In Kansas City, the Chargers rally to defeat the turnover-prone Chiefs 30-24.
The Los Angeles Chargers had just turned over the Kansas City Chiefs for the fourth time on Sunday. With less than a minute remaining in a tie game, Los Angeles coach Brandon Staley was faced with a critical fourth-down decision.
Even though Tristan Vizcaino had already missed an extra point, he sends out his kicker for a 48-yard field goal. Put the outcome in the hands of Justin Herbert and the offense.
Staley explained, “We wanted to leave the ball in Justin’s hands.” “We wanted him to be the deciding factor in the game.”
Herbert launched a jump ball, which resulted in a pass interference call on DeAndre Baker of the Chiefs and a first down. Then he struck Mike Williams with a string of completions, including the game-winning touchdown pass with 32 seconds remaining to propel Los Angeles to a 30-24 victory against the five-time defending AFC West champs.
“We’re lucky to have a gangsta quarterback,” Staley joked.
Herbert finished with 281 yards passing and four touchdowns without an interception, outdueling Patrick Mahomes in a game that featured not only two of the game’s top young quarterbacks, but also two clubs projected to vie for a division title.
Instead, the up-and-coming Chargers (2-1) won for the third time in four trips to Kansas City while sending the two-time defending conference champion Chiefs (1-2) to the division cellar.
“You can’t overcome four turnovers,” said Chiefs assistant Dave Toub, who took postgame questions because coach Andy Reid was feeling ill. “I thought that was the story of the game.”
The Chiefs trailed 14-0 early but had climbed back into the game in the second half, taking a 24-21 lead midway through the fourth quarter. But the Chargers tied it on Tristan Vizcaino’s short field goal, and after Mahomes was picked byAlohi Gilman with 1:42 to go, Herbert began the march for the go-ahead touchdown.
Instead, the Chargers (2-1) won their third game in four visits to Kansas City, relegating the two-time defending conference champion Chiefs (1-2) to the division basement.
“You can’t overcome four turnovers,” said Chiefs assistant Dave Toub, who handled postgame questions since coach Andy Reid was sick. “I believed that was the game’s plot.”
The Chiefs fell behind 14-0 early in the game, but rallied in the second half to take a 24-21 lead midway through the fourth quarter. The Chargers tied it on Tristan Vizcaino’s short field goal, and when Mahomes was intercepted by Alohi Gilman with 1:42 remaining, Herbert launched the drive for the game-winning touchdown.
He converted a third-and-2 near midfield with a ball to Allen, and the Chargers were aided by Baker’s pass interference on a fourth-down incompletion. Herbert completed a 16-yard pass to Williams before finding his big wide receiver in the touchdown zone for the second time in the game.
In the final seconds, the Chiefs advanced to middle, but Mahomes’ throw to the end zone was incomplete.
“The defense did an excellent job today of stepping up and forcing all those turnovers,” said Herbert, who connected with Williams seven times for 122 yards and two scores. “I wouldn’t have been able to achieve it without them.”
The Chargers also scored touchdown catches from Austin Ekeler and Keenen Allen.
Mahomes finished with 260 yards passing, three touchdowns, and two interceptions, while Clyde Edwards-Helaire ran for 100 yards and caught a touchdown but was guilty for one of two Kansas City turnovers.
“Nobody is pleased with how we played,” Mahomes added. “It’s not a good thing to lose to a division opponent. We haven’t done much of it throughout my stay here. It’s all about how you react. “We’ve got a long season ahead of us.”
The Chargers’ defensive strategy seems straightforward: they refused to let Mahomes pass deep, forcing him into short check-downs, and forced the Chiefs to put together long drives while waiting for them to self-destruct.
Kansas City did not disappoint.
On the team’s first possession, Mahomes bounced a pass off Marcus Kemp, which rookie Asante Samuel Jr. intercepted for his second pick in two weeks. The Chiefs fumbled on their next drive, and Edwards-Helaire lost the ball on their third attempt, just one week after his fumble in the final minutes deprived Kansas City a chance at a game-winning field goal at Baltimore.
Herbert found Allen for a short touchdown pass early in the second quarter to give the Chargers the lead, and he then hit Ekeler from 16 yards out to make the score 14-3 at the half.
The Chiefs must have pressed the reset button in the locker room.
To begin the second half, they used a 12-play, 75-yard drive that concluded with a short touchdown pass to Jody Fortson. After a 10-play, 70-yard drive, Edwards-Helaire caught a touchdown pass.
Los Angeles responded with a 75-yard touchdown drive that included a fourth-down conversion, but Mahomes conjured some more magic by marching his team 72 yards and finding Mecole Hardman for another go-ahead touchdown.
The Chargers had an opportunity to retake the lead from the Chiefs, but an illegal shift penalty negated a touchdown throw. Los Angeles kicked a matching field goal, marking the Chiefs’ first touchdown-free red-zone trip in 13 attempts this season.