension from coach Andy Reid.“He has a chip on his shoulder. That’s how he plays the game,” Chiefs cornerback Darrelle Revis said. “Coming back from his suspension, really contributing to this win Cheap Minkah Fitzpatrick Jersey , it’s big.”Kareem Hunt had 155 yards rushing and a touchdown, and hauled in seven catches for 51 yards and another score, as Kansas City (8-6) beat the Chargers (7-7) for the eighth straight time.Now, they need only win one of their final two games to clinch the AFC West and a playoff berth.The Chargers, meanwhile, have to win out and get a lot of help if they want to reach the postseason, a disappointing turn of events for a team that had already dug out from a 0-4 start.“At this point we don’t control our own destiny,” Chargers coach Anthony Lynn said. “We lost that today. We can win out but we need some help. All we can control is these next two weeks.”TYREEK THE FREAK: Chiefs WR Tyreek Hill showed off his speed on a 64-yard touchdown catch, beating Chargers CB Casey Hayward. It was Hill’s seventh touchdown reception of the season. “He almost overthrew me,” Hill said of Smith’s throw. “I went to the sidelines and gave him crap for it.”INJURY WOES: Chargers LB Denzel Perryman (hamstring), S Adrian Phillips (ankle), DT Corey Liuget (knee) and LT Russell Okung (groin) were among those to go down Saturday night. RB Austin Ekeler also hurt his hand after fumbling the ball away in the second half. “We had a bunch of guys come out of the game today,” Rivers said. “That’s not an excuse but that certainly didn’t help.”DIVISION DOMINANCE: Reid improved to 10-3 against the Chargers, including his time with Philadelphia, while Smith improved to 7-1. The organization’s streak of eight consecutive wins ties the franchise record of eight straight over the Chargers from 1990-93.STILL CLIMBING: Rivers’ lone touchdown pass went to Antonio Gates Ender Inciarte Jersey , the 86th time he’s connected with his trusty tight end. That broke a tie with the 49ers’ Steve Young and Jerry Rice for the second-most connections between a quarterback and pass-catcher, trailing only Peyton Manning and Marvin Harrison. The longtime Colts teammates connected for 112 touchdowns.LOOKING AHEAD: The Chiefs can clinch the AFC West with a win over the Dolphins next Sunday, while the Chargers head to the Meadowlands to face the Jets with fading postseason hopes. “Just keep going,” Rivers said. “We’ve got two games left. Finish it the right way.” Three years ago, a little-known and undersized running back out of Abilene Christian led the Kansas City Chiefs in rushing, filling in admirably for an injured Jamaal Charles.
These days, Charcandrick West finds himself fighting for a job.
That alone is a sign of just how much deeper and more talented the Chiefs' stable of running backs is this season. Kareem Hunt led the league in rushing as a rookie, but there is a crush of ability and experience nipping at his heels.
"There's a good number of backs here that we have," offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy said, "and we're very, very blessed and fortunate. We just want to watch these guys compete."
These guys: West, who managed just 72 yards on 18 carries last season; Spencer Ware, who led the Chiefs in rushing two years ago before sustaining a season-ending injury in preseason; Kerwynn Williams, who started six games last season for Arizona; Damien Williams, who appeared in 58 games over the past four seasons in Miami; and Darrel Williams Randy Johnson Jersey , perhaps the biggest dark horse of the bunch.
Williams backed up Leonard Fournette and Derrius Guice the past few years at LSU, a big reason why he went undrafted this past April. But many scouts believe he has the talent to succeed, noting he averaged 5.7 yards a carry last season 鈥?better than Guice, a second-round pick.
"I probably say this every year, but the talent pool has gotten deeper," Bieniemy said. "I look forward to it. Why? Because it brings out the best in each and every one of them."
There are a multitude of reasons why the Chiefs have invested so heavily in the position.
For one thing, the value of running backs has swung back to the positive after many had written them off in the era of the pass-happy NFL. Offensive coordinators have started to utilize them in creative ways, employing them as pass-catchers and blockers along with running.
No wonder three running backs were selected in the first round of the draft, and four more in the second round, headlined by Saquon Barkley going to the Giants at No. 2 overall.
Then there's the misfortune that has befallen Kansas City at the position.
Twice the franchise lost Charles to season-ending injuries in his prime, the first time resulting in Jackie Battle leading the team in rushing. Then, after Ware's transition from fullback to running back led to a breakout season, he tore up his knee in last year's preseason game against Seattle.
The Chiefs were fortunate that Hunt emerged as a bona fide star, but they nonetheless headed into the season with a relatively shallow backfield. West handled some spot duty, and Akeem Hunt and an aged C.J. Spiller saw action Adidas Mika Zibanejad Jersey , but it was quarterback Alex Smith that was second on the team in rushing.
General manager Brett Veach hardly wants new quarterback Patrick Mahomes II to do likewise
"In my mind and obviously in Brett's mind 鈥?because he's the one who did this 鈥?you can't have enough of those guys," Chiefs coach Andy Reid said. "We figured, listen, if we have a chance to get good players lets go ahead and better ourselves, let the competition be there and see what happens. I'm expecting Spencer to be back, but you never know, and you've got kids that can play."
The depth has already paid off the first week of camp, giving Hunt a chance to rest a stiff hamstring Friday and Ware an opportunity to slowly get back into game shape.
"I've never shied away from competition," Ware said. "My ultimate goal is to make my team better and to get better as a player 鈥?to make myself more valuable for my team and let them be able to use me in any way they can."
NOTES: Rookie FS Armani Watts was back on the field Saturday after tweaking his ankle. "He needs reps now," Reid said. "If you're going to make this team you have to show it." ... West took a shot to the head during the team's first padded practice and was being evaluated by team doctors.