Finally, the Kansas City Chiefs had a game with the Los Angeles Chargers that didn’t come down to the very last drive. In the first half, it appeared to be an epic shootout with offenses trading touchdowns. The second half saw both defenses step up, but the Chiefs were clearly the better team on both sides of the ball.
Here are a few that stood out in a 31-17 Sunday afternoon victory:
Quarterback Patrick Mahomes: If it wasn’t for the deep-ball interception, Mahomes was nearly perfect in Week 7. Going over 300 yards is a good game for most quarterbacks; Mahomes passed that in the first half. He ended the day with 424 yards and four touchdowns, only being sacked once while rushing for 29 important yards. The Chargers have one of the best pass rushes in the league, and Mahomes left them grasping and gasping for air.
Tight end Travis Kelce: Kelce was unstoppable against the Chargers, especially in the first half. Always open, always catching the ball cleanly and getting up field, connecting with Mahomes on their 50th touchdown together. He was a star among stars again on Sunday.
Defensive lineman Charles Omenihu: Six weeks of rest appears to have treated Omenihu well. He was a force in his Chiefs debut. A sack, two quarterback hits and a batted pass that was intercepted by L’Jarius Sneed. The Chiefs' offseason plan was probably to have him and Chris Jones destroy pockets, leaving quarterbacks nowhere to run, while someone on the defensive line finishes the play. Five sacks and eight QB hits as a team, shutting down drives and holding the Chargers to 17 points — I’d say the plan is working pretty well.
Wide receiver Rashee Rice: He may have been third on the list of receiving production this week, but Rice looked like the Chiefs’ No. 1 receiver of the present and the future. Rice caught five of six targets for 60 yards and a touchdown, each play showing a skillset that is unique and desperately needed on this team.
Wide receiver and returner Mecole Hardman: Box score scouts and anyone desperate enough to start Hardman in fantasy football may have been disappointed in Mecole’s game. But his impact was obvious to those watching, from the 50-yard punt return to the tough catch for the final first down of the game for the Chiefs. Hardman is back.
Linebacker Willie Gay Jr.: Gay was everywhere against the Chargers. Five tackles and a sack was already a solid day before he jumped into the Arrowhead sky and batted down a pass in the fourth quarter, nearly coming up with an interception for himself or a teammate — and forcing a punt to set up Mecole Hardman’s big return and the touchdown that put this game out of reach.
Linebacker Drue Tranquill: Getting to face his former team as a captain was probably the third-best thing that happened for Drue Tranquill Sunday afternoon. Getting a sack against Justin Herbert to help close out the game must have been a huge thrill as well. But walking away a winner and contributor in his first time facing the Chargers had to be the best feeling for the Chiefs’ linebacker.
Running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire: Edwards-Helaire’s only noticeable contribution to this game was his seven-yard run. But that came right after he dropped a pass in the Chiefs' own end zone. His other carry went for negative-2 yards. It seems like his usage is predictable, and so is the outcome.
Tight end Blake Bell: Bell is the blocking tight end, so we shouldn’t expect big passing game production. That said, on his only catch of the day, Bell fumbled, putting the Chargers in position to swing momentum back in their direction. Fortunately for the Chiefs, the defense bailed him out, but it wasn’t a banner day for “the Belldozer.”
Note: Applying the labels “winners” and “losers” is not intended to be a judgment on the talent or character of any of these players. It’s just a simple way to grade their performance in a single game. No disrespect is intended.