Chiefs Survive Potential Chargers Upset in Overtime

Tucker D. Franklin

After an anemic three quarters, the Kansas City Chiefs spoiled the Los Angeles Chargers first game in their new stadium with a 23-20 overtime victory over their AFC West rivals Sunday, starting the season 2-0 for their fourth straight season. 

After expecting quarterback Tyrod Taylor to start for the Chargers, a chest injury he acquired during warmups meant quarterback Justin Herbert trotted onto the field for Los Angeles’ first possession in their new stadium.

The rookie quarterback led his team 79-yards down the field and capped off their drive with a 4-yard touchdown run for the opening score of the game. Kansas City struggled to get anything going offensively until the second quarter.

After linebacker Willie Gay Jr. got a hand on a Chargers punt, quarterback Patrick Mahomes used his legs and his arm to manufacture a 10 play, 73-yard drive that came to an end with a 10-yard touchdown pass from Mahomes to tight end Travis Kelce. The extra-point attempt was blocked after a holding call backed up the try.

With Kansas City down 7-6, the teams battled for the next few minutes, and injuries for the Chiefs started to mount as cornerback Antonio Hamilton and linebackers Anthony Hitchens and Damien Wilson left the field.

Los Angeles took advantage of the depleted defense and added more points to their lead. Herbert found wide receiver Jalen Guyton for a 10-yard touchdown pass.

The Chiefs’ offensive line struggled to protect Mahomes from the Chargers pass rush and their two-minute drill to end the half came up short. Los Angeles took a 14-6 lead into the locker room thanks to 195 first-half passing yards and a passing touchdown from Herbert.

Kansas City opened the second half with a lackluster drive and gave the Chargers the ball back quickly. Los Angeles drove into field goal range and kicker Marvin Bagley knocked home a 41-yard field goal to put the Chargers up 17-6.

While the defense didn’t break, it appeared to give the offense momentum. Mahomes began to put a drive together but a sack from Chargers defensive end Joey Bosa nearly put the Chiefs out of field goal range but it was no problem for kicker Harrison Butker as he nailed a 58-yard field goal to make the game 17-9 and tie a franchise record for the longest field goal.

The following drive, Herbert and company looked to be in business but a poor decision from the rookie led to cornerback L’Jarius Sneed’s second interception in as many weeks.

Sneed’s pick helped jumpstart a Chiefs drive that ended in a 60-yard touchdown pass from Mahomes to wide receiver Tyreek Hill. The Chiefs’ successful 2-point conversion knotted the game at 17 points apiece.

Los Angeles’ run game became a big factor in its next drive as the Chiefs struggled to stop it. Ultimately, Kansas City was able to hold the Chargers to a field goal with 2:27 left in the game.

The Chiefs looked primed to score a touchdown to win the game but penalties plagued the drive and Kansas City settled for a field goal to take the game into overtime.

The overtime coin toss was won by the Chargers and they elected to receive but nothing came of the drive as the Chiefs’ defense forced a three and out.

Kansas City was able to drive down the field after the punt and set up Butker for the game-winning 58-yard field goal. 

Mahomes went 27-for-47 with 302 yards and six carries for 54 yards and two passing touchdowns. In Herbert's first start, the rookie threw for 311 yards, one touchdown and a pick in the game.

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