Justin Herbert ‘showed us a lot of guts’ battling through rib injury in Chargers’ loss
KANSAS CITY, Mo. — He was sacked twice and hit at least six other times, according to the NFL’s official statistics.
One of the hits, with about five minutes remaining Thursday night, left Justin Herbert in significant discomfort and holding his midsection.
The rest of the Chargers — and all their fans — were figuratively doing the same thing.
The Pro Bowl quarterback missed only one play and returned for a last-gasp push, one that resulted in a late touchdown but a failed comeback as the Chargers lost 27-24 to Kansas City.
Chargers can’t overcome mistakes in 27-24 loss to Chiefs
A 99-yard interception return by Chiefs rookie Jalen Watson, coupled with a late-game injury to quarterback Justin Herbert, proved too much for the Chargers to overcome in a 27-24 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs.
Herbert, while visibly in pain, put together a nine-play, 73-yard drive that pulled the Chargers to within three with 1:11 left. But the Chiefs (2-0) recovered the ensuing onside kick and sent the Chargers (1-1) to their first loss of the season.
Herbert completed 33 of 48 passes for 334 yards and three touchdowns, with one interception. He also was hit eight times and sacked twice. After the game, the Chargers said Herbert was dealing with a rib injury.
Mike Williams had eight catches for 113 yards.
Patrick Mahomes finished with 24-of-25 passing for 235 yards and two touchdowns. Travis Kelce made five catches for 51 yards.
The Chargers led 17-7 in the third quarter before the Chiefs scored 20 unanswered points, the most spectacular of which came on Watson’s interception return.
Justin Herbert cuts into Chiefs’ lead with TD pass to Joshua Palmer
Justin Herbert connected on a seven-yard touchdown pass with Joshua Palmer with 1:11 left in the fourth quarter to help make it 27-24 Chiefs.
Herbert, one play after he couldn’t run with the ball because he was in so much pain, connected on a 35-yard pass to Palmer to set up the touchdown.
Chiefs extend lead with fourth-quarter field goal
Matt Ammendola kicked a 32-yard field with 3:20 left in the fourth quarter to give the Chiefs a 27-17 lead. The Chiefs have scored 20 unanswered points.
The field goal was aided by a 52-yard run by Clyde Edwards-Helaire.
Justin Herbert appears to be dealing with significant pain as he looks to rally the Chargers from a 10-point deficit.
Justin Herbert returns after injury scare, appears to be in pain
Justin Herbert sat out for one play after he suffered what appeared to be an upper-body injury after taking a hit from Chiefs defensive tackle Chris Jones while making a throw with 5:09 left in the fourth quarter.
Chase Daniel took one snap before Herbert returned to the contest. After taking a hit from Frank Clark on his first play back, Herbert was clearly grimacing as he was pulled back up his feet. Herbert threw a pair of incomplete passes and the Chargers were forced to punt.
The Chiefs take over at their own 15.
Chiefs 24, Chargers 17 — 3:55 fourth quarter
Jaylen Watson returns interception 99 yards for TD
Chiefs rookie cornerback Jaylen Watson intercepted Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert at the one-yard line and returned it 99 yards to give the Chiefs their first lead of the game — a 24-17 edge with 10:29 left in the fourth quarter.
Watson, a seventh-round pick, read the play beautifully and capitalized on a pass thrown by Herbert behind tight end Gerald Everett. Watson then sprint forward immediately, and broke through a tackle attempt by Herbert before a relatively easy sprint to the end zone.
After the play, cameras showed Everett and Herbert talking on the sideline after what appeared to be a miscommunication on the play. Also, replays showed Everett appeared to be motioning toward the sideline, asking to be taken out just before the interception.
Down for the first time, will Herbert and the Chargers be able to respond?
Chiefs 24, Chargers 17 — 9:10 fourth quarter
Chiefs tie game on field goal in fourth quarter
Matt Ammendola kicked a 19-yard field goal on the first play of the fourth quarter to tie the game, 17-17.
The field goal was set up by Travis Kelce’s 18-yard catch that moved the ball to the Chargers’ three-yard line.
There was a brief moment when it appeared Kelce might have fumbled the ball when Derwin James Jr. somehow managed to pick up Kelce and body slam him to the turf. However, Kelce was clearly down when the ball bounced free.
The Chargers’ defense then managed to keep the Chiefs out of the end zone, with Kansas City coach Andy Reid opting for a field goal instead of going for it on fourth and goal from the L.A. three-yard line.
Meanwhile, injuries are taking a toll on the Chargers’ offensive line. Center Corey Linsley hasn’t played a second-half snap because of a knee injury and right tackle Trey Pipkins III is questionable to return because of an ankle injury.
🏈 Chargers 17, Chiefs 17 — 14:58 fourth quarter
Patrick Mahomes connects on 41-yard TD pass to keep pressure on Chargers
Chiefs wide receiver Justin Watson beat Chargers cornerback J.C. Jackson and scored on a 41-yard touchdown pass to quickly cut into the Chargers’ lead.
Just when it looked like the Chargers’ pass rush was getting the better of Mahomes, the quarterback evaded a blitz, moved up in the pocket and connected with Watson on a dead-on throw as the receiver streaked ahead of Jackson into the end zone.
🏈 Chargers 17, Chiefs 14 — 7:22 third quarter
Mike Williams makes amazing, one-handed TD catch
Mike Williams is having a stellar night — and his third-quarter touchdown catch likely will go down as one of the biggest catches of the 2022 season.
Williams made a spectacular, one-handed grab in tight coverage on a 15-yard touchdown pass from Justin Herbert to help give the Chargers a 17-7 lead.
The pass was perfect, the catch somehow even better and you have to wonder what Chiefs cornerback L’Jarius Sneed is thinking after Williams’ amazing feat. Williams has eight catches for 113 yards so far.
LeBron James was impressed with what he saw.
The Chargers lost starting center Corey Linsley to start the second half because of a knee injury. The team announced he is questionable to return.
The touchdown came at the end of an 11-play, 75-yard drive that started with Will Clapp placing Corey Linsley at center to start the second half. Linsley sustained a knee injury in the first half and is questionable to return.
Chargers 17, Chiefs 7 — 9:52 third quarter
Chargers lead Chiefs 10-7 at halftime
Neither team could generate much on offense in the second quarter after starting the frame with a couple of quick touchdowns.
The Chargers are finding ways to put consistent pressure on Patrick Mahomes, who has been held to 98 yards on 12 of 14 passing and a touchdown. Most of his passes, however, have been for short gains, with the Chargers forcing Kansas City into four punts.
Justin Herbert has fared a little better, completing 12 of 17 passes for 125 yards and a touchdown. Like Mahomes, though, he has struggled to find rhythm in the offense, with the Chargers punting on their last two possessions. Mike Williams has found ways to exploit the Chiefs’ secondary in the absence of Keenan Allen, catching six passes for 84 yards.
The Chargers were the better team in the first half, but they’ll need to continue to find ways to limit Mahomes to stay ahead in the second half.
Chargers center Corey Linsley, regarded as one of the best at his position in the league, is not on the field for the Chargers’ first drive of the second half — Will Clapp has replaced him.
🏈 Chargers 10, Chiefs 7 — Halftime
Patrick Mahomes and Chiefs strike back with quick TD
It didn’t take long for the Chiefs to respond.
Flushed out of the pocket, a scrambling Patrick Mahomes sidearmed a nine-yard touchdown pass to Jerick McKinnon to cut into the Chargers’ lead.
The pass capped off a seven-play, 75-yard touchdown drive that featured a 19-yard pass from Mahomes to Travis Kelce to set up the touchdown.
Chargers 10, Chiefs 7 — 11:38 second quarter
Chargers extend lead on Zander Horvath touchdown catch
Chargers fullback Zander Horvath scored a one-yard touchdown pass from Justin Herbert on the first play of the second quarter to help give the Chargers a 10-0 lead. Horvath is the first fullback to catch TD passes in his first two NFL games since 1942.
The touchdown was set up by a 39-yard pass to Mike Williams, who managed to make the catch despite Rashad Fenton being called for pass interference on the play. Earlier in the eight-play, 58-yard drive, Herbert kept the possession alive by converting on fourth and inches with a QB sneak.
The Horvath touchdown has quieted the Arrowhead Stadium crowd. Let’s see how Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs respond.
Chargers 10, Chiefs 0 — 14:57 second quarter
Chargers score first on a Dustin Hopkins field goal
The Chargers capped off an 11-play, 67-yard drive with a 31-yard field by goal by Dustin Hopkins to give the Chargers the early lead.
Patrick Mahomes and Chiefs couldn’t get much traction on their first possession, with their drive sputtering out at mid-field thanks to key hit by Joey Bosa on receiver Mecole Hardman for a four-yard loss.
The Chiefs’ second possession didn’t go any better. Drue Tranquill sacked Mahomes on second down after he and Khalil Mack quickly quickly broke through the line. On third down, Derwin James Jr. hit Jerick McKinnon Jr. on a short pass for a five-yard loss to make it a three and out.
Chargers 3, Chiefs 0 — 3:47 first quarter
Justin Herbert continues to show why he’s the best QB in L.A. — maybe even the NFL
Every now and then, Chargers center Corey Linsley will wonder how the ball possibly could have traveled from Justin Herbert’s hand to its eventual destination. The search for answers usually prompts Linsley to raise his eyes skyward, in the direction of the oval-shaped video board that is suspended from SoFi Stadium’s translucent ceiling.
“We’re always watching replays if something happens,” Linsley said with a laugh.
Enough happened Sunday for the 120-yard-long electronic display to be renamed HerbertVision, the third-year quarterback passing for 279 yards and three touchdowns in the Chargers’ season-opening 24-19 victory over the Las Vegas Raiders.
Chargers’ Derwin James Jr. shows why Chiefs need to gameplan for safety
He finished Sunday with six tackles, half as many as another safety who played in the game, Las Vegas’ Johnathan Abram.
The effect Derwin James Jr. had for the Chargers in their 24-19 victory went well beyond simple numbers.
“You may not see the impact that he has on a stat sheet,” coach Brandon Staley said. “But what you do when you watch the game, you’ll see the impact that he makes. Then, if you’re watching the game live, you feel the impact that he makes too.”
James sacked Derek Carr on the Raiders’ second offensive play. He helped take away wide receiver Davante Adams on the Raiders’ final offensive play. In between, James did just about everything else.
He played all 58 of the Chargers’ defensive snaps and lined up at five different positions, according to Pro Football Focus.
J.C. Jackson will make his Chargers debut vs. Chiefs
Pro Bowl cornerback J.C. Jackson will make his Chargers debut Thursday against Kansas City.
The team’s top free-agent signing in the offseason, Jackson missed the opener Sunday while recovering from an Aug. 23 surgical procedure on his right ankle.
The Chargers listed Jackson as questionable entering Thursday. He worked out before the game and was declared fit to play.
The inactives for the Chargers: wide receiver Keenan Allen (hamstring), tight end Donald Parham Jr. (hamstring), running back Isaiah Spiller, defensive lineman Christian Covington, defensive back JT Woods, offensive lineman Brenden Jaimes and quarterback Easton Stick.
Chargers hope for more consistency in run game against Chiefs
The Chargers won a big AFC West showdown Sunday behind their Pro Bowl quarterback who hit nine receivers and targeted 11 teammates total.
The passing game was a spectacular spray chart of opportunities spread in many directions.
But the running game? That chart wasn’t so spectacular.
The Chargers did manage 31 rushes, helping them open a five-minute advantage in time of possession on an afternoon when they ran nine more offensive plays than Las Vegas.
But they averaged only 2.5 yards per rushing attempt, which ranked last among the NFL’s 32 teams in Week 1.
NFL roundtable: For Super Bowl LVII run, want Justin Herbert or Matthew Stafford?
With the Chargers only having three days off before their Week 2 road game against the AFC West rival Kansas City Chiefs on Thursday and the Super Bowl champion Rams having nine days off to ponder their loss to Buffalo, Chargers beat writer Jeff Miller, Rams beat writer Gary Klein and columnist Dylan Hernández discuss what has happened and what lies ahead.
Taking only this season into consideration, which quarterback would you rather have leading your team toward Super Bowl LVII — the Chargers’ Justin Herbert or the Rams’ Matthew Stafford?
Miller: Justin Herbert and it’s not even close. I can’t fathom anyone taking Stafford in this situation. Sunday against Las Vegas, Herbert threw at least three passes that nearly defied description. We’re talking about a player who could go down as the greatest passer in NFL history. Herbert winning the MVP award in 2022 is a thing that actually could happen.
Chargers vs. Kansas City Chiefs: Betting odds, lines, picks and predictions
The Chargers earned a solid Week 1 win over the Raiders, but it came at a cost as Keenan Allen will miss this week’s game with a hamstring injury. Nine different players caught a pass and 11 were targeted, so everybody got into the act and the defense forced three interceptions during the victory.
Justin Herbert’s Chargers play a huge AFC West matchup against the Chiefs on Thursday.
Chargers at Chiefs (-4, 54)
This is far from an ideal spot for the Chargers. Their most reliable pass catcher is sidelined and they’ve got a long trek to Arrowhead Stadium to take on a Chiefs team that barely broke a sweat in blowing out the Arizona Cardinals last week. Patrick Mahomes was 30 for 39 for 360 yards and five touchdowns in his first regular-season game without Tyreek Hill, so it looks like the Chiefs aren’t going to miss a beat in the passing game.
Short week but prime night in Kansas City for Chargers against chief AFC West rival
KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Austin Ekeler acknowledged Tuesday that his shoulders still were hurting. His right gluteus maximus, as well.
But Ekeler and the Chargers are going to play Thursday anyway because, frankly, the NFL isn’t going to just sit there on both its maximus muscles when there’s money to be made.
Everyone understands that about this league, especially the players.
“I get it,” Ekeler said. “It’s just a money grab, right? It’s a business. It’s another opportunity for us to continue to increase our salary cap. So we’ll get out there and do it.”
Just four days after an emotional, draining game against Las Vegas, the Chargers will face Kansas City in a game that promises to be — yes, you guessed it — emotional and draining.
Chargers vs. Kansas City Chiefs matchups, start time and how to watch
Breaking down how the Chargers and Kansas City Chiefs match up heading to their game Thursday at 5:15 p.m. PDT at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, Mo. The game will be shown on Amazon Prime and Fox locally.
When Chargers have the ball: Pro Bowl receiver Keenan Allen won’t play because of a hamstring injury suffered in the Week 1 victory over Las Vegas. That should mean more opportunity for Mike Williams, and the timing couldn’t be better. In his two most recent visits to Kansas City, Williams had 108 and 122 yards receiving. He also scored three touchdowns in both Chargers victories. He should be primed to make an impact. He had only two catches for 10 yards against the Raiders. “It’s funny,” offensive coordinator Joe Lombardi said Monday, “if you had watched practice early in the week, the guys were joking that he’s going to have about 20 catches.” Lombardi said it wasn’t any one thing but rather a series of circumstances that worked against Williams in the opener. “The defense,” Lombardi added, “sometimes decides where the ball goes.” Justin Herbert certainly should be welcoming the first trip of the season, even if it comes against the team that has won the AFC West six consecutive seasons. Herbert had at least 300 yards passing in each of his final five road games last season.