In what became a surprise start for Justin Herbert also turned into a surprising performance from the rookie signal-caller as he learned he was getting the nod just moments before the opening kickoff.
On the opening drive of the game, Herbert marched the offense downfield with a slew of big plays and ended it with his first professional touchdown, a four-yard scamper on a play-action boot out to the right.
The 7-0 lead held until Patrick Mahomes found a wide-open Travis Kelce for their first points of the game, but the Bolts held on to the lead after defensive tackle Jerry Tillery blocked the extra point.
Herbert responded like a veteran, orchestrating the offense down the field one more time before half and finished with a 14-yard dart to the back corner of the end zone to Jalen Guyton for his first NFL passing touchdown.
The teams traded field goals in the third quarter, elevating the score to 17-9. After Harrison Butker converted a 58-yard boot, Herbert took the team down the field once again, but fell victim to his first huge rookie mistake. The sixth-overall pick decided to throw a ball up to Keenan Allen who was double-covered instead of running free for the first down. The Chiefs then struck with a huge touchdown to Hill and a 2-point conversion to Mecole Hardman to tie things up at 17-17.
After a tie-breaking field goal by Badgley to put the Bolts up 20-17, the Chiefs did what they did best and galloped down field hastily behind the arm of Mahomes. Even after all the effort, the Bolts held them to a field goal and overtime was on tap.
The Chargers started with the ball but couldn’t amount much of a drive as they went three-and-out. Anthony Lynn chose to punt when the offense faced 4th-and-1 at their 34-yard line and his decision to give the ball back may be scrutinized for some time following Sunday evening.
Mahomes, with a combination of his arm and legs, got the Chiefs into field goal range before the Chargers defense forced them into a 4th down situation. Kansas City brought on Harrison Butker for a 53-yard field goal, but offensive linemen Andrew Wylie cost the Chiefs five more yards with a very untimely offsides penalty. But the 58-yard boot ahead of Butker didn’t faze him as he sailed the kick through the uprights in the same manner he converted the first 58-yarder earlier in the game.
Herbert finished with 311 yards passing on 22-of-33 passing with one passing touchdown, one rushing touchdown, and the back-breaking interception. Both backs finished with over 100 yards from scrimmage - Austin Ekeler with 148 and Joshua Kelley with 113. Keenan Allen led the Bolts in receptions and yards after he corralled seven balls for 96 yards.
Joey Bosa led the attack on defense. He recorded the only sack of Mahomes by the Bolts’ defense and finished with four total tackles. Kenneth Murray Jr. led the team with 10 total stops and had a critical pass deflection in front of Hill in overtime.