The Kansas City Chiefs outlasted the Los Angeles Chargers on Thursday night. Here is the story of the game by the numbers.
Count your lucky stars, Chiefs Kingdom, and by that, I mean to say let’s all appreciate the fact that we are all on the earth at the same time as the 2022 Kansas City Chiefs. This team is special.
Under the bright lights of Thursday night’s prime-time matchup, the Chiefs edged out the Los Angeles Chargers by a score of 27-24. There were peaks, valleys, and a whole bunch of stuff in between, but Kansas City is 2-0 to start the season. The short week is behind us, and the Chiefs have emerged victorious in their first divisional matchup of the year.
There was plenty to be concerned about pre-game, in terms of injuries and the intensity that comes with playing on short rest, but the better team prevailed last night and the foundation has been set for a phenomenal season ahead.
From standout performances and defensive triumphs to nail-biting moments and some frustrating play calls, there is plenty to unpack from the Chiefs’ Week 2 matchup against the Chargers, but this will be the story of Thursday Night Football at Arrowhead Stadium by the numbers.
Although completions were only made to 9 players, this is the second week in a row that Patrick Mahomes has targeted 10 separate receivers.
It’s been said a million times by now, but the concerns which were drummed up about how the Chiefs offense would look post-Tyreek Hill have been put entirely to rest. With only—and I say that in jest—235 yards and 2 passing touchdowns, Mahomes was less impressive on paper than he was in Week 1 against the Arizona Cardinals, but the potential of this offense still shined through.
For some teams across the NFL, Mahomes’ performance on Thursday would be well received by their fans—and that’s not to say it isn’t by Chiefs Kingdom—but the biggest takeaway from last night’s game for No. 15 was his ability to make the most of what he’s given. In 2022, he has a number of receivers who boast singular skill sets. Each of them will be able to maximize what they do best by playing alongside the best quarterback in the business.
Passes to 10 different receivers could very well become the norm throughout the season for Mahomes, and after Thursday—which may go down as the team’s biggest challenge of the year, contextually—we should all be excited for what that means for this offense.
Thursday night’s game was truly won—and lost—in the trenches. The Chiefs’ defense landed 8 hits on Justin Herbert, and each time they got to him led to an adjustment in momentum.
Herbert put his grit on display with his late deep-ball to Deandre Carter and touchdown pass to Josh Palmer after he suffered an injury to his ribs on a hit from Mike Danna, but it was too little, too late. Considering the intense pressure that Patrick Mahomes faced from the Chargers’ pass rush all night long, the amount of fatigue inflicted on quarterbacks very well could have been the difference maker on Thursday.
Without question, the biggest missing piece for the Chiefs on Thursday night was Trent McDuffie, but Jaylen Watson made up for his absence with his absurd 99-yard pick-six off of Herbert.
With 10:41 seconds remaining in the game—which was knotted up at 17 points a piece at the time—Watson took matters into his own hands, stopping a dominant Los Angeles drive and returning an interception 99 yards for a touchdown. His interception return goes down as the second longest in Chiefs history. Prime time, baby.
As a seventh-round draft pick, Jaylen Watson is quickly emerging as a massively important piece to this Chiefs’ secondary, and is likely to become a mainstay for years to come. Can I get a “hell yeah” from the Brett Veach fan club?
With 74 yards rushing (9.4 yards per carry) and 44 yards receiving (11 yards per catch), Clyde Edwards-Helaire was by far the most impactful offensive player of the game.
Say what you will about the fact that his 52-yard run made up the majority of his production on the ground, but we are undoubtedly in the early stages of his break-out campaign. He had 74 all-purpose yards and 2 touchdowns last week, so Thursday’s performance should cement him as the guy moving forward.
I’ve been one of the most outspoken CEH supporters on this site over the past two years, and have received plenty of blowback for filling that role, so to all of the remaining Clyde haters, I’d love to hear what you have to say now.
With only 24 points allowed to one of the most explosive offenses in the AFC, the defense did an incredible job, overall, of containing the Chargers. It was the front-7 defenders, however, who truly stood out. The team gathered a total of 73 tackles on the night, and 44 of them were made by linebackers and defensive ends.
The most pressing concern of the Chiefs’ offseason was just how well the front office could do at improving the defense, and Week 2 served as a benchmark for the job that they did. Willie Gay led the team with 11 total tackles and Nick Bolton gathered 10 himself, but considering the context of just how abysmal the front-7 was throughout 2021, being a force as a unit against the Chargers is well worth a round of applause.
With Chris Jones recording 2 sacks, and 7 different players landing hits on Justin Herbert, the future is shining bright for this revamped Chiefs D.