Chiefs vs. Chargers Instabreakdown: Kansas City gets a gritty win

Final rating: Kansas City Chiefs 27, Los Angeles Chargers 24

It was a lengthy night time, however the Chiefs had been victorious in a brutal primetime battle towards an AFC West rival. The Chiefs needed to stand up to an aggressive Chargers offense earlier than orchestrating a second-half comeback to safe a 2-0 begin to their season. The protection got here by way of in a huge manner — and supplied a game-changing second.

Offense (Talon Graff)

The Kansas City offense was examined all through the sport by a reworked (and much-improved) Los Angeles protection. Joey Bosa and Khalil Mack spearheaded a cross rush that continued to trigger issues. While the offensive line allowed only one sack, the Chargers’ strain was clear and current. Quarterback Patrick Mahomes needed to do a lot to maintain performs alive and get the ball downfield. Without the protection coming by way of on a enormous pick-six, this recreation might need ended a lot otherwise.

The operating recreation was basically nonexistent; the group solely mustered 92 yards. That quantity is inflated by a lengthy 52-yard fourth-quarter run by Clyde Edwards-Helaire that led to the game-sealing discipline aim. Edwards-Helaire led the committee in carries with eight for 74 yards. Jerick McKinnon added 12 on 4 carries — and as a receiver, was capable of rating the Chiefs’ first landing. For the second week in a row, Edwards-Helaire was additionally efficient as a receiver, hauling in 4 passes for 44 yards.

Rookie operating again Isiah Pacheco had simply two touches for six speeding yards. He had a probability to punch in a rating close to the aim line however was stopped quick. We did not see way more from him after that. He was, nevertheless, capable of step in and make some good blocks to assist out the offensive line in cross safety.

Preseason darling Justin Watson scored at a pivotal second within the recreation, making a good seize over Chargers cornerback JC Jackson for a 41-yard scoring strike that stored the Chiefs inside three factors. Even although Los Angeles did a good job preserving him in verify, Travis Kelce was the main receiver with 51 clutch yards in huge moments. Hats off to Mecole Hardman, who made performs for when Kansas City actually wanted them, arising with three catches for 49 yards.

While it wasn’t a huge output from the offense, it did sufficient to get the win.

Offensive Player of the Game: Quarterback Patrick Mahomes

Mahomes was operating round all night, attempting to keep away from the fierce Chargers cross rush. Even below strain, Mahomes nonetheless accomplished 24 for 35 for 235 yards and two landing passes. He was the lifeblood for your complete offense, engineering all of the manufacturing that we noticed. Thursday night time was an MVP efficiency from No. 15.

Defense (Bryan Stewart)

What a bizarre, wild journey.

After a first half by which it felt like Kansas City was being completely outclassed — and its protection was exhibiting zero skill to sort out ball carriers or cowl Chargers huge receiver Mike Williams — the group nonetheless trailed by simply three factors on the break.

On a night time by which the offense by no means appeared to search out its footing or rhythm, the protection in the end saved the day within the second half. With each groups showing extremely fatigued, it was rookie cornerback Jaylen Watson’s pick-six that absolutely swung the end result of the sport. The younger man stepped in for the injured Trent McDuffie — and delivered. He 100% appears the a part of a actually strong participant.

In the primary half, the Chiefs’ defensive entrance created little or no strain on Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert — however within the second, each it (and the group) gained steam. Led by Chris Jones, the unit actually began to hit Justin Herbert sufficient to create a little bit of discomfort. Unfortunately for Herbert, it seems he was injured by a type of blows.

Tackling continues to be the most important total drawback. Part of it’s because it is early within the season — a time of yr when all groups are likely to battle with tackling. But it nonetheless has to get a lot higher — or it can finally price the group video games. The similar goes for penalties within the secondary; cornerback Rashad Fenton had a number of.

The story of the sport — and why the protection was in the end the unit that helped the group win — was as soon as once more the third-down protection. The unit has strung collectively two straight weeks of fantastic statistical output on late downs. On Thursday, the Chargers had been 5-of-16 on third down. They did go 4-for-4 on fourth down, however most of these got here very late within the recreation — when it was nearly utterly out of attain.

Defensive Player of the Game: Defensive sort out Chris Jones

Jones stepped up because the defensive unit’s greatest participant to supply power, management — and most significantly — two sacks within the second half. He additionally had a huge cross deflection.

It’s nonetheless early within the season — and each the protection and offense have proven there’s loads they’ll enhance upon. Considering that the group is now 2-0 (and simply beat their stiffest AFC West competitors), that is a scary proposition.

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