A promising opening drive for the Chargers eventually ended in a field goal attempt by Michael Badgley. Big plays to tight end Hunter Henry and running back Austin Ekeler contributed to an impressive drive that ultimately stalled out in the red zone after Philip Rivers handed off on consecutive plays before finally completing a pass underneath to Keenan Allen that was well short of the line to gain. Overall, while the end of the drive was disappointing, it did give Los Angeles and early 3-0 lead.
The Chiefs first drive initially appeared to have some promise with Patrick Mahomes hooking up with Sammy Watkins for a 1st down. However, a Damien Williams holding penalty put them behind the sticks and after two incompletions, the Chiefs elected to punt. Dustin Colquitt’s punt went only 30 yards thanks to a very Chargers-friendly bounce.
Despite great field position following a defensive stand and terrible punt, the Chargers offense only managed to just work their way into field goal position before stalling out again after Troymaine Pope dropped a screen pass on 3rd & 5. Badgley’s second attempt of the evening went wide right from 40 yards out. Unnecessary roughness called against the Chiefs didn’t affect the change of possession, but it did back up the Chiefs’ offense.
A huge tackle for loss by Damion Square on the second play of the drive put the Chiefs in a 3rd & 7 and gave the Chargers a chance to force another punt, but instead they allowed Mahomes to scramble for a 24-yard gain. Two plays later, Rayshawn Jenkins intercepted Mahomes on a deep throw over the middle of the field. It was both a very smart and athletic play by the safety.
In the midst of what looked liked it would be another scoring drive, Trey Pipkins was beat around the edge by Frank Clark who hit Rivers while he was looking to throw and the ball popped loose into the waiting hands of Derrick Nnadi.
The defense stood strong again, this time getting an assist from the turf on 3rd down, and they forced another Colquitt punt.
Exceptionally safe. Totally normal. pic.twitter.com/p6HwAS98oi— Warren Sharp (@SharpFootball) November 19, 2019
Desmond King tried to give the ball back to Kansas City, however, as he tracked back past the 10-yard line and tried to field the punt over his shoulder. His muffed punt was luckily recovered by Brandon Facyson.
It's hard to watch the Chargers play and not think they're trying to lose. So many bizarre things go wrong all of the time. Case in point with Desmond King right there— Mike Clay (@MikeClayNFL) November 19, 2019
A play after Mike Williams dropped what would have been a huge gain, Rivers dropped back again and did not see Tyrann Mathieu who cut in front of Rivers’ crossing receiver and intercepted the ball to give the Chiefs 1st & goal from the Chargers 6-yard line.
On the first play of the Chiefs’ ensuing drive, LeSean McCoy easily ran outside to the right of the formation for a touchdown and the lead.
Largely on the strength of a 26-yard pass to Mike Williams and an 18-yard run by Ekeler, the Chargers marched from their own 25 to inside the Kansas City 10 before attempting and failing to complete three passes before Badgley came on to attempt his third field goal of the night. He converted and pulled the Chargers back to within 1.
Mahomes and the Chiefs offense looked nearly unstoppable marching 49 yards down the field on 5 plays until Melvin Ingram blew up a screen for a 7-yard loss on 1st down from the Chargers’ 26. Joey Bosa gave most of it back immediately by jumping offside. Thomas Davis had an opportunity to make a tackle for loss on the next play, but he whiffed again. Travis Kelce appeared open along the left sideline, but he was pushed out of bounds before he could get his second foot down, and Harrison Butker came on to attempt and convert his first field goal of the game.
Taking over with just under 2 minutes to go, the Chargers offense got rolling by finding Ekeler underneath and letting him run for a big gain. On the next snap, Rivers had all day to throw, but could not find the open receiver and threw the ball away. On 2nd down, he hit Ekeler again and let him run for another sizable gain as they crossed midfield. They went to Gordon on another underneath route after that and he was unable to get free and was tackled after a 9-yard gain. Gordon hurdled Mathieu on the next snap as he picked up the 1st down and got the offense to the 25. Rivers threw into coverage on the next play and could have been picked off, but the ball fell harmlessly to the turf. Unfortunately, Michael Schofield was flagged for illegal hands to the face and they were pushed back to the 35 facing 1st & 20 with no timeouts. Thanks to quick pressure, Rivers was unable to hit Ekeler on a short route over the middle. Allen dropped Rivers’ next pass, and there was another flag, this time against the rookie Pipkins for holding. On 2nd & 30, Rivers received the shotgun snap from the 50. Rivers just managed to clock the ball with 1 second remaining to give Badgley a shot at a 49-yarder. The “Money Badger” was good with room to spare.
A great play by the defense which would have given the offense the ball inside the KC 15 was negated by a penalty against Melvin Ingram that instead gave the Chiefs 5 yards and an automatic 1st down. The defense recovered and forced a 3rd & 2, but Mahomes ran right by Thomas Davis on his way to a 1st down and more on an RPO. Two plays later, Michael Davis also missed an open field tackle and allowed the Chiefs to move the sticks again. McCoy then picked up a chunk play by finding the hole in the zone and on the next play, he embarrassed Michael Davis in the backfield on his way to picking up 8 yards and getting inside the Chargers 10-yard line. Darrel Williams got the next handoff and ran right through the heart of the defense for an easy score.
On the Chargers subsequent drive, they didn’t wait until getting into Chiefs territory to stall out and instead ran 3 ineffective plays before punting. A penalty forced them to re-kick. On the second punt, the ball bounced out of bounds after only 35 yards giving the Chiefs great field position and a chance to build on their 8-point lead.
An 11-yard pass, a defensive penalty, and a 9-yard pass set up the offense with 1st & 10 from the Los Angeles 23. Travis Kelce then reminded everyone he’s the best tight end in football with a great catch in the front left corner of the end zone that put the Chiefs up by 15.
A defensive penalty got the Chargers to midfield on their next following drive. Frank Clark then destroyed Pipkins again and nearly forced another interception. Keenan Allen then made an excellent catch to move the sticks. Another pass interference penalty by the defense prevented Ekeler from having a chance at a long touchdown, but it did give the Chargers 1st & goal from the 10. A Gordon run picked up 3, but on 2nd down, Rivers hit Allen again this time for a touchdown. They lined up and went for 2 converting by going to Henry in the back of the end zone.
After allowing one 1st down, the defense stiffened to force a 3rd down. On 3rd & 7, the Chargers had Rivers standing and rushing from the inside. Bosa and Ingram combined to pressure Mahomes into an incompletion and forced a punt. King muffed a second punt but recovered this one himself.
A beautiful throw and even better catch by Hunter Henry defeated perfect coverage by Mathieu to start the drive with a 1st down. On 2nd & 6, Gordon dropped a pass on what was a well setup screen to cause 3rd & 6. Rivers was sacked and fumbled, but Ekeler was able to fall on it to allow a punt.
At near midfield, the defense had a chance to get off the field, but they were unable to stop Darrel Williams on 3rd & short. Two plays later they had another chance on 3rd & 6 from the 50. They attempted a screen, but Mahomes was inaccurate and the pass fell incomplete.
After two pass plays set up 3rd & 3, the Chargers elected to run the ball and Ekeler was met in the backfield as he took the handoff. Ty Long then came on to punt again.
The defense forced a 3-and-out to give the offense another chance to tie the game. Colquitt’s punt was downed just inside the Los Angeles 20.
Rivers tried to go deep on the first play of the drive to no effect. On the second play, Gordon had open field in front of him and dropped a perfect pass from Rivers. On 3rd down, Rivers rolled out, looked deep, and uncorked another interception to all but end the game.
The Chiefs got the ball back and easily rattled off a few 1st downs to run clock, but on 3rd & 6 just before the 2-minute warning, Ingram managed to sack Mahomes to force another punt and give the offense one last chance at tying the game.
Two plays picked up only 6 yards to give them 3rd & 4. Rivers’ next pass was deflected at the line. Henry came up with the 1st down on 4th & 4. Illegal contact kept the drive moving, but with a minute to play, the Chargers still needed to travel 70 yards. Jason Moore was the “intended target” on the next play, but he was not open and the pass was not close. Rivers’ next pass was batted at the line of scrimmage again. Trent Scott jumped early on 3rd down to further diminish the team’s chances. Rivers then launched an incredible deep pass to Mike Williams who went up and came down with it for a 50-yard gain. An 11-yard screen pass followed to get them inside the 15. Rivers clocked the ball to stop the clock leaving them 3 plays and 24 seconds to score without a 1st down. Instead, Rivers threw a terrible pass that was intercepted by the Chiefs to end the game.