On a day in which the K.C. Chiefs defense was hoping to show some signs of life after recent efforts, no one would have believed it would be the offense who let the team down.
The Chiefs and Chargers came into the afternoon with a recent loss and the hopes of not turning it into a losing streak (and a spot at the bottom of the AFC West basement). With Patrick Mahomes at the helm, the Chiefs felt good about their chances and their star quarterback looked great early. However, turnovers would soon become the story of this game and it stayed that way through four quarters.
From the beginning, the Chiefs defense looked strong after taking a beating for two straight weeks. The Chargers were only able to put together a single first down on their first two drives. Fortunately for the Bolts, they were able to keep the Chiefs from scoring on an impressive drive by intercepting a ball tipped off the hands of Marcus Kemp on what was an incredible effort by rookie Asante Samuel Jr.
From there, both teams had trouble moving the ball early with a scoreless first quarter after the Chiefs fumbled the ball marching toward the red zone on their second drive (after a short catch by Tyreek Hill). Meanwhile the Chargers were forced to punt the ball on successive drives.
After that, however, the Chiefs offensive woes continued only to see the Chargers come to life. It was only going to be a matter of time before Justin Herbert and the rest of L.A.’s loaded offense came to life. After stalling out against the Chiefs defense in the first quarter, Herbert directed consecutive touchdown drives that ended in short strikes to running back Austin Ekeler and wide receiver Keenan Allen to give the Chargers a 14-0.
As for the Chiefs, they turned the ball over three times in the first quarter-and-a-half to fall behind as far as they did. After forcing the Chargers to punt with two-and-a-half minutes left, the Chiefs were at least able to cobble together enough yards—thanks to a tremendous first-half effort from Travis Kelce—to get close enough for a short Harrison Butker field goal for a 14-3 deficit at halftime.
The Chiefs came out of halftime swinging with an exemplary 12-play, 75-yard drive that featured nice runs by Edwards-Helaire and a stellar end zone grab by Jody Fortson.
After the Chiefs held the Chargers to a three-and-out to start their own second half offensively, Mahomes went back to work in a situation in which you could feel the momentum shift in Arrowhead. From there, it took the Chiefs just over four minutes to go another 70 yards and Edwards-Helaire enjoyed a bit more redemption with a 10-yard touchdown catch to put K.C. up for the first time on the afternoon, 17-14.
To their credit, the Chargers answered on the next drive with a gutsy fourth-down-and-four call that resulted in a conversion on a 9-yard Keenan Allen catch. Shortly after that, Mike Williams caught Herbert’s third touchdown pass of the day against a badly beaten Mike Hughes for a 20-yard score.
The Chiefs put together another long touchdown drive in response to retake the lead in the fourth quarter with another methodical 10-play series that set up this jet sweep touchdown by Mecole Hardman.
The fourth quarter turned into a nail biter for both fan bases from that point forward. The Chargers started their next drive with a 43-yard catch by Mike Williams to get near the red zone. From there, however, a series of stops by the Chiefs and penalties on the Chargers kept them from scoring a touchdown (including one called back because of the shift). Instead, they settled for a short Tristan Vizcaino field goal to tie the game at 24 points apiece.
From there, things went off the rails for the Chiefs as Mahomes threw an errant pass on the following drive to defensive back Alohi Gilman to kill the only real chance the Chiefs had of winning the game. The Chargers came back and scored a touchdown to Mike Williams on a short throw yet missed the extra point to go up 30-14, a move that actually gave the Chiefs the ball back with under a minute to go and a single timeout.
The heroics were not to be found, however, for the Chiefs on this final drive as a last-minute attempt to find Tyreek Hill downfield in the end zone ended the game.
With the loss, the Chiefs are now 1-2 and sitting alone in the AFC West basement. The Chargers claim an important road win over the Chiefs and will get to wait a long time before facing them again at home in Week 15.