The Kansas City Chiefs and Los Angeles Chargers kick off the NFL’s Week 2 this Thursday. Before they meet in reality, let’s look at their meeting virtually.
Did you miss real, nitty-gritty football that matters? Don’t worry, you’re not alone. Millions tuned in around the world for the NFL’s Week 1 matchups, and the opening week did not disappoint. However, fans and teams will soon move on to Week 2 and past their previous game’s outcome.
Both teams were victorious in their Week 1 games, and their Week 2 game will be only one of four matchups where both teams remain undefeated. This game also marks the Chiefs’ home opener and their first divisional matchup this year. The Chargers have a leg up in the AFC West title hunt, as they disposed of the Las Vegas Raiders and currently hold the divisional lead. Now, that does not mean much at this point in the season, but it is still true nonetheless.
The matchup could be pivotal for both teams’ divisional prospects but could also be a playoff preview. The Chiefs and Chargers both entered 2022 with championship aspirations and are built for deep playoff runs. Injuries will impact this Week 2 matchup heavily. The Chargers will be without cornerback J.C. Jackson and wide receiver Keenan Allen, and the Chiefs without cornerback Trent McDuffie. Several other Chiefs players are sprinkled on the injury report, including kicker Harrison Butker and offensive guard Trey Smith. Injuries are all a part of football, and they impact matchups week-to-week.
The number of injuries begs the question: what if the Chargers and Chiefs played without these injuries impacting the game? That is where EA Sports’ Madden 23 comes in.
Madden is certainly not an absolute football simulation game, that is for sure. However, it is entertaining to throw a matchup together and let the game’s engine play the game for you. Ahead of Thursday’s game, let’s see how a simulated game plays out.
The Chargers start with the ball and look very strong on the game’s opening drive. They go 2/3 on third down, converting 3rd-and-8 and 3rd-and-15. However, the drive stalls out near the red zone, forcing the Chargers to kick a field goal. Los Angeles misses a 38-yard field goal attempt, and Kansas City takes over on downs.
Kansas City grinds out a touchdown drive, led by wide receiver Juju Smith-Schuster’s four catches. His one-yard jet sweep touchdown gives the Chiefs the lead late in the 1st quarter.
Score: Chiefs 7, Chargers 0
The Chargers came roaring back, led by running back Austin Ekeler’s 19-yard run. However, quarterback Justin Herbert is only 4/10 behind two Chiefs pass deflections and many erratic throws. His most erratic throw costs him, as Chiefs safety Juan Thornhill records his first interception of 2022.
The pick places Kansas City near midfield, but the Chiefs cannot capitalize. Running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire opens the drive with a six-yard rush, but he cannot reach the first-down marker on two additional touches.
The Chiefs return the favor, though, as their defense forces a three-and-out as well. Defensive tackle Chris Jones hasn’t recorded a sack or tackle, but he is consistently pressuring Herbert in this simulation.
The Chiefs have possession as the first quarter comes to an end.
Team Stats (through 1st Quarter)
Chargers: 16 plays, 58 passing yards, 24 rushing yards, 1 turnover
Chiefs: 16 plays, 54 passing yards, 20 rushing yards
Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes started the second quarter on fire. He led the Chiefs on another touchdown drive, going 5/5 for 51 yards and a touchdown. He finds wide receiver Marquez Valdes-Scantling in the end zone, putting the Chiefs up by two scores.
Score: Chiefs 14, Chargers 0
The Chargers started another drive strongly, with first-down conversions by wide receiver Mike Williams and tight end Gerald Everett. However, another drive stalls out near field goal range. Another missed field goal attempt keeps the Chargers off the scoreboard and gives Kansas City decent field position.
The Chiefs are unable to capitalize fully once again, as it takes eight plays to get within field goal range. Chiefs kicker Harrison Butker makes a 45-yard field goal, putting Kansas City up by three scores.
Score: Chiefs 17, Chargers 0
The Chargers have their best drive of the night, as Herbert and Ekeler reach the Chiefs’ 17-yard line. However, an errant throw by Herbert lands in Chiefs linebacker Willie Gay Jr.’s hands at the 14-yard line.
The Chargers’ defense once again holds Kansa City out of the end zone, but Butker nails a 55-yard field goal as the first half ends.
Score: Chiefs 20, Chargers 0
Team Stats (through 2nd Quarter)
Chargers: 33 plays, 139 passing yards, 32 rushing yards, 2 turnovers
Chiefs: 36 plays, 174 passing yards, 24 rushing yards
This is where things get interesting for the Chargers.
Los Angeles forces a Kansas City three-and-out, as the Chiefs start the half with three passing plays. The Chargers moved 54 yards down the field, highlighted by a 28-yard catch from Williams on 3rd-and-18. But the drive results in zero points after a failed fourth-down conversion.
The Chiefs do not see much better results, as they reach midfield and nothing more. Punter Tommy Townsend pins the Chargers at their own seven-yard line.
The Chargers rattled off a 15-play drive, going 4/4 on third-down opportunities. Ekeler led the drive with large chunk runs. Running back Joshua Kelley capped off the drive with a two-yard touchdown run.
Score: Chiefs 20, Chargers 7
The Chiefs start the next drive with two negative plays. Chargers defensive tackle Morgan Fox records the game’s first sack, followed by a screen play resulting in a loss. The Chiefs could not recover and punted the ball away.
Kansas City defensive end Carlos Dunlap and Jones combine for the team’s first sack, bringing down Herbert to begin the drive. The Chargers cannot recover, and Chiefs linebacker Nick Bolton picks off another Herbert pass.
The Chiefs start with a huge 34-yard touchdown to wide receiver Mecole Hardman, but the play is called back due to holding. After that call, the Chiefs could not recover and went three and out. Butker missed his subsequent field goal attempt from 48 yards.
Team Stats (through 3rd Quarter)
Chargers: 54 plays, 203 passing yards, 75 rushing yards
Chiefs: 44 plays, 186 passing yards, 32 rushing yards
The Chargers reached the Chiefs’ 19-yard line in four plays, with more Ekeler runs. Gay records his second tackle for loss, but then the Chargers get goal-to-go. Chiefs defensive end Frank Clark records his first sack of the game, but Herbert runs in a 14-yard touchdown on the next play. It is a one-score game now.
Score: Chiefs 20, Chargers 14
From here, it is a defensive slugfest. Both teams recorded two consecutive three-and-outs with little fanfare.
The Chiefs seem to have some momentum, reaching their 42-yard line, but again stalling out. Another excellent Townsend punt pins the Chargers deep in their own territory with 1:40 left to go.
Jones’ pressure continues, and he nearly forces a safety. After two positive receptions for the Chargers, Calrk records a strip sack of Herbert. Kansas City recovers the fumble, and they run out the clock in a tight AFC West matchup.
Final: Chiefs 20, Chargers 14
Team Stats (Overall)
Chargers: 65 plays, 264 passing yards, 127 rushing yards, 3 turnovers
Chiefs: 50 plays, 216 passing yards, 48 rushing yards
Chargers Offense – Austin Ekler: 19 rush, 106 yards
Chiefs Offense – Patrick Mahomes: 24/28, 207 passing yards, 2 TDs
Chargers Defense – Morgan Fox: 1 sack, 5 tackles, 2 TFL
Chiefs Defense – Willie Gay: 1 Interception, 7 tackles, 2 TFL
What do you think of this game? Let us know below!