No team jumped out to a bigger lead in the first slate of games on Sunday than the 24-3 lead the San Diego Chargers carried late into the third quarter. But 17 unanswered points in the last 10 minutes of regulation tied the game, and a 2-yard touchdown rush from Alex Smith gave the Kansas City Chiefs a 33-27 win.
It’s a nightmare finish for the Chargers after a promising start to the season. Melvin Gordon — a 2015 first-round pick who finished his rookie year with zero touchdowns — scored a pair of touchdowns in the first 16 minutes of the game. A touchdown pass from Philip Rivers to Danny Woodhead extended the lead to 21-3, but an injury to Keenan Allen sucked the life out of the Chargers' offense.
The star wide receiver was carted off the field and initial fears are that Allen suffered a season-ending ACL tear, although an MRI is still on the way to determine the severity of the injury. While San Diego managed a pair of second-half field goals, the team never established the rhythm that it showed in the first half.
Kansas City, meanwhile, found the offensive life that was nowhere to be seen in the first half and pulled off the biggest comeback in franchise history.
With Jamaal Charles sidelined, Chiefs running back Spencer Ware was a great replacement, finishing with 70 rushing yards and a touchdown on just 11 carries. Smith finished the game 34-of-48 passing with 363 yards, two touchdowns and one interception, but it was his rushing touchdown that put the game on ice.
The Chiefs finished last year in the postseason and the Chargers struggled through a 4-12 year.
After rumors that Mike McCoy’s job was in jeopardy, the Chargers elected to keep the coach, but his mismanagement of the Week 1 game doesn’t bode well for the future. A serious injury for Allen, possibly the most important player on the team other than Rivers, also makes the immediate future bleak for San Diego.