Coming into their matchup against the Los Angeles Chargers on Thursday night, the Kansas City Chiefs were hoping to show their AFC West rivals just how much they’d turned things around since the last time the two teams met back in Week 3. At that point, the Chiefs were a team tripping over their own lofty expectations with sloppy play, poor communication, numerous injuries, and plenty of turnovers.
While the Chiefs were forced to go without several key players (although the Chargers had a couple out of their own) in their annual visit to L.A. in primetime, it didn’t matter. In the end, the role players pulled through on defense and the stars made it happen on offense, and the Chiefs came into SoCal and walked away with an entertaining win in overtime by a final score of 34-28.
There are a million talking points after such an exhausting and exhilarating game as this one, but we’re walking home with some definite lessons learned in this one.
The rivalry is real
After watching the Chiefs take care of the Las Vegas Raiders and Denver Broncos in consecutive weeks (and watching the complete undoing of Las Vegas in the season series), it’s clear that the long-held rivalries between K.C. and those particular opponents aren’t much to write home about these days. The Chiefs have dominated the AFC West for the last several years with Andy Reid as head coach, and the distance between the Chiefs and their rivals has only increased with Patrick Mahomes at the helm.
That’s not so true anymore.
While the Broncos or Raiders aren’t likely to make the Chiefs all that anxious in the immediate future, the Chargers are clearly a class above the rest. After the first couple drives, it looked as if the Chiefs were going to roll with an easy opening touchdown drive and some solid defense in the early going. Then came some incredible throws from Justin Herbert, nice runs from Austin Ekeler and a great leaping catch from Mike Williams. Suddenly the Chargers were matching the momentum and even took over.
Beyond the final score, what we learned in this game is that the Chargers are going to be a very difficult opponent in the years to come. They are well-coached, have bright young talent, and have the game’s most important position covered. This rivalry is real.