Chargers vs.  Chefs Score, Takeout: Patrick Mahomes, Chefs Rally Chargers;  Justin Herbert injured

Chargers vs. Chefs Score, Takeout: Patrick Mahomes, Chefs Rally Chargers; Justin Herbert injured

There’s been a lot of talk about who could overtake the Kansas City Chiefs in a new AFC West look. The other three teams in the division made significant additions to their rosters in the offseason, but two weeks later, and the Chiefs are still the kings of football’s top division. Thursday night, Patrick Mahomes and Co. defeated the Los Angeles Chargers 27-24.

Mahomes and Justin Herbert started slow, but eventually found their respective grooves. Mahomes built on his impressive Week 1 performance, completing 24 of 35 passes for 235 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions. Herbert, meanwhile, completed 33 of 48 passes for 334 yards, three touchdowns and one interception. Mike Williams largely replaced the inactive Keenan Allen, catching eight passes for 113 yards and a touchdown. Finally, it was not enough.

The Chiefs made an interesting move by kicking a field goal off the Chargers 1-yard line to start the fourth quarter, which tied the game at 17 apiece. Fans didn’t question that decision for long, as rookie Jaylen Watson picked off Herbert at the 1-yard line on the next drive and sent him 99 yards the other way for the Chiefs’ first lead. Match.

Herbert suffered a chest/rib injury that knocked him out for play as he tried to orchestrate a comeback. Upon his return, he did not look comfortable at all. He still led a nine-play, 73-yard drive that ended with a touchdown pass to Josh Palmer on fourth-and-goal, but LA couldn’t recover the kick in play.

Why the Chiefs won

The Chiefs didn’t start strong, but managed to never fall too far behind even when they were struggling. In the first half, it looked like the Chargers should have a bigger lead, but they did a good job of staying there. The momentum changed in the second half with 20 unanswered points from the Chiefs that took them from a 14-7 decline to a 27-14 lead.

The Chiefs were lucky on some near interceptions from the Chargers, especially from Asante Samuel Jr., that didn’t result in a takeaway. They also nearly had a fumble on the goal line, with the ball flying out of the hands of Travis Kelce following a body slam from Derwin James, but it was knocked out.

If any of those near-turnovers turned out to be real Chiefs turnovers, that might have been a different story.

Speaking of turnover, ultimately it was turnover that made the difference. The Chargers were knocking on the end zone door, but a 99-yard pick 6 from Jaylen Watson of the Chiefs ended up giving Kansas City its first lead of the game. Three more runs sealed the deal and the Chargers ran out of time to catch up.

Why the Chargers lost

The Chargers had the lead for the majority of the game, but unfortunately for them and their fans, it’s not who has the lead for to have to time.

Although they came out strong and impressive in the first half, they never had a big lead. When it comes to playing against Mahomes and the Chiefs, a narrow lead is as good as no lead because this is a team that knows how to come back.

The Chargers’ mistakes, like struggling on third down, gave Mahomes and Co. good field position after a near-safety in the second half, and pick 6 was the difference.

The second half was a different story from the first as the Chiefs lost the lead while the Chargers failed to put together a scoring drive. The Chargers scored a touchdown early in the third quarter and didn’t score again until it was too late.

Herbert wasn’t savagely outplayed by Mahomes and held on as the pressure mounted, but in a clash of two elite teams, sometimes an interception makes all the difference.

Turning

The Chiefs’ second touchdown of the day was a pass from Mahomes’ Justin Watson for 41 yards and threw their 20 points unanswered. Until then the Chargers were in control and the Chiefs seemed to need a spark and it was just that spark to start their run. The next touchdown was also from a Watson — Jaylen Watson — whose pick 6 gave the Chiefs the lead for good.

Game of the game

The undeniable play of the game was Jaylen Watson’s 99-yard pick 6. According to Next Generation Stats“Chiefs win probability increased from 31% to 85% as a result of pick 6 of Watson or Herbert, a 54% increase, the biggest change in win probability on a pick 6 in the three recent seasons.”

Take a look at the long intercept return:

And after

Next up for the Chiefs will be the Indianapolis Colts on Sept. 1. 25. The Chiefs will travel to Lucas Oil Stadium to face the AFC South team, which is currently 0-0-1 going into the weekend after a draw against the Houston Texans.

The Chargers will host the Jacksonville Jaguars on September 1. 25 at SoFi Stadium. The Jaguars lost 28-22 to the Washington Commanders in Week 1. They will face the Colts on Sunday.

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