KC Chiefs come away with thrilling road win over Chargers

The Chiefs and Chargers wrapped up their season series on Sunday Night Football in Week 11 with another thriller between the AFC West rivals.

If you’ve watched the L.A. Chargers and Kansas City Chiefs play each other in recent years, you know that each and every game somehow ends up to be a dogfight. Nearly every matchup comes down to a single score, and the Chargers somehow save their best efforts for the 60 minutes scheduled between Justin Herbert and Patrick Mahomes. It was that sort of night once again on Sunday Night Football in a game that featured 7 lead changes before the Chiefs finished the Chargers off in the fourth quarter for a 30-27 win.

Coming into this game, the Chargers were able to welcome back some reinforcements in wide receivers Keenan Allen and Mike Williams, both of whom played their first snaps since Week 7. Even if they weren’t primary targets at times, however, it was clear their presence on the field forced the Chiefs to respect the entire unit. That allowed the Chargers to go toe-to-toe with the Chiefs offense early (and even look like the better overall unit).

The Chargers took the lead early on an incredible 50-yard pass to Josh Palmer to go up after the Chiefs watched their first two drives stall on offense, which forced them to turn to Harrison Butker to make something out of them. Fortunately Mahomes was able to find Travis Kelce for an easy touchdown, his ninth touchdown catch of the year, to go up 13-10. From there, the Chargers would put up 10 unanswered, including six on a short TD run by Austin Ekeler. Between both teams, seven of 10 first-half drives ended in a score as the Bolts were up 20-13.

The third quarter, however, was a different story as both teams made adjustments. The Chargers went only 9 yards on successive drives, and Chargers head coach Brandon Staley seemed content to rely on his defense with back-to-back punts for their only possessions in the quarter. The Chiefs responded with a field goal after a long drive filled with only eight consecutive rushes, but as the fourth quarter began, Travis Kelce finally put the Chiefs on top with a spectacular catch-and-run into the end zone from 32 yards out.

From there, the Chargers and Chiefs both coughed up big opportunities by forcing consecutive fumbles. The Chiefs had the chance to put the Chargers on ice after forcing Keenan Allen to fumble the ball in the middle of the fourth quarter. On the ensuing drive, the Chiefs were able to move the chains a few times before Jerick McKinnon did the same and gave the Chargers the ball right back. From there, Herbert made the Chiefs pay on a touchdown drive that gave them the lead with less than two minutes to go.

Unfortunately for the Chargers, that sort of end-of-game scenario is exactly what the Chiefs want: the ball in Patrick Mahomes’ hands with little time left on the clock. Mahomes hit Marquez Valdes-Scantling, Skyy Moore, and Kelce for big catches to complete a 75-yard scoring drive that put the Chiefs up for good with 31 seconds left. A late interception by linebacker Nick Bolton sealed the road win for the Chiefs and sent the Chargers packing.

The Chiefs move to 8-2 on the season and should have the division title wrapped up, for all intents and purposes, with a three-game lead over the Chargers with the tiebreaker.