The final result: Kansas City Chiefs 27, Los Angeles Chargers 24
It was a long night, but the Chiefs were victorious in a tough prime-time battle against a competitor in West Asia. The Chiefs had to withstand the Chargers’ aggressive onslaught before orchestrating a second-half comeback to secure a 2-0 start of the season. The defense came in big – and provided a game-changing moment.
Crime (Talon Graf)
Kansas City’s offensive was tested throughout the game with a reworked (and much improved) Los Angeles defense. Joey Bossa and Khalil Mack led a dash of passes that continued to cause problems. While the offensive line only allowed one sack, the Charger’s pressure was clear and present. Quarterback Patrick Mahomes had to do a lot to keep play alive and get the ball on the field. Without defending by picking a massive six, this game might have ended differently.
The running game was basically non-existent; The team mustered only 92 yards. That number was amplified by a 52-yard long in the fourth run by Clyde Edwards Heller that led to a field goal. Edwards Heller led the committee in eight buggies for 74 yards. Jerick McKinnon added 12 on four carriers — and as a receiver, he was able to score the Chiefs’ first touchdown. For the second week in a row, Edwards-Helaire was also instrumental as a receiver, pulling four passes for 44 yards.
Novice running back Isiah Pacheco had just two touchdowns for a speeding six yards. He had a chance to shoot the ball near the goal line but was stopped. We didn’t see much of it after that. However, he was able to step in and make some nice blocks to help the offensive line protect the pass.
The beloved pre-season Justin Watson scored at a pivotal moment in the game, making a superb grab on the Chargers’ Cornback J.C. Jackson for a 41-yard scoring strike that kept the Chiefs three points clear. Although Los Angeles did a good job of keeping him in check, Travis Kelsey was the leading receiver with 51 yards in the big moments. Hats off to Mikol Hardman, who gave plays when Kansas City really needed them, coming out with three grabs for 49 yards.
Although it wasn’t a huge offending, it did just enough to win.
Attacking player: Quarterback Patrick Mahomes
Mahomes had been running all evening, trying to avoid the violent rush of the freight lane. Even under pressure, Mahomes still completed 24 for 35 for 235 yards and two touchdown passes. He was the lifeblood of the entire crime, designing every production we’ve seen. Thursday night was the MVP performance of No. 15.
Defense (Brian Stewart)
What a strange road trip.
After a first half in which it felt completely outclassed by Kansas City—and its defense was showing an inability to handle the ball carriers or cover Chargers receiver Mike Williams—the team was still only three points behind at the break.
On a night when the attack didn’t seem to find its feet or rhythm, the defense ultimately saved the day in the second half. With both teams looking pretty tired, it was rookie cornerback Jaylen Watson from Pick Six who completely swung the match result. The young man had intervened for the sake of wounded Trent McDuffy – and he was delivered. He 100% seems to be part of a really strong player.
In the first half, the Chiefs’ defensive front created very little pressure on Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert – but in the second half, both (and the fans) gained traction. Led by Chris Jones, the unit is already beginning to hit Justin Herbert enough to cause some discomfort. Unfortunately for Herbert, he appears to have had one of those blows.
Interference remains the biggest public problem. Part of this is because it’s early in the season – a time of year when all the teams tend to struggle to get in. But she still has to get it Much Better – or it will eventually cost team matches. The same applies to penalties at the secondary level; Cornbacke Rashad Fenton had several.
The story of the match – and why the defense was ultimately the unit that helped the team win – was once again the retreating third defense. The unit brought together two consecutive weeks of excellent statistical output in late downturns. On Thursday, 5 of the 16 chargers were in third place. They went 4 for 4 in 4th place, but most of those came very late in the game – when it was almost completely out of reach.
Defensive player: Defensive Chris Jones
Jones rose as the defensive unit’s best player to save energy, drive and – most importantly – Casein in the second half. He also had a huge pass deflection.
It’s still early in the season – and both defense and attack have shown that there is a lot they can improve. Given that the team is now 2-0 (and just beat the toughest competition in the AFC West), that’s a scary proposition.
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