Following an impressive victory over the Arizona Cardinals to open their season, the Kansas City Chiefs returned to GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium to face the Los Angeles Chargers in a Week 2 Thursday Night Football matchup that they won 27-24, extending their record to 2-0.
Beginning the game looking flat on both offense and defense, Kansas City allowed its AFC West rivals to build up a 10-0 lead before quarterback Patrick Mahomes found running back Jerick McKinnon with a nine-yard touchdown pass in the second quarter.
But then the Chargers opened the third quarter by cruising down the field for another score, opening their lead to 17-7. Two and a half minutes later, Mahomes hit wide receiver Justin Watson in the end zone to make the score 17-14. The Kansas City defense finally showed some life, holding Los Angeles to consecutive three-and-outs and giving the Chiefs good field position for a drive that led to a field goal that tied the game at the beginning of the fourth quarter.
The Chargers drove effortlessly down the field — appearing ready to re-take the lead — but rookie cornerback Jaylen Watson stepped in front of a Justin Herbert pass, returning it 99 yards for a touchdown and a 24-17 Kansas City lead. Three punts later, Clyde Edwards-Helaire whipped off a 52-yard run that put the Chiefs inside the red zone with less than four minutes remaining. That led to another field goal and a 27-17 Kansas City lead. Los Angeles responded with a two-minute drive leading to another touchdown that made the score 27-24 with just 1:11 remaining. The Chargers’ onside kick failed, handing the Chiefs their 27-24 win.
The Amazon Prime era of NFL coverage began with Chiefs running back Isiah Pacheco watching the opening kickoff sail through the end zone. The Chiefs began at their own 25-yard line. Clyde Edwards-Helaire handled three of the first four touches and promptly put the Chiefs at midfield. The Chiefs advanced to the Chargers’ 42 — but on third-and-2, a designed run to Mecole Hardman lost four yards. A Tommy Townsend punt just crossed the plane of the end zone, giving the Chargers their first possession at their own 20-yard line.
The Chargers quickly gained 24 yards on two catches by Mike Williams. An eight-yard carry by Austin Ekeler and a 12-yard pass to Deandre Carter moved the Chargers to the Chiefs’ 36. The Chiefs appeared to have made a crucial third-down stop, but a pass interference penalty on Rashad Fenton gave the Chargers new life at the Chiefs’ 21. After a negative pass play to Ekeler and an incomplete pass to Williams, the Chargers’ drive eventually stalled at the Chiefs’ 13. Dustin Hopkins kicked a 31-yard field goal to open the scoring with the Chargers holding a 3-0 lead.
Another touchback put the Chiefs right back on their own 25. The Chiefs’ second drive would go nowhere. Khalil Mack dropped Mahomes for a nine-yard sack, and then a third-down screen pass to Jerick McKinnon promptly lost six additional yards. From his own 13-yard line, Townsend punted 49 yards to the Chargers’ 38. After a short return, Los Angeles took over at their own 42-yard line.
An eight-yard pass to Williams put the Chargers right back into Chiefs’ territory. Willie Gay snuffed out a trick play lateral from Carter to Ekeler, however, for a four-yard loss. Williams caught a five-yard pass on third down to bring up 4th-and-inches. A quarterback sneak by Herbert kept the drive alive. Two plays later, Williams caught a deep pass to the Chiefs’ one-yard line — playing through multiple penalties by Fenton. On first down, Sony Michel was unable to gain the final yard, and the first quarter came to a close with the Chargers leading 3-0.
The Chargers started the second quarter with a heavy formation as Herbert converted a one-yard touchdown pass to rookie fullback Zander Horvath. An extra point by Hopkins extended the Chargers’ lead to 10-0.
Starting their third drive from their own 25-yard line, Mahomes quickly found Mecole Hardman for a deep pass, taking Kansas City to the Chargers’ 45. After a Pacheco carry took the Chiefs inside the Chargers’ 40, Mahomes appeared to throw a devastating interception — only to see it nullified by an illegal contact penalty. After McKinnon took the Chiefs inside the 30, Joey Bosa jumped offsides on a third-and-4. Recognizing the opportunity for a free play, Mahomes found Kelce, who took the ball to the nine-yard line. On the next play, Mahomes escaped what appeared to be a certain sack and threw to McKinnon on the run for a touchdown. Replacement kicker Matt Ammendola’s extra point attempt was true, cutting the Chargers’ lead to 10-7.
Carter took Ammendola’s kickoff to the 33. Another catch by Williams and a series of carries by Ekeler quickly had the Chargers back in Chiefs’ territory. On a third-and-2 from the Kansas City 47, however, Herbert’s pass bounced off of the hands of receiver Josh Palmer. Chargers punter JK Scott made his first appearance of the night — and Chiefs receiver Skyy Moore called for a fair catch to start Kansas City’s next drive at their own eight-yard line.
The Chiefs appeared to be moving quickly with carries by Edwards-Helaire and passes to Kelce and Hardman moving close to the 30. However, consecutive short-yardage attempts by Edwards-Helaire and Pacheco failed to net a first down. On a fourth-and-one from their own 29, Townsend came in for his third punt. Carter took the ball at his own 12 yard-line and advanced to the 23 on the return.
The Chargers racked up a pair of first downs on catches by Palmer — one with Herbert facing heavy pressure on a blitz by Willie Gay Jr. After gaining nine yards on carries by Ekeler and Joshua Kelley, the first half reached the two-minute warning with the Chargers facing a third-and-1 from the Chiefs’ 47. The Chargers were not able to convert as Chris Jones sacked Herbert for a one yard loss. Scott’s punt bounced to the Chiefs’ 13-yard line, where Mahomes and company took over with only 53 seconds remaining in the half.
The Chiefs were not able to get anything going deep in their own territory. A bizarre holding penalty on right tackle Andrew Wylie — that initially appeared to be a roughing the passer call on Bosa — pinned Kansas City even further back. Townsend made one of the best punts of his career — booting the ball 74 yards and preventing any end-of-the-half heroics by the Chargers. Herbert kneeled at his own eight-yard-line to end the half, with the Chargers holding on to a 10-7 lead.
The Chargers took a touchback as the second half began. The Chargers, coming out of the locker room with a backup center, started the drive with a fast tempo. Gay badly missed a tackle on a pass play to Ekeler, which went for an 18-yard gain. Herbert and Williams found a huge hole in the Chiefs’ zone defense to advance to the Chiefs’ 27. Nick Bolton wrapped up Ekeler on a third-and-1 to bring up third down, but the running back gained three yards on the next play to convert. From the 15-yard line, Herbert found Williams on the end zone sideline for the score. Hopkins nailed the extra point to extend the Chargers’ lead to 17-7.
After another touchback, Mahomes threw a deep ball to Hardman that was intercepted by Derwin James, but the play was nullified by offsetting penalties. Hardman appeared shaken up on the play. Immediately after, Asante Samuel Jr. appeared to intercept Mahomes at the Chiefs’ 38. Upon review, it was clear that the ball ever so slightly touched the ground, maintaining the Kansas City possession.
Given new life, Mahomes connected with Noah Gray for a first down. Edwards-Helaire then took the ball into Chargers territory after breaking a James tackle on a short pass that turned into a 21-yard gain. Hardman returned to the game, though was not able to catch a short pass behind him before leaving again. Facing third-and-10 from the Chargers’ 41, Mahomes found Justin Watson on a deep route for a touchdown. Ammendola converted his second extra point attempt as the Chiefs cut the Chargers' lead to 17-14.
After a touchback, the Chargers went three-and-out on their next drive. Justin Reid broke up a third-and-2 pass from Herbert. Moore called for a fair catch of Scott’s punt at the Chiefs’ 29-yard line.
The Chiefs mirrored the Chargers with a three-and-out of their own. Townsend’s fifth punt of the night pinned the Chargers deep after Carter called for a fair catch at his own nine-yard line.
After moving the ball effectively most of the game, the Chargers failed to convert a first down for a consecutive possession. Herbert narrowly avoided a safety as Jones sacked him at the Chargers’ two yard line. Scott punted from the back of the end zone, and Moore called for the fair catch at the Chargers’ 36-yard line.
The Chiefs appeared set to continue the run of offensive futility, quickly facing third-and-10. Mahomes then found Hardman on low pass for 11 yards. After a nine-yard pass to Watson, Mahomes scrambled and found Kelce in motion. James tackled Kelce at the three-yard line — in a way that seemed more appropriate to professional wrestling than the National Football League. A two-yard rush by McKinnon, an incomplete pass to Jody Fortson, and a completion for no gain followed. The third quarter came to an end with the Chiefs still down 17-14 — and facing fourth-and-1 from their own one-yard line.
Ammendola opened the fourth quarter by nailing the shortest possible field goal, tying the game at 17-all.
The Chargers appeared set to start at their own 25 after another touchback, but an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty on rookie safety Bryan Cook moved the ball to the 40. Three touches by Ekeler advanced the ball into Chiefs’ territory for a first down. Passes to Carter and Gerald Everett put the Chargers inside the Kansas City 30. Herbert went right back to Everett, who rumbled after a short pass and took it to the three-yard line. With the Chargers knocking on the door, rookie cornerback Jaylen Watson intercepted Herbert — and returned the ball 99 yards for a touchdown and the Chiefs’ first lead of the night. After Ammendola’s successful extra point, the Chiefs led 24-17.
After another touchback, the Chargers went three-and-out for the third time in four drives. Moore caught Scott’s punt at the 30, but another special-teams foul on Cook forced the Chiefs to start their next drive at their own 15.
The Chiefs started their next drive at a slower pace, appearing focused on keeping the clock moving. Edwards-Helaire gained 3 yards on a rush and then 13 yards on a screen pass. The Chiefs were not able to convert another first down, however. Carter called for a fair catch of Townsend’s sixth punt of the night at the Chargers 14-yard line.
The Chargers gained 20 yards on passes to Everett, but one of the most frightening moments of the young season happened on the second. Herbert just got the throw off under heavy pressure from Mike Danna — and Herbert stayed on the ground after Danna landed on him. He walked off on his own power, and former Chiefs backup Chase Daniel entered the game. Herbert re-entered the game after the next play, a four-yard run by Michel. He immediately took another huge shot, this time from Frank Clark on an incompletion. The Chargers were forced to punt after Herbert narrowly avoided another interception when he targeted Williams in triple coverage.
The Chiefs took possession at their own 15-yard line. Edwards-Helaire burst through with a 52 yard carry — while exorcising memories of costly fumbles a year ago against the Chargers by tightly gripping the ball. A facemask call on James tacked 15 extra yards onto the play. The Chiefs could not gain another first down, however. Ammendola was good on a 32-yard field goal attempt to extend the Chiefs’ lead to 27-17.
Ammendola’s kickoff was short of the end zone, and the Chargers offense took the field at their own 27 with 3:16 remaining on the clock and only one timeout. A short pass to Ekelor saw multiple missed tackles and advanced to midfield. Herbert at one point on the drive appeared unsuited to remain in the game after he visibly was unable to run for extra yardage to convert a first down. On the next play, however, he threw a laser to Carter at the Chiefs' seven-yard line to bring up the two-minute warning.
After failing to score on the next three plays, the Chiefs’ defense had the opportunity to end the game with a fourth-down stand. But it was not to be: Herbert found Palmer for the short touchdown. Hopkins came on for the extra point to cut the Chiefs' lead to 27-24.
On the onside kick attempt, Watson momentarily stopped the hearts of the entire crowd and audience when the ball bounced out of his hands. But Gray fell on the ball, sealing the Kansas City win and bringing Mahomes to 3-1 in head-to-head matchups with Herbert.
Mecole Hardman appeared to be injured after a play in the third quarter, but returned to the field after a couple of plays. He was reported to have had his heel wrapped.
Punter Tommy Townsend closed the first half with a 74-yard punt from his own 17-yard line. In the second half, he pinned the Chargers inside their own 10 with a 53-yard boot.
After being promoted from the practice squad in place of the injured Harrison Butker, Matt Ammendola was 2/2 on field goals and 3/3 on extra point attempts.
|Yards per play||5.4||5.9|
|Yards per rush||3.10||5.20|
|Passing Gross Yards||334||235|
|Passing Net Yards||326||226|
|Yards per pass||6.50||6.30|
|Rushing first downs||5||2|
|Passing first downs||15||11|
|Penalty first downs||1||2|
|Third down (Made/Att/Pct)||5/16/31%||4/12/33%|
|Fourth down (Made/Att/Pct)||4/4/100%||0/0/0%|
|Goal to go (Made/Att/Pct)||2/3/67%||1/2/50%|
|Red Zone (Made/Att/Pct)||3/5/60%||1/3/33%|
|Extra Points (Made/Att)||3/3||3/3|
|Field Goals (Made/Att)||1/1||2/2|
|Two-Point Conv (Made/Att)||0/0||0/0|
|Gross Punting Avg Yds||40.5||55.5|
|Net Punting Avg Yds||39.5||49.3|
|Total Rtn Yds (No KOs)||17||105|
|Punt Returns (Num/Yds)||2/17||2/6|
|Kickoff Returns (Num/Yds)||2/43||0/0|
|Int Returns (Num/Yds)||0/0||1/99|
|Time of Possession||33:37||26:23|
|CHIEFS FUMBLES||FUM||LOST||FF||REC |
|CHARGERS FUMBLES||FUM||LOST||FF||REC |
|Carlos Dunlap II||3||2||1||0.0||0.0||0||0||0||1||0||0||0|
|Derwin James Jr.||9||6||3||0.0||0.0||0||1||0||0||0||0||0|
|Asante Samuel Jr.||4||3||1||0.0||0.0||0||0||1||0||0||0||0|
|Kenneth Murray Jr.||2||2||0||0.0||0.0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|Kyle Van Noy||2||1||1||0.0||0.0||0||0||2||1||0||0||0|
|Asante Samuel Jr.||1||3||3.0||3||0|
|CHIEFS KICK RET||NO||YDS||AVG||LG||TD|
|CHARGERS KICK RET||NO||YDS||AVG||LG||TD|
|CHIEFS PUNT RET||NO||YDS||AVG||LG||TD|
|CHARGERS PUNT RET||NO||YDS||AVG||LG||TD|