Even with a litany of miscues, in the first half the Chargers were only down four at halftime. There was still hope for the Chargers but Kansas City quickly dashed them on their way to a blowout victory.
Then the Chiefs blew the game open following a pair of Chargers turnovers in back-to-back possessions. With the division title off the table, the Chargers will need a miracle to make the playoffs.
Gates wasn’t involved much, but that touchdown had to be a great feeling for Chargers fans. The future Hall of Famer had a big touchdown catch to put Los Angeles up 13-10. That TD catch was the 86th connection for Rivers and Gates, which is second all-time for quarterback-receiver duos.
Gordon may have played his best half in a Chargers uniform Saturday night. The former first-round pick stepped up in the biggest game of the season. Gordon has faced his fair share of criticism this season, but he proved his value tonight with 153 yards from scrimmage on 21 total touches with a touchdown.
Joey Bosa/Melvin Ingram
Where was the devastating duo in the biggest game of the year?
Nowhere to be found.
Bosa and Ingram were a non-factor and couldn’t get that game-changing sack when the defense really needed it. For the last few weeks Bosa and Ingram have been pretty quiet and that trend continued tonight. With the spotlight shining, they both folded.
Chris Jones bullied Feeney. The third-round pick has been solid after stepping in for Matt Slauson earlier this season, but tonight was his worst game as a pro. In the pass game Jones threw Feeney again and again and laid some big hits on Rivers. The offensive line was poor as a unit against KC, but Jones was definitely the Chiefs most effective lineman tonight.
In his two games against Kansas City, Philip Rivers has one touchdown compared to six interceptions.
By the final whistle, Rivers completed 20-of-36 passes for 227 yards. He also added a touchdown and three interceptions. Not the type of game the Chargers needed from their quarterback who was earning MVP consideration a week ago.
This was a night to forget for Ekeler. The undrafted rookie failed to down the Chiefs inside the one-yard line and fumbled the ball that gave the Chiefs to extend their lead to double-digits. Ekeler has now had to game-deciding turnovers and although he has done some impressive things, the two fumbles will stick with Chargers fans over the long offseason.
In the first half alone, Los Angeles made four special teams mistakes. The Bolts had two penalties that put the offense in poor field position, Austin Ekeler failed to down the ball deep in Kansas City territory, and about four different Chargers failed to recover a muffed punt.
It doesn’t really have to be mentioned, but the Chargers still don’t have an answer at kicker either.
Kareem Hunt and Tyreek Hill are known for their elusiveness. It was on display in this one. Even Denzel Perryman, one of LA’s best tacklers had trouble bringing them down. It’s hard to pick on individuals when it comes to finishing tackles. The entire defense had a hard time wrapping up.
Goodbye, Playoff Hopes
Yes, the Chargers are still technically alive in the playoff hunt, but they need a ton of help. The Ravens, Chiefs or Titans need to have an epic collapse or the Bolts will miss the playoffs for the fourth straight season.
Keenan Allen, Hunter Henry, Jatavis Brown, Corey Liuget, Austin Ekeler, Russell Okung, Denzel Perryman, Adrian Phillips, and Joe Barksdale (x2) all suffered injuries in Saturday’s matchup.
Some were carted off, a few returned, but most of them didn’t come back into the ball game. For a team that has tremendously healthy, it seemed like someone went down on every snap.