This was a rough game with a very tight score. The Chiefs eked out a small 23-20 win against the Los Angeles Chargers to advance to 2-0.
The setting was a brand new and beautiful empty stadium. Their division rivals, the Chargers always give the Chiefs a hard time, but they had something unexpected during this game: their quarterback was a fearless young man called Justin Herbert. He started his first game in the NFL against the Super Bowl champs, and he did a pretty good job, impressing both teams’ coaching staffs.
The win was dramatic. A 58-yard Harrison Butker field goal won the game for the Chiefs in overtime. Butker was a true hero of yesterday’s game with his multiple 58 yard field goals, which tied a Chiefs record for distance.
“To have two practice kicks is only going to help you,” Butker said after the game. “I got a little bit more angry with every kick because I was trying to finish it off. I felt more confident on the last one. I slowed down my leg swing and hit a better ball.”
Harrison Butker Grade: A+
Let’s say a win is still a win but yesterday was not pretty and a lot of areas need to be fixed quickly. The undefeated Baltimore Ravens and Lamar Jackson will probably not be that kind with the Chiefs next week.
But above all, the Los Angeles Chargers seemed to have found a miraculous solution to harrass the Super Bowl MVP Patrick Mahomes. He looked very uncomfortable in a lot of pockets that weren’t too tight, sometimes not accurate at all, and frustrated with his own game. That did not stop him though, as he got back to his normal self towards the end of the second half. His bomb to Tyreek Hill was an impressive throw on the move that not many quarterbacks can successfully make.
Patrick Mahomes Grade: B+
However, the whole team was down yesterday beginning with the offensive line. That was a hard task to play against Ingram and Bosa one on one for Schwartz and Fisher, and as a result they allowed 15 pressures in the whole game. Way too many.
Offensive line Grade: C
The offensive group, including CEH, Kelce, Watkins, Hardman, and Hill had nice moments but struggled to get a tie at the end of the game. Watkins was out with a very questionable hit on his head, which was not even whistled by the refs. We’ll have to see if he has to go through a concussion protocol and if he will be able to play next week.
Tyreek Hill (five catches, 99 yards) and Travis Kelce (nine receptions, 90 yards) each had TD receptions.
Wide receivers and Running Backs Grade: B
On the defensive side of the ball, the Chiefs had some troubles again against the run. There were missed tackles from Anthony Hitchens and Ben Niemann. Hopefully Willie Gay Jr. will see more reps going forward. Austin Ekeler and Joshua Kelley had a great performance yesterday, and nobody seemed able to stop them.
Linebackers Grade: D
The defensive line did not show much either, with Frank Clark out in the second half for illness,. Chris Jones was feeling lonely against an alleged easier Chargers offensive line. Mike Pennel returning against the Ravens will be essential next week.
Defensive Line Grade: C
Our secondary was shaky but did a little bit better than the rest of the defense, with another interception by the rookie L’Jarius Sneed and an “acceptable” game by Mathieu. Thornhill did not look that crisp though, getting back from injury, he will need some extra time to get back in physical shape, and it showed yesterday.
“This wasn’t a thing of beauty, but there are going to be times like this where things aren’t working and you have to be aggressive,” Chiefs coach Andy Reid said. “We beared down and made big plays down the stretch. Our defense stepped up and put the hammer down to give us a chance to win.”
Not all games will be pretty for sure, but if they needed a wake up call, it is always better having it starting the season! Running it back will not be a piece of cake.