Rally bosses to take down the Chargers, and seize early control of the AFC West

KANSAS CITY – The Kansas City Chiefs defeated the Los Angeles Chargers 27-24 Thursday night as Patrick Mahomes completed 24 of 35 passes for 235 yards and two touchdowns to chase down Justin Herbert.

Kansas City Chiefs

Jaylen Watson seemed about to be an afterthought when The Chiefs made him their third-choice cornerback after leading him in the seventh round this year. Watson has already become a crucial player in the game of presidents.

Playing as junior Trent McDuffy went into injured reserve this week, Watson delivered the Chiefs’ biggest play in what could ultimately prove to be their biggest win of the season. Watson intercepted a pass from Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert in the fourth quarter and returned it 99 yards for the green light. The Chiefs went on to beat rival AFC West 27-24.

When the Charger cut the ball off the 3 Chiefs, they had a 73% winning probability, according to ESPN Stats & Information research. That probability swung to 81% for the chiefs after selecting six Watsons.

big win: The Chiefs (2-0) are the only team that has not lost a single, which gives them an early advantage in the standings.

Buy/Sell Breakout Performance: Justin Watson earned a wide receiver a 41-yard touchdown pass and one more pass as he passed rookie Skye Moore on the depth chart based on the number of surprises against the chargers. Watson did well with Patrick Mahomes during boot camp, so his play is no surprise. He was most effective during camp in the red, putting his size to good use at 6ft 215lbs. Watson should have plenty of playing time as long as he’s the fourth wide receiver, which was clearly a Thursday night.

worrying trend: Fight the short-term leader’s crime. They were 1 of 5 in a third and 3 or less. These difficulties prompted coach Andy Reed to request a fourth-place field goal and a 1-1 goal in the fourth quarter with the chief trailing 17-14. – Adam Teacher

Statistics not estimated to find out: Eight different Chiefs players have had at least two catches, tied for the most in a game in the Patrick Mahomes era (since 2018). It’s the second time Kansas City has done so during that time. The first also came against the Charger, in the third week of last season in Kansas City.

Next match: At the Colts (1:00 p.m. ET, Sept. 25)

Los Angeles Chargers

Inside the raucous Arrowhead Stadium, where the week two game was marked by a watershed atmosphere, the Chargers were reminded that despite their off-season possession of superstars, there was still work to be done to snatch AFC West from the six-time title holders. The Chiefs eliminated a 10-point deficit to come from behind and defeat the Chargers 27-24 Thursday night.

Entering the season, the Chargers have learned that their upgraded roster, which now includes All-Pro edge climber Khalil Mack and Pro Bowl cornerback JC Jackson, will be testing early, playing back-to-back games against the Las Vegas Raiders and Chiefs in a five-day period.

They went 1-1, and now they have an early gauge of what needs to be improved to win a league title, or at least get out of West Asia.

pivotal play: With 10:43 remaining, the score tied 17-17 and leading the Charger to the Chiefs’ 3-yard line, quarterback Justin Herbert fired a pass assigned to tight end Gerald Everett and picked up by rising linebacker Jaylen Watson. Watson returned the intercept 99 yards for the touchdown to give the Chiefs their first lead of the game, 24-17. In the previous play, Everett earned 26 yards on a shot and ran to set first and target. But the six contestants explained the growing pains Herbert and Everett felt during training camp. Bolts signed Everett over two years for a $12 million deal.

Promising direction: Productivity receiver Mike Williams. After a quiet first week performance (two holdings for 10 yards), and with Keenan Allen inactive due to a hamstring injury, Williams stepped up big. In the first half, Williams had a pass from 39 yards to form a touchdown that gave the Chargers a 10-0 lead. From the break, Williams made a circus-like play for the touchdown, bobbing and rolling in a one-handed grab for a 15-yard score to lift the Charger 17-7. The touchdown receiver had only a 31% completion probability, according to NFL Next Gen Stats, and it was the second one-handed touchdown in Williams’ six-year career. Williams finished eight grabs for 113 yards and a touchdown.

Eye-catching stats: Rookie Zander Horvath picked up a 1-yard touchdown pass in the second quarter to lift the bolts 10-0. A seventh-round pick from Purdue, Horvath also earned a 1-yard touchdown reception in the first week of a 24-19 win over the Raiders. Horvath became the first seventh-rounder to receive a touchdown pass in each of his first two career games since Chancy Stoke with the Jets in 2008. Stoke earned a touchdown pass in three consecutive games to start his career. – Lindsey Terry

Statistics not estimated to find out: Justin Herbert’s six-choice was a rarity. It’s the only big 6 game of the century to come into the red in the final quarter of a tie.

Next match: Opposite Jaguar (4:05 p.m. ET, Sept 25)

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