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Final score: Chargers take care of Chiefs’ backups, win 38-21

The Chiefs’ reserves couldn’t keep pace with the Chargers’ offensive attack

Los Angeles Chargers v Kansas City Chiefs Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images

After a promising start to the game, the Kansas City Chiefs’ team filled with second-stringers and practice squad players could not keep up with the track meet that the Los Angeles Chargers turned this game into. The Chiefs lost 38-21, finishing the regular season with a record of 14-2. The Chargers finished 2020 with a four-game win streak and a record of 7-9.

Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert finished 22 of 31, 302 yards and three touchdowns — while Chiefs quarterback Chad Henne totaled 23 of 32, 218 yards and two touchdowns. The Chargers’ leading receiver was wide receiver Mike Williams, who caught six passes for 108 yards and a score. Chiefs running back Darwin Thompson was the highlight for Kansas City; he finished with 110 total yards and two total touchdowns.

On the opening drive of the game, Henne completed 5 of 5 passes for 60 yards — finishing with a two-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Byron Pringle. The red-zone opportunity was set up by a third-and-9 screen pass to Darwin Thompson that went for 33 yards.

The Chargers answered with a touchdown drive of their own — going 75 yards in 12 plays to tie the game at 7-7. Tight end Donald Parham Jr. took an 8-yard reception in for a score, although he had a chance to be tackled by safety Armani Watts.

The following possession resulted in another score for the Chiefs — but it didn’t come without some luck. A third-down pass bounced off Thompson’s hands but luckily fell into wide receiver Byron Pringle’s lap to get down to the 1-yard line. Two plays later, Thompson punched it in to make the score 14-7 early in the second quarter.

Quarterback Justin Herbert looked to have a long touchdown pass on the next drive, but his receiver dropped the deep, open pass. The Chiefs defense rebounded to force a punt from the Chargers, but punt returner Mecole Hardman muffed it and allowed Los Angeles to recover at the Chiefs’ 17-yard line.

Four plays later, Chargers’ running back Austin Ekeler took a pass and plowed in for six points to tie the game at 14-14.

After a Chiefs’ three-and-out with time winding down in the first half, the Chargers marched down the field with little resistance. They traveled 76 yards on 14 plays to get down to the Chiefs’ 2-yard line as the two-minute warning hit. On the 15th play — fourth-and-goal — Herbert attempted a sneak up the middle but was stuffed by defensive tackle Khalen Saunders to keep the score at 14-14.

Backed up inches from their own goal line, the Chiefs offense barely avoided a safety on the first play of the drive — but then earned one when Henne was sacked on the following play. That gave Los Angeles the lead and the ball with 1:46 left in the second quarter.

With 59 yards to go for a score, the Chargers got down to the Kansas City 2 with help from an unnecessary roughness penalty by safety Juan Thornhill and a defensive pass interference call on rookie cornerback BoPete Keyes. Herbert was able to convert a sneak into six points a couple of plays later. A two-point conversion made the score 24-14 in favor of the Chargers at halftime.

The third quarter started with a Chargers’ drive. After a couple of first downs, the Chiefs’ defense clamped down to force a punt with two sacks on back-to-back plays — one each by defensive ends Alex Okafor and Tim Ward.

The offense followed up that good start by driving 62 yards to the Chargers’ 30-yard line — but stalled there when Thompson was stuffed on a fourth-and-one run.

Los Angeles took over and started putting together a decent drive. Then, Herbert launched a 48-yard bomb to wide receiver Mike Williams for a touchdown to extend their lead to 31-14. Keyes fell down in coverage, allowing Williams to be wide open at the goal line.

As the fourth quarter began, the Chiefs drove down the field thanks to multiple chunk plays — but none as big as Pringle’s 31-yard catch-and-run that featured him breaking four tackles as he got to the Chargers’ 11-yard line. Three plays later, Henne found Thompson in the flat for an 8-yard touchdown reception to get the score to 31-21.

The Chargers proceeded to run down the throat of the Chiefs defense on the following drive. Five of the six plays on the touchdown drive were runs — finishing off with a 1-yard plunge to get the score to 38-21.


Injuries

  • Linebacker Willie Gay Jr. left the game after the third play of the opening series when he collided with teammate Darius Harris on an attempted tackle. After having his left leg checked out on the sideline, he was helped to the locker room. He was ruled questionable to return with a leg/ankle injury soon after but eventually was ruled out for the game.
  • Cornerback Deandre Baker went down with a scary, non-contact leg injury in the third quarter. He was transported off the field with a stretcher. Later, the Chiefs announced him as out.

Special teams

  • Cornerback Rashad Fenton received the opening kickoff and took it 44 yards to set up the Chiefs offense at their own 44-yard line.
  • Punt returner Mecole Hardman muffed a punt in the second quarter to set up the Chargers at the Chiefs’ 17-yard line.

Rapid reaction

The game’s rapid reaction will be posted to our homepage shortly.


CATEGORY LAC KC
Total Yards 416 268
Total Plays 69 50
Yards per play 6.0 5.4
Rushing Yards 135 51
Rush Attempts 35 17
Yards per rush 3.90 3.00
Passing Gross Yards 302 218
Sacks/Yards lost 3/21 1/1
Passing Net Yards 281 217
Comp/Att/Pct 22/31/71% 23/32/72%
Yards per pass 8.30 6.60
Interceptions thrown 0 0
Fumbles lost 0 1
Turnovers 0 1
Penalties/Yards 4/23 5/69
Total Drives 9 8
First downs 29 18
Rushing first downs 10 4
Passing first downs 16 13
Penalty first downs 3 1
Third down (Made/Att/Pct) 3/7/43% 6/9/67%
Fourth down (Made/Att/Pct) 0/1/0% 0/1/0%
Goal to go (Made/Att/Pct) 4/6/67% 2/2/100%
Red Zone (Made/Att/Pct) 4/6/67% 3/3/100%
Touchdowns 5 3
TDs/Rushing 2 1
TDs/Passing 3 2
TDs/Interception 0 0
TDs/Kickoff Return 0 0
TDs/Fumble Return 0 0
TDs/Punt Return 0 0
TDs/Defense/ST 0 0
Safeties 1 0
Extra Points (Made/Att) 5/5 3/3
Field Goals (Made/Att) 0/0 0/0
Two-Point Conv (Made/Att) 1/1 0/0
Kickoffs (Num/EZ/TB) 6/2/0 5/3/3
Punts (Num/Yds) 2/87 2/82
Gross Punting Avg Yds 43.5 41.0
Net Punting Avg Yds 43.5 41.0
Total Rtn Yds (No KOs) 0 0
Punt Returns (Num/Yds) 0/0 1/0
Kickoff Returns (Num/Yds) 2/25 6/166
Int Returns (Num/Yds) 0/0 0/0
Punts blocked 0 0
FGs/PATs Blocked 0/0 0/0
Timeouts (Rem/Used) 3/0 3/0
Time of Possession 34:51 25:09
Attendance -- 13,240

CHIEFS PASSING C ATT YDS AVG TD LG INT SK SKYD RTG
Chad Henne 23 32 218 6.8 2 37 0 1 1 111.2
TEAM 23 32 218 6.8 2 37 0 1 1 //

CHARGERS PASSING C ATT YDS AVG TD LG INT SK SKYD RTG
Justin Herbert 22 31 302 9.7 3 48 0 3 21 134.1
TEAM 22 31 302 9.7 3 48 0 3 21 //

CHIEFS RUSHING CAR YDS AVG TD LG
Darwin Thompson 14 45 3.2 1 10
Chad Henne 2 0 0.0 0 0
Anthony Sherman 1 6 6.0 0 6
TEAM 17 51 3.0 1 10

CHARGERS RUSHING CAR YDS AVG TD LG
Kalen Ballage 13 36 2.8 1 9
Justin Jackson 9 72 8.0 0 34
Austin Ekeler 7 18 2.6 0 6
Justin Herbert 6 9 1.5 1 9
TEAM 35 135 3.9 2 34

CHIEFS RECEIVING REC YDS AVG TD LG TGTS YAC
Gehrig Dieter 1 10 10.0 0 10 2 5
Mecole Hardman 2 25 12.5 0 18 2 30
Byron Pringle 4 52 13.0 1 31 6 24
Demarcus Robinson 6 58 9.7 0 12 7 24
Darwin Thompson 7 65 9.3 1 37 7 88
Darrel Williams 1 2 2.0 0 2 1 6
Deon Yelder 2 6 3.0 0 8 6 4
TEAM 23 218 9.5 2 37 31 181

CHARGERS RECEIVING REC YDS AVG TD LG TGTS YAC
Stephen Anderson 3 52 17.3 0 18 3 42
Austin Ekeler 6 33 5.5 1 9 7 31
Jalen Guyton 0 0 0 0 0 4 0
Justin Jackson 1 32 32.0 0 32 2 39
Tyron Johnson 2 35 17.5 0 27 2 19
Gabe Nabers 1 5 5.0 0 5 1 2
Donald Parham Jr. 3 37 12.3 1 22 4 22
Mike Williams 6 108 18.0 1 48t 7 18
TEAM 22 302 13.7 3 48T 30 173

CHIEFS FUMBLES FUM LOST FF REC
(OWN)
TD REC
(OPP)
TD
Mecole Hardman 1 1 0 0 0 0 0
Chad Henne 1 0 0 1 0 0 0
Darwin Thompson 1 0 0 1 0 0 0
TEAM 3 1 0 2 0 0 0

CHARGERS FUMBLES FUM LOST FF REC
(OWN)
TD REC
(OPP)
TD
Joe Reed 0 0 0 0 0 1 0
TEAM 0 0 0 0 0 1 0

CHIEFS DEFENSE TOT SOLO ASST SACK YDS INT TFL PD QBH TD FF FR
DeAndre Baker 5 4 1 1.0 11.0 0 1 1 1 0 0 0
Mike Danna 2 2 0 0.0 0.0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Rashad Fenton 3 1 2 0.0 0.0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0
Willie Gay 1 1 0 0.0 0.0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Antonio Hamilton 2 1 1 0.0 0.0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Darius Harris 10 7 3 0.0 0.0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0
Chad Henne 0 0 0 0.0 0.0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1
BoPete Keyes 7 6 1 0.0 0.0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Alex Okafor 1 1 0 1.0 3.0 0 1 0 1 0 0 0
Mike Pennel 3 1 2 0.0 0.0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0
Khalen Saunders 3 3 0 0.0 0.0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Darwin Thompson 0 0 0 0.0 0.0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1
Juan Thornhill 4 3 1 0.0 0.0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Tim Ward 5 5 0 1.0 7.0 0 1 0 2 0 0 0
Armani Watts 7 5 2 0.0 0.0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Tershawn Wharton 2 0 2 0.0 0.0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Damien Wilson 5 4 1 0.0 0.0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0
TEAM 60 44 16 3 21 0 4 3 5 0 0 2

CHARGERS DEFENSE TOT SOLO ASST SACK YDS INT TFL PD QBH TD FF FR
Nasir Adderley 5 5 0 0.0 0.0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Tevaughn Campbell 3 3 0 0.0 0.0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Michael Davis 3 3 0 0.0 0.0 0 0 2 0 0 0 0
Joe Gaziano 0 0 0 0.0 0.0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0
Alohi Gilman 2 1 1 0.0 0.0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0
Chris Harris Jr. 4 3 1 0.0 0.0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Justin Jones 4 2 2 0.0 0.0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Linval Joseph 3 1 2 0.0 0.0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Jessie Lemonier 0 0 0 0.0 0.0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0
Kenneth Murray Jr. 3 1 2 0.0 0.0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Denzel Perryman 7 5 2 0.0 0.0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0
Isaac Rochell 3 3 0 1.0 1.0 0 2 0 1 0 0 0
Damion Square 1 1 0 0.0 0.0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Jerry Tillery 2 2 0 0.0 0.0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0
Nick Vigil 1 1 0 0.0 0.0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Jaylen Watkins 1 1 0 0.0 0.0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
TEAM 42 32 10 1 1 0 3 2 5 0 0 0

CHIEFS INT INT YDS AVG LG TD
TEAM 0 0 0 0 0

CHARGERS INT INT YDS AVG LG TD
TEAM 0 0 0 0 0

CHIEFS KICK RET NO YDS AVG LG TD
Rashad Fenton 3 89 29.7 44 0
Byron Pringle 3 77 25.7 31 0
TEAM 6 166 27.7 44 0

CHARGERS KICK RET NO YDS AVG LG TD
Nasir Adderley 1 18 18.0 18 0
K.J. Hill Jr. 1 7 7.0 7 0
TEAM 2 25 12.5 18 0

CHIEFS PUNT RET NO YDS AVG LG TD
Mecole Hardman 1 0 0.0 0 0
TEAM 1 0 0.0 0 0

CHARGERS PUNT RET NO YDS AVG LG TD
TEAM 0 0 0 0 0

CHIEFS KICKING FGM/FGA PCT LONG XP PTS
TEAM 0/0 0.0 0 0 0

CHARGERS KICKING FGM/FGA PCT LONG XP PTS
TEAM 0/0 0.0 0 0 0

CHIEFS PUNTING NO YDS AVG TB I20 LG
Tommy Townsend 2 82 41.0 0 0 44
TEAM 2 82 41.0 0 0 44

CHARGERS PUNTING NO YDS AVG TB I20 LG
Ty Long 2 87 43.5 0 2 47
TEAM 2 87 43.5 0 2 47