The Kansas City Chiefs wrapped up the regular season with a victory on Sunday afternoon as the defending Super Bowl champions – who rested several starters with their playoff position already locked into place – rallied to defeat the Los Angeles Chargers, 13-12, at SoFi Stadium.
Trailing by two points with just over four minutes remaining in the game, quarterback Blaine Gabbert – who made the start in place of Patrick Mahomes – led a nine-play, 51-yard drive that ended with a go-ahead, 41-yard field goal by kicker Harrison Butker. The series consisted of two scrambles by Gabbert, the first of which picked up 25 yards and moved the chains on third down. The second scramble – a 14-yard run – marched the Chiefs into field goal range for what turned out to be the game-winning kick.
The Chiefs' defense then held the Chargers out of field goal range on their ensuing drive, securing the eleventh victory of the season for Kansas City behind a resilient effort by numerous young and reserve players.
"I was really proud of our young guys for the job that they did," said Head Coach Andy Reid. "It's good to get the win, for sure. We came 2,000 miles to get a win. I think it uplifts you, especially for those young guys who don't have a chance to play [as much normally]. To say, 'Hey, listen, I got in, and not only did I get in, we won the game.' I think that's positive."
Gabbert completed 15-of-30 passes for 154 yards in what was his first start since Week 17 of the 2018 season. He spread the ball around to six players in the game, finding wide receiver Mecole Hardman six times for a team-leading 77 yards.
It was the Chiefs' defense, however, that scored the lone touchdown for either team on Sunday when defensive lineman Charles Omenihu strip-sacked Chargers' quarterback Easton Stick before safety Mike Edwards scooped up the loose football and returned it for a 97-yard touchdown. The play – which took place on the Chargers' opening possession – meant that the Chiefs were the team who were rewarded with points despite an 18-play series by Los Angeles that drove all the way to Kansas City's 5-yard line.
The Chiefs later added a field goal late in the second quarter that extended their advantage to 10 points, but while Kansas City's defense held Los Angeles out of the end zone for the entirety of the contest, the Chargers managed to chip away at the deficit with four field goals – and 12 unanswered points – that ultimately put Los Angeles ahead. Gabbert led Kansas City on its late scoring drive, however, and the Chiefs escaped with the victory.
In terms of injuries, Reid mentioned offensive tackle Wanya Morris (concussion protocol), wide receiver Justyn Ross (hamstring) and cornerback Jaylen Watson (calf) following the game.
The Chiefs will now turn the page to a matchup against the Miami Dolphins at GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium this upcoming Saturday to kick off the Wild Card Round of the postseason. For tickets, click here.