The Lightning Rod: Chargers Dealt Another Major Blowcsudhbulletin November 30, 2019 0 COMMENTS
By Jeremy Gonzalez, Sports Editor
Deja vu struck the Los Angeles Chargers as the team’s postseason hopes have taken yet another major hit.
The Chargers marched into the Estadio Azteca in Mexico City to face the AFC West leaders, the Kansas City Chiefs, with the chance to gain some ground in the division, but instead were beaten in primetime 24-17 while the Chiefs stayed on top of the division.
On a night when Chiefs quarterback and reigning NFL MVP Patrick Mahomes struggled to move their powerhouse offense, the Kansas City defense picked up the slack time and time again, with the exclamation point coming with 0:18 left to play in regulation, where the defense snared Phillip Rivers’ fourth interception at the goal line to prevent any comeback from Los Angeles.
Mahomes passed for 182 yards and threw his only touchdown to tight end Travis Kelce, while running backs LeSean McCoy and Darrel Williams each rushed for touchdowns as the Chiefs (7-4) hung on to win despite being held to 310 yards of offense.
The Chargers trailed the Chiefs 10-9 at halftime despite outgaining Kansas City 312-109 yards and making five drives into Chiefs territory. Mahomes threw his second interception of the season in the first half, but bounced back to lead two sharp scoring drives in the third quarter with help from Kelce, who caught seven passes for 92 yards. Mahomes also led the team in rushing with 59 yards on the ground, while the defense held the Chargers (4-7) to just eight points in the second half.
The Chiefs’ victory wasn’t assured until safety Daniel Sorensen intercepted Rivers’ underthrown pass at the goal line intended for Austin Ekeler. The Chiefs have now beaten Los Angeles 10 times over the last 11 meetings.
Rivers threw for 353 passing yards during his four-interception game for the Chargers, whose playoff hopes are hanging by a thread after losing five of the last seven games. Wide receiver Keenan Allen caught his first touchdown pass since Week 3, but the Chargers were scoreless on three drives in the fourth quarter.
Wide receiver Mike Williams made a spectacular 50-yard grab with 44 seconds to play to put the Chargers in the red zone before Rivers made the final mistake. Rivers has thrown seven interceptions in the last two games, giving him 14 for the season – more than every quarterback in the NFL except Tampa Bay Buccaneers QB Jameis Winston.
The NFL had to relocate the Rams-Chiefs game at the Estadio Azteca last year due to poor field conditions, but delivered an epic match for the 76,252 football-loving fans in Mexico, who packed the stadium and mostly supported the Chargers.
Chiefs: Wide receiver Tyreek Hill left the game with a hamstring injury in the first half and did not return. He watched the remainder of the game from the sidelines. Running back Damien Williams was lost to a rib injury and safety Jordan Lucas left the game with a shoulder injury. Center Austin Reiter left the game briefly to be evaluated under the concussion protocol and returned to finish the game.
Chargers: Tackle Russell Okung missed his second straight game with a groin injury. Allen was sidelined briefly after going down hard on a play in the second quarter but returned.
Kansas City enjoys a bye week after its trip to Mexico City before hosting the Oakland Raiders in Week 13. This game will greatly affect the AFC West. With a Raiders victory, the teams will be tied for first place at 7-5 going into the final stretch of the season. With a Chiefs victory, Kansas City will have some breathing room and separate themselves from the rest of the division by going up two games.
Los Angeles also enjoys a week off before traveling to Denver for a divisional matchup against the Broncos. The Chargers hosted the Broncos earlier in the season but were upset at home 20-13 to give the Broncos their first win of the season. If the Chargers want any chance at making the playoffs in the final AFC wild card spot, they must return to Los Angeles with a victory at Mile-High Stadium.