The Kansas City Chiefs defeated the Los Angeles Chargers for the second time this season and, like the first matchup between these two teams in 2022, it wasn't always easy.
Down 27-23 with 1:46 left on the clock in the fourth quarter, Kansas City got the ball back fresh off a scoring drive from Los Angeles. In typical Chiefs fashion, quarterback Patrick Mahomes led the offense down the field for a game-winning touchdown to tight end Travis Kelce. Andy Reid's squad needed every bit of playmaking help it could get against a strong division rival, and his two best players were ultimately the ones who (deservingly) got credit for doing some heavy lifting. Despite that, neither Mahomes nor Kelce wants to make things about them. Instead, Mahomes shifted the focus elsewhere after the game.
"Teams have plans for Travis so guys are going to have to step up," Mahomes said. "When guys go down, obviously we didn't have JuJu (Smith-Schuster) and Mecole (Hardman) and [then] KT (Kadarius Toney) goes down, Skyy stepped up and made a lot of plays happen. He stepped right into that same role."
As Mahomes mentioned, three of their more dangerous pass-catchers were either ruled out in advance of the game or got injured during it. Smith-Schuster being unable to recover from his concussion in time to practice and Hardman going on the injured reserve list were already big deals, and Toney injuring his hamstring in the first half only complicated matters. This presented a challenge for the rest of a receiver group headlined by Marquez Valdes-Scantling, Justin Watson and rookie Skyy Moore, as well as a tight end group led by Kelce.
As is oftentimes the case, Kelce paced the rest of his teammates in targets (10), receptions (6), yards (115) and touchdowns (3). His three scores brought his season total to 11, with the next-closest player on the Chiefs (Hardman) having just four. The future Hall of Famer's star shined brighter than that of anyone else on the biggest Sunday stage in football but afterward, he echoed the same sentiment as Mahomes by deflecting praise geared towards himself and pushing it to his running mates.
"That game was a lot more than just Mahomes to me, man," Kelce said. "That's why it was so fun. You've got a guy like Skyy Moore coming up big throughout the entire game. On top of that, Justin Watson. Even on that last drive for us, Marquez gets us going early, Pat makes a huge play with his feet — those are the best, man. Those are the best. When everybody gets a piece of the pie, that's the best."
Defensive tackle Chris Jones also spoke quite highly of his teammates, proclaiming that Kansas City has some of the best pass-rushers in the league. Additionally, the Pro Bowl interior defensive lineman couldn't help but bring the center of attention back to the duo that emphasized such a thorough team effort. Mahomes and Kelce were the driving forces behind the Chiefs' comeback and eventual win, and the self-titled CEO of 'Sack Nation' believes their amazing performances were just par for the course.
"Travis Kelce is one of the best in the league and Pat is playing at an MVP level," Jones said. "They left too much time on the clock for Pat. A minute and 45 [seconds]? We go through that throughout the week, our two-minute drills. I think it was normal for him."