Chiefs rally to take down Chargers and quickly take control of AFC West

Chiefs rally to take down Chargers and quickly take control of AFC West

KANSAS CITY — The Kansas City Chiefs beat the Los Angeles Chargers 27-24 Thursday night as Patrick Mahomes completed 24 of 35 passes for 235 yards and two touchdowns to beat Justin Herbert.

Kansas City Chiefs

Jaylen Watson almost seemed like an afterthought when the Chiefs made him their third selected cornerback after taking him in the seventh round this year. Watson has already become a crucial player for the Chiefs.

Playing because starter Trent McDuffie was injured this week, Watson delivered the Chiefs’ biggest play in what could possibly turn out to be their biggest win of the season. Watson intercepted a pass from Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert in the fourth quarter and returned it 99 yards for the touchdown. The Chiefs went on to beat rivals AFC West 27-24.

When the Chargers got the ball back from the Chiefs 3, they had a 73% chance of winning, according to ESPN Stats & Information research. That probability rose to 81% for the Chiefs after Watson’s pick six.

Big win: The Chiefs (2-0) are the only team in the AFC West without a loss, giving them an early advantage in the standings.

Buy/Sell on a Breakout Performance: Wide receiver Justin Watson caught a 41-yard touchdown pass and another ball as he passed rookie Skyy Moore on the stroke-based depth chart against the Chargers. Watson worked well with Patrick Mahomes during training camp, so his game is no surprise. He was most effective during camp in the red zone, where he used his height well at 6-foot-2 and 215 pounds. Watson should get significant game time as long as he’s the fourth wide receiver, which he clearly was Thursday night.

Disturbing trend: The Chiefs’ short-range offense struggled. They were 1 of 5 in third and 3 or less. Those struggles led coach Andy Reid to claim a field goal on the fourth and 1 in the fourth quarter with the Chiefs trailing 17-14. -Adam Teicher

Underestimated statistics namely: Eight different Chiefs players have had at least two catches, tied for the most in a Patrick Mahomes-era game (since 2018). This is the second time Kansas City has done this over this span. The first also came against the Chargers, in Week 3 last season in Kansas City.

Next game: at Colts (1:00 p.m. ET, September 25)

Los Angeles Chargers

Inside a noisy Arrowhead Stadium, where a Week 2 game featured a playoff atmosphere, the Chargers were reminded that despite an offseason of star acquisitions, there is still work to be done to take the lead. ‘AFC West of the Chiefs, six times defending champions. The Chiefs wiped out a 10-point deficit to come from behind and beat the Chargers 27-24 on Thursday night.

The Chargers knew early in the season that their improved roster, which now includes All-Pro point runner Khalil Mack and Pro Bowl cornerback JC Jackson, would be tested early, playing back-to-back divisional games against the Raiders and Las Vegas Chiefs in a five day period.

They went 1-1 and now have a first idea of ​​what needs to improve to win a division title, or at the very least, get out of the intimidating AFC West.

Pivot play: With 10:43 remaining, the score was tied 17-17 and the Chargers heading for the Chiefs 3-yard line, quarterback Justin Herbert fired a pass intended for tight end Gerald Everett who was picked up by rookie cornerback Jaylen Watson. Watson returned the 99-yard interception for a touchdown to give the Chiefs their first lead of the game, 24-17. On the previous play, Everett gained 26 yards on a catch and ran to set up first base. But the pick of six illustrated the growing pains felt between Herbert and Everett throughout training camp. The Bolts signed Everett in the offseason to a two-year, $12 million deal.

Promising trend: The productivity of receiver Mike Williams. After a quiet Week 1 performance (two catches for 10 yards) and with Keenan Allen inactive with a hamstring injury, Williams has stepped up considerably. In the first half, Williams caught a 39-yard pass to set up a touchdown that gave the Chargers a 10-0 lead. At halftime, Williams made a circus play for a touchdown, as he dipped and twirled into a one-handed catch for 15 yards to put the Chargers up 17-7. The touchdown reception had a completion probability of just 31%, according to NFL Next Gen Stats, and it was the second one-handed touchdown catch in Williams’ six-year career. Williams finished with eight catches for 113 yards and a touchdown.

Mind-boggling stat: Rookie Zander Horvath caught a 1-yard touchdown pass in the second quarter to give the Bolts a 10-0 lead. Purdue’s seventh-round pick, Horvath also had a one-yard touchdown reception in the 24-19 Week 1 win over the Raiders. Horvath becomes the first seventh-round pick to catch a touchdown pass in each of his first two career games since Chansi Stuckey for the Jets in 2008. Stuckey caught a touchdown pass in three straight games to start his career. –Lindsey Thiry

Underestimated statistics namely: Justin Herbert’s pick of six was rare. He’s the only pick six this century to step into the red zone in the fourth quarter of a tie game.

Next game: vs. Jaguars (4:05 p.m. ET, Sept. 25)

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