Chargers vs. Chiefs score, takeaways: Patrick Mahomes, Chiefs rally past Chargers; Justin Herbert injured – CBS Sports

Chargers vs. Chiefs score, takeaways: Patrick Mahomes, Chiefs rally past Chargers;  Justin Herbert injured - CBS Sports

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

Both Mahomes and Justin Herbert started off slow, but eventually found their respective rhythms. Mahomes built on his impressive Week 1 performance, completing 24 of 35 passes for 235 yards, two touchdowns and zero interceptions. Herbert on the other hand completed 33 of 48 passes for 334 yards, three touchdowns and one interception. Mike Williams stepped up for the inactive Keenan Allen in a big way as he caught eight passes for 113 yards and one touchdown. In the end, it wasn’t enough.

The Chiefs made an interesting decision to kick a field goal on 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 returned it 99 yards the other way for the Chiefs’ first lead of the game.

Herbert suffered a rib cage/rib injury that knocked him out for a play while trying to orchestrate a comeback. As he returned, he did not look comfortable at all. He continued to lead a nine-play, 73-yard drive that ended with a touchdown pass to Josh Palmer on fourth-and-goal, but LA was unable to recover the onside kick.

Why the Chiefs won

The Chiefs didn’t start strong, but never managed to get too far even when they struggled. In the first half it looked like the Chargers should have had more of a lead, but they did a good job of staying in it. The momentum shifted in the second half with 20 unanswered points by the Chiefs, which took them from being down 14-7 to taking a 27-14 lead.

The Chiefs got lucky with some close interceptions by the Chargers, specifically by Asante Samuel Jr., that didn’t result in a takedown. They almost had a fumble near the goal line as well, with the ball coming out of Travis Kelce’s hands following a body slam by Derwin James, but he was brought down by contact.

If any of these close turnovers ended up as actual bosses, that might be a different story.

Speaking of turnovers, it was ultimately turnover that made the difference. The Chargers knocked on the door of the end zone, but a 99-yard pick 6 by Chiefs’ Jaylen Watson ended up giving Kansas City its first lead of the game. Another three points 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 the most of the time

Despite coming out strong and impressive in the first half, they never had a big lead. When it comes to playing Mahomes and the Chiefs, a close lead is as good as no lead, because they are a team that knows how to come back.

The Chargers’ mistakes, like struggling on third down, giving Mahomes and Co. good field position after a close safety in the second half, and the pick 6 were the difference makers.

The second half was a different story than the first as the Chiefs chipped away at 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 wildly outmatched by Mahomes and held his own when the pressure was on, but in a matchup of two elite teams, sometimes one interception makes all the difference.

Turning point

The Chiefs’ second touchdown of the day was a Justin Watson pass from Mahomes for 41 yards and set off their 20 unanswered points. Until then, the Chargers were in control and the Chiefs looked like they needed a spark and that was just that spark to start their run. The next touchdown was also from 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 Gen Stats“The Chiefs’ win probability jumped from 31% to 85% as a result of Watson’s pick 6 of Herbert, a 54% increase, the biggest win probability swing on a pick 6 over the last three seasons.”

Watch the long interception return:

What follows

Next up for the Chiefs is the Indianapolis Colts on September 25th. The Chiefs will travel to Lucas Oil Stadium to take on an AFC South team that currently stands at 0-0-1 heading into the weekend after a tie against the Houston Texans. .

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

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