Chiefs vs. Chargers recap: Kansas City gets ninth straight win over Los Angeles
By Rylan Stiles
The Kansas City Chiefs outscored the Los Angeles Chargers to open the 2018 season with an impressive Week 1 win.
The Kansas City Chiefs aren’t just 1-0. With the 38-28 win, the Chiefs now have an immediate edge over the very team predicted by most to win the AFC West in 2018. Given that it’s also a home game, the Chargers must even the scales by coming into Arrowhead later in the season for their first win in 10 games against the Chiefs.
For Andy Reid, his ninth straight win over the Chargers is a team record in the series and further establishes his dominance in the division.
Here’s a look back at a very exciting game that showcased Patrick Mahomes was as good as advertised and Tyreek Hill is a better weapon than anyone could have predicted.
The game started with fireworks. The Chiefs won the toss, and elected to defer. The maligned Chiefs defense stood up on the first drive and forced a three and out. The Chargers punted the ball, and Tyreek Hill fielded the ball at the nine yard line and took it all the way to the house.
After the Chiefs defense allowed a field goal the ensuing position, the start of the Patrick Mahomes era was officially upon us.
Mahomes tossed a strike to Tyreek Hill who was running a slant route and took it 58 yards for the score. That was the first touchdown pass of Mahomes’ young career, and it put the Chiefs up 14-3.
Both teams traded three and outs from that point. Dee Ford came up with a huge sack of Bolts QB Philip Rivers on third down, which forced L.A. to go three and out. Sammy Watkins not being able to handle a rocket delivered by Mahomes led to a faulty Chiefs drive.
After a Chiefs punt, the Chargers marched down to the red zone before the Kansas City defensive unit held the ground and forced L.A. to kick a field goal which set the score at 14-6.
When the Chiefs got the ball back, Hill made an unbelievable play, going up and grabbing a long first down, bailing out Mahomes who lobbed it up for Hill in double coverage. He landed awkwardly and left the game to enter the concussion protocol. Hill had 179 all-purpose first quarter yards. Fortunately he would later return.
Despite the drive-extending circus catch, the Chiefs had to punt again to start the second quarter. Dustin Colquitt pinned the Chargers inside their own ten, but that did not matter as Rivers lead the Bolts all the way down the field, going on a 96-yard scoring drive that ended with a touchdown toss to Austin Ekeler. The Chargers went for two, and did not get it. Chiefs up 14-12.
Their first offensive possession in the second quarter saw Hill return from concussion protocol at the 7:40 mark. Hunt finally got a few more touches, but the drive ultimately ended in a Butker field goal to extend the Kansas City lead (17-12).
After the Chiefs defense got bailed out by way of the Chargers coming down with the case of the drops, L.A. was forced to punt. Kansas City got conservative to start the possession with under 50 seconds left, but a long Spencer Ware run changed Andy Reid’s mindset with 38 ticks left and at the 40-yard line. However, a penalty and rookie mistake from Mahomes negated any threat the Chiefs could have posed before the half.
Mahomes danced around, with a timeout in his pocket and just out of field goal range, trying to find the home run play. Instead the ball sailed out-of-bounds and Kansas City had one last play with two seconds left instead of going short, getting into field goal range, and using the time out. Situations like that will happen when you are grooming a young quarterback.
Halftime: 17-12, Chiefs
First Half stats at a glance:
- Patrick Mahomes – 7-for-14, 131 yards, 1 TD, 0 INT
- Tyreek Hill – 113 receiving yards, 1 rec. TD, 95 return yds, 1 ret. TD.
- Philip Rivers – 11-for-18 124 yards, 1 touchdown
- Melvin Gordon – 11 carries for 52 yards, 3 receptions, 36 yards
The Chiefs started the third quarter with the lead and the ball.
The Kansas City Chiefs, led by Patrick Mahomes, marched right now the field and put it into the end zone. This drive saw a beautiful strike by Mahomes on a quick slant route, some great read option plays, and even a Travis Kelce drop. The series ended when Mahomes flipped the ball to De’Anthony Thomas (DAT) and he walked in for the score. They counted the flip play as a pass, so it goes down as Mahomes’ second passing TD.
On the next kickoff, the Chargers did that Chargers thing. A game that could very well be won on special teams, that play went wrong when the kick returner tried to take it out of the end zone. The Chiefs pinned the Chargers inside their own 10 again, but on the first play L.A. picked up a first down.
Melvin Gordon continued to dominate the lackluster run defense, picking up two first downs on this drive alone. The poor starting field position meant little to nothing, as Rivers once again led the Chargers right down the field, getting the Bolts to the 25-yard line before throwing an interception to veteran Ron Parker—in true bend but don’t break fashion.
The Chiefs offense took over with a 24-12 at their own 14-yard line after the interception. After two failed runs, on 3rd-and-13, Mahomes launched a 34-yard bomb to Tyreek Hill to keep the drive alive! That drive ended with not only another first down, as Mahomes found Chris Conley on the sidelines—remember him? K.C. has so many weapons how can you keep up?—but a fullback touchdown was also in the cards for the Kansas City Chiefs! No, they did not lineup in the I-formation and power it in. Your franchise QB threw a rope to fan favorite Anthony Sherman for a score.
It was Mahomes’ third touchdown if you are counting at home. That made it 31-12 with less than a minute to go in the third. From there Kansas City never looked back.
The fourth quarter: The Chargers started with the ball, and the score and clock against them.
Rivers quickly cut through the Kansas City defense and got them into the red zone again. This drive would end in friendly fashion for the Chargers. Rivers found Keenan Allen down the sidelines for an easy touchdown after Allen disposed of Orlando Scandrick. Give him six, but the scoring was not done for the Chargers. L.A. went for two, and Rivers lofted the ball up for Antonio Gates who went up and got it as if he was a five star high schooler playing football with the local pop warner team. That cut the Kansas City lead down to 11.
The Chiefs offense went three and out on the next drive. Fans hearts dropped, fearing that their beloved Chiefs might have just blown this football game. Fortunately the Colquitt punt was muffed inside the ten yard line, and recovered by the Chiefs!
Kansas City took over at the two yard line. Mahomes pulled back yet another read option play, but got stopped at the one. On third down, Mahomes flipped the ball to Tyreek Hill who just galloped into the end zone untouched for yet another score. That was Hill’s third touchdown of the day, and technically Mahomes’ fourth touchdown pass. Hill capped the drive off with a celebratory flip, and the rest as they say is history.
The Chargers after seeming out of it to start the drive, ended the drive with another touchdown. They again decided to go for two, and again they got it. Down 10 points with all three timeouts, the pressure was still on Mahomes to protect this lead, and make it out with a win.
With less than five minutes to go and down two scores, the Chargers needed a three and out. They got just that. Another rookie mistake was made by the second year signal caller. Mahomes roamed out of the pocket on third down and elected to throw it away. While that was normally the right decision, you would much rather take a sack there and force L.A. to come off of one of their three timeouts.
The Chargers took over and went right through the swiss cheese pass defense of the Chiefs. The Chargers got down the field and attempted a 48-yard field goal after the Chiefs defense showed up. It was no good, and the Chiefs hang on!
Mahomes impreoved to 2-0 as a starter, if QB wins are your thing. He tossed four touchdowns, and led the Chiefs to yet another victory over the Charges. Starting 1-0 is huge for Kansas City as the schedule does not open up anytime soon.
The Chiefs head to Pittsburgh to face the Steelers in Week 2.