Chargers keep Patrick Mahomes in check but still lose to Chiefs
They limited Patrick Mahomes to his least productive first half as an NFL quarterback.
They caught Kansas City on a night when wide receiver Tyreek Hill was injured early and contributed no catches and zero yards.
The Chargers also benefited from the Chiefs losing two of their top running backs — Damien Williams and LeSean McCoy — to injuries.
And they still couldn’t overcome their inability to make the necessary plays late to avoid another one-score loss.
The Chargers weren’t victimized by Mahomes or Kansas City’s celebrated speed as much as they simply failed to come through when it mattered most.
Now, the Chargers’ season is over. And their next one might already be too.
“At the end of the day, we gotta make one more play and we’re not making it,” defensive lineman Damion Square said after the 24-17 loss to the Chiefs. “It’s a red-zone league. It’s a league that comes down to the last score of the game.”
The Chargers are now 4-7, with each of the losses coming by one score. They’ve fallen by a touchdown four times, by a field goal twice and by two points once.
And they just lost to the Chiefs despite Mahomes throwing for only 63 yards entering halftime, his career low for a first half.
Mahomes finished 19 for 32 for 182 yards, with one touchdown and one interception. Chargers free safety Rayshawn Jenkins made a nice leaping play for the pickoff.
Mahomes did gain a team-high 59 rushing yards on five carries, scrambling for key yardage in key moments. He was sacked once, by Melvin Ingram, who finished with five tackles and knocked down two passes.
Patrick Mahomes has transfixed Kansas City Chiefs fans like no other.
In all, the Chargers kept Mahomes, the reigning league MVP, from taking over the game.
“He got loose a couple times,” Square said. “But that’s Pat, man. I feel like the game we played against Pat today was big. I mean, the guy’s special. He does some special things with the ball.”
The Chargers outgained the Chiefs (438 yards to 310), ran 13 more offensive plays and forced six punts.
Kansas City’s other famously fast wide receiver, rookie Mecole Hardman, caught only two passes for 13 yards. He also returned two punts for 22 yards.
“I loved the way they fought at the end,” coach Anthony Lynn said of his defense, “kept giving us chances, got the ball back several times.”
After the Chiefs scored on four consecutive possessions — three touchdowns and a field goal — during a stretch in the second and third quarters, the Chargers forced them to punt four times in the fourth quarter.
Given those opportunities, however, the offense produced zero points. The Chargers instead punted twice and Philip Rivers was intercepted two times.
Go beyond the scoreboard
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