The narrative in Kansas City and around the NFL, has been what’s wrong with the Chiefs offense? The answer after a 31-17 victory over a division rival, the Los Angeles Chargers, not a darn thing. Patrick Mahomes flexed his muscles, with over 400 yards passing and four touchdown passes.
Kansas City Chiefs Quarterback, Patrick Mahomes remains an enigma in the NFL. For six weeks, he showed flashes of greatness, but generally, the offense was struggling to find a groove. Mahomes was brilliant in the first half, Travis Kelce was brilliant in the first half, and all the wide receivers made plays.
Then there was the defense who were lit up by Los Angeles Chargers Quarterback, Justin Herbert in the first half, but the Chiefs collectively slammed the door shut in the second half.
The difference in this game might have been an old friend named Mecole Hardman. He had a massive 50-yard punt return and a big third down catch that setup Mahomes fourth touchdown pass of the day to Isaiah Pacheco., which sealed the 31-17 win for Kansas City.
With that, this game belongs to Mahomes. For the day, he ended with 424 yards passing, four touchdowns, and completed a remarkable 32 of 42 pass attempts. The Chargers did a good job in the second half, but when Kansas City needed another touchdown to put that game out of reach, he delivered.
Travis Kelce’s big day was the primary reason Mahomes had so much success against the Chargers. He caught 12 passes for 179 yards, mostly in the first half, but his 1-yard touchdown shovel pass that was hanging over his head before he crossed the end zone giving Kansas City a 24-17 halftime lead. The Chargers did everything they could to make it difficult for Kelce but he and Mahomes kept finding open spaces.
The other star of the offense was rookie receiver, Rashsee Rice, it appears he’s settled into the role of JuJu Smith-Schuster, and that’s bad news for the rest of the league. Still, the Chiefs running game for the second week in a row really struggled. They had holes to get more yards, and the blocking was decent but not at the level they need to build a consistent running game.
The Chiefs probably played their best four-quarter game of the season. Yes, they were solid against the Chicago Bears, but the Chargers are a vastly better football team. In summary, we learned a lot about this football team, but so did the rest of the NFL. If the Chiefs continue to play like they did Sunday against Los Angeles, they’ll be hard to catch for the top spot in the AFC.
With the division victory, the Kansas City Chiefs have all but sewn up the AFC West. Yet, they can’t rest on their laurels. The defense was terrific in the second half holding the Chargers to zero points, but in the first half, they didn’t have enough fire. They missed gap assignments on the defensive line, the secondary wasn’t aggressive and too many missed tackles.
Yes, they fixed those issues, shutting out the Chargers in the second half, but the injury to Nick Bolton, who separated his wrist, and is going to miss some significant playing time. Thank goodness they have Drew Tranquill who had a big sack late in the game against his former quarterback. The Chiefs can overcome the loss of Bolton who has already missed games with an ankle sprain, so they should be ok at linebacker.
For a change, the offense carried the team when the defense struggled, and this was the first game I felt they played a complete game. The offense came to life and the offense showed the (spread it to everyone plan) clearly is beginning to work.
Next week the Chiefs face the Denver Broncos and even though they have a three-game lead in the division, this is an AFC West battle that should be taken seriously.
Denver won on Sunday defeating the Green Bay Packers, and though they didn’t look good on offense, their defense played solid enough, they could create problems for Kansas City. At stake for Mahomes and company, is a chance to go 3-0 in the division before their Germany clash against the Miami Dolphins.
After that, the team gets two weeks to prepare for their Super Bowl LVII rematch against the Philadelphia Eagles in Kansas City.