The Kansas City Chiefs moved to 8-6 on the season with a win over the Los Angeles Chargers on Saturday. They entered Week 15 half a game up on the Chargers despite the same winning percentage, thanks to a win over them earlier in the season. Now they have a better record and they own two wins over the Chargers.
The AFC West is well within the Chiefs’ grasp after the 30-13 victory. It was a strong game from Alex Smith, who completed 23 of 30 passes for 231 yards and two touchdowns. Kareem Hunt, once again, was wildly impressive, with 24 carries for 155 yards and a touchdown. Tyreek Hill caught five passes for 88 yards and a touchdown.
Meanwhile, Philip Rivers threw for 227 yards and a touchdown ... but also three interceptions. Below are the updates we had throughout the game.
Fourth Quarter: Chiefs 30, Chargers 13
Shortly after the Chiefs kicked their field goal to take a 20-13 lead, and not long after a bad Rivers interception, the Chargers fumbled three plays into their following drive. The Chiefs took over at their own 44-yard line, and after a couple short gains, Harrison Butker kicked a 51-yard field goal to widen the gap.
And ... the Chargers went out, went six plays, and Rivers threw another interception. Things sure aren’t going their way when it comes to the turnover battle. As they’ve done all game, the Chiefs marched down the field off of the turnover, and Hunt took a 5-yard run into the end zone for a touchdown, lifting the Chiefs to a 30-13 lead.
Third Quarter: Chiefs 20, Chargers 13
The Chiefs received the second half kickoff, and grabbed one first down before they were forced the punt. The Chargers took their first lead of the game on the ensuing drive, scoring a touchdown after going six plays and 88 yards. A Melvin Gordon reception for 49 yards set the Chargers up in a good place, while a touchdown pass from Rivers to Antonio Gates sealed the deal.
The Chiefs responded right away, with a 12-play, 69-yard drive that ended with a Hunt touchdown reception. That was fast!
The drive was aided by a 17-yard run from Hunt. That gave the Chiefs back the lead, and they got the ball right back when Marcus Peters intercepted Philip Rivers and then ran the ball all the way to the 6-yard line.
Kansas City took over and Smith quickly found Hunt for a touchdown pass. The ball hits the ground, though, and the referees rule it incomplete.
It was very close, and the Chiefs had to settle for a field goal from 24 yards out. It’s good, and the Chiefs lead, 20-13.
Second Quarter: Chiefs 10, Chargers 6
The second quarter started with a nine-play Chargers drive that ended in a punt. That’s when things got out of hand for them, as the Chiefs found the end zone in a big way.
That’s Alex Smith finding Hill for a 64-yard touchdown pass, beating Casey Hayward bad. That’s about as fast as you’ll ever see a receiver create separation that deep in a play.
San Diego did manage to respond in kind. There was no huge bomb, but they did go 10 plays for 75 yards, capped off with a Gordon touchdown run. The extra point, unfortunately, was no good, making it 10-6 for Kansas City.
Then with time running out, the Chiefs made their way downfield and made way for another field goal opportunity. With 12 seconds to go and a 52-yard attempt, the Chiefs missed the field goal after the Chargers timeout. The first kick, the one that was iced, was good. The score remains 10-6 going into the second half.
First Quarter: Chiefs 3, Chargers 0
Gordon had a couple solid runs for the Chargers early in the first quarter, but the Chargers still punted after seven plays on their first drive. The teams exchanged three-and-outs from there, but that’s when the Chiefs started driving.
Faced with a fourth-and-short situation, Smith found Hunt underneath and he went 21 yards to put Kansas City in the red zone. Unfortunately for them, they couldn’t find the end zone, as Smith threw the ball away with one second left in the quarter on third down. Butker came in and kicked the 31-yard field goal for the 3-0 lead.
Before the game
The Kansas City Chiefs and Los Angeles Chargers will battle for first place on Saturday, the second of two games on the day following the conclusion of the college football season. They’ll be in action at 8:30 p.m. ET on the NFL Network (live streaming) / CBS in local markets.
With the division tied up between the two teams sitting at 7-6, the winner will take the lead and have a solid chance at making the playoffs as we approach the end of the regular season. The Chiefs hold a 3-1 mark in the division, including a win over the Chargers in Week 3.
In that game, the Chiefs rushed for 189 yards as a team, thanks primarily to Kareem Hunt, while Alex Smith threw for a pair of touchdowns and no interceptions. The Chiefs have run into some bad luck since their five-win start to the regular season, losing six of their last eight games.
Fortunately for them, they picked up a win in their last outing, a 26-15 victory over the rival Oakland Raiders. They are now back in the win column and control their own destiny. Los Angeles is doing quite well though, with four consecutive wins. The problem is this game is at Arrowhead Stadium, and the Chiefs have already beat them on the road.
This is likely the toughest game remaining on either team’s schedule, too. Both teams can expect to win their last two based on how things have went already this season, so Saturday’s game could easily decide the AFC West.
- The Chiefs and Chargers are battling for the AFC West and, as it turns out, they have the same odds of winning the division, as noted by Arrowhead Pride.
- Kansas City’s pass rush has been underperforming for much of the season, but that changed in a big way in their last game against the rival Raiders. Our Chiefs blog takes a look at what changed and why it worked.
- Melvin Ingram and Joey Bosa make an intimidating pair, which is why the pressure will be on for the Chiefs’ offensive line.
The Chargers had five sacks on the Chiefs in their Week 3 matchup. It wasn’t a game where the Chiefs were losing and in obvious passing situations all game either. The Chargers got after them but the Chiefs were still able to put up 24 points.
According to PFF, Alex Smith was pressured in the last Chargers game five times and he was sacked all five times. When Alex had a clean pocket, he went 16/21 for 153 yards and two touchdowns.
- In addition to those defensive standouts, Chargers wide receiver Keenan Allen remains one of the most consistent and scary players for opposing defenses. If the Chiefs can stop him, they’ll be the first team to do it in several weeks.
- Of the eight experts picking for SB Nation in Week 15, six of them think the Chargers will win it. That leaves two picking the Chiefs, while the OddsShark Computer is going with Los Angeles.