The Kansas City Chiefs fell to the Los Angeles Chargers, 30-24, at GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium on Sunday afternoon in a wild, back-and-forth game that featured multiple lead changes in the final quarter of play.
Locked in a tie at 24 points apiece and with just two minutes remaining, Chargers' safety Alohi Gilman picked off Chiefs' quarterback Patrick Mahomes to flip possession back to Los Angeles at midfield. Los Angeles then elected to go for it on fourth down at the Chiefs' 35-yard line, but while Kansas City came up with a defensive stop on the play, a pass interference call extended the drive. Chargers' quarterback Justin Herbert then found wide receiver Mike Williams for a go-ahead touchdown two snaps later, pushing Los Angeles ahead for good.
Kansas City still had a chance, taking over with just over 30 seconds left, but Mahomes' heave for the end zone fell incomplete and the Chargers dealt the Chiefs their second-consecutive loss.
It was a tough game that included four offensive turnovers for Kansas City - including one on each of their first three possessions – but Mahomes emphasized the need to look at games like this as a learning experience moving forward.
"Everybody isn't happy with how we played. Whenever you lose a game at home to a divisional opponent, it isn't a good thing," Mahomes said. "We haven't had a lot of that in my time here, but it's about how you respond. We have a long season ahead of us. It looks really dim right now, but if we can find a way to get better from this and learn how to win these types of games, we'll be where we want to be at the end of the season."
Los Angeles jumped out to a two-touchdown lead midway through the second quarter, turning two of the Chiefs' early giveaways into points. Kansas City managed to tally a field goal just prior to halftime, however, and narrowed the deficit when Mahomes found tight end Jody Fortson for a 2-yard touchdown on the Chiefs' opening drive of the second half.
The Kansas City defense proceeded to force a quick three-and-out on the Chargers' ensuing series – a drive that stalled in part because of a sack by defensive end Mike Danna – and the Chiefs took full advantage on their next offensive possession. Kansas City marched right back down the field, tallying a 70-yard drive across 10 plays that tailback Clyde Edwards-Helaire punctuated with a 10-yard touchdown grab.
It was part of a big day for Edwards-Helaire, who moved past an early fumble to record 100 yards on the ground. It marked the third 100-yard rushing game of Edwards-Helaire's young career.
That touchdown pushed the Chiefs ahead for the first time all game, but the Chargers answered with a 20-yard scoring connection between Herbert and Williams that re-claimed the lead for Los Angeles. The score completed an impressive, 11-play series that included a converted fourth down just two snaps earlier.
That lead didn't last long though, as the Chiefs answered immediately with a 12-play, 72-yard drive that ended with wide receiver Mecole Hardman hauling in a quick, "pop-pass" from Mahomes before weaving through traffic for an 8-yard touchdown.
Hardman's efforts once again had the Chiefs in front, and while the Chargers drove all the way down to Kansas City's 1-yard line on their next possession, the defense held Los Angeles to a game-tying field goal to set up the Chiefs penultimate series in the closing minutes. Gilman intercepted Mahomes three snaps later, however, and the Chargers went on to tally the victory.
Among the Chiefs' top performers was tight end Travis Kelce, who hauled in a team-leading seven grabs for 104 yards. It was the 27th regular-season game of Kelce's career with at least 100 yards receiving, passing Tony Gonzalez for the most such games in franchise history. Mahomes, meanwhile, became the fastest player in NFL history to top 15,000 career passing yards, doing so in just 49 games.
The Chiefs will now turn their attention to a road contest against the Philadelphia Eagles next week as they look to get back on track.