For the first time since 2015, the Kansas City Chiefs are under .500 following a 30-24 loss at home against the Los Angeles Chargers.
After having costly two turnovers late in their loss against Baltimore last week, the Chiefs’ offense looked to eliminate those miscues. However, that was not the case as they turned the ball over on their first three drives. Patrick Mahomes threw an interception that went off the hands of Marcus Kemp on the first drive. The next two drives ended with fumbles from Tyreek Hill and Clyde Edwards-Helaire.
Los Angeles took advantage of the Chiefs’ miscues and scored after each fumble to gain a 14-0 lead. At the end of the first half, Kansas City did get on the board with a 34-yard field goal from Harrison Butker.
The Chiefs needed to respond to open the second half, and that’s what they did. After receiving the second-half kickoff, the offense went on a 12 play, 75-yard drive and capped it off with a touchdown pass from Mahomes to Jody Fortson. The first touchdown of his career.
Now, it was up to the Chiefs defense to get a stop and give the offense the ball with a chance to take the lead. The defense forced a three-and-out with a sack from Mike Danna.
Following the punt from Los Angeles, the Chiefs got back into the end zone. This time, it was a screen pass to Edwards-Helaire who took it to the house from 10 yards out. After fumbling in the first half, CEH turned it on. He finished with 100 yards on the ground and a receiving touchdown.
After gaining their first lead of the game, 17-14, the Chargers would respond and the game would become a shootout. On that following drive, Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert connected with Mike Williams for a 20-yard score, regaining the lead, 21-17. However, Mahomes and the Chiefs wouldn’t go down easily.
They went on a 72-yard drive that lasted nearly seven minutes, ending with an eight-yard shuffle pass touchdown from Mahomes to Mecole Hardman. Kansas City took a 24-21 lead.
The Chiefs’ red zone defense proved to be the biggest weakness on Sunday. The Chargers scored three touchdowns in their first three red zone drives. The Kansas City defense surrendered 11 touchdowns on 11 red-zone possessions. However, they finally held a team to a field goal as the Chargers converted on a 24-yard field goal to tie the game at 24-24.
Next drive, the Chiefs committed their fourth turnover with a second Mahomes interception, giving Los Angeles the ball at their own 41-yard line with 1:42 remaining. The Chiefs’ defense was able to force a fourth down, leading to what one would assume would be a go-ahead field goal attempt.
However, LA went for it, but committed a false start penalty to create it fourth and nine. On the play, Deandre Baker forced a pass breakup to give the Chiefs the ball, but a pass interference call on him gave them a first down.
Herbert connected with Williams for the second time to take a 30-24 lead with 32 seconds remaining. A missed extra-point kept it a six-point game.
For the second straight game, the Chiefs defense was unable to get a fourth-down stop to get Mahomes and the offense the ball back late. The game plan of keeping Mahomes off the field and forcing the defense to make a stop on fourth down has been successful as the Ravens and Chargers have both clinched wins with late fourth-down conversions. On the season, the Chiefs have surrendered five conversions out of six fourth-down situations.
The Chiefs had one last chance, but two drops from Hill and Byron Pringle halted them at midfield, forcing a Hail Mary prayer at the end, which was unsuccessful. On the final play, Travis Kelce and Hill were thrown to the ground, but no penalty flag was thrown.
Looking at Sunday’s loss, what stands out is that the Chiefs could easily be 3-0, not 1-2. The offense has committed six turnovers in the past two games. Last season, the Chiefs did not commit their sixth turnover until week 9.
The offense has to do a better job taking care of the ball. Mahomes has two more interceptions; I know that the first one is not his fault as the pass went off Kemp’s hands, but the second one was overthrown trying to do too much. At this point, Mahomes is pressing and trying to do too much. He needs to stop trying to force plays.
Despite have four turnovers, the Chiefs still scored 24 points and nearly won the game. On the first three drives, the offense was in Chargers’ territory with chances to put points on the board. The offensive approach is not the issue, it is the miscues that have killed them.
Outside of the red zone, the Chiefs’ defense looked much improved from last week. They started the game by forcing two punts. the offense put them in bad situations with turnovers and it led to Los Angeles scoring 20 of their 30 points.
For Kansas City, the focus has to be on eliminating turnovers and improving the red zone defense.
On the bright side, two Chiefs made history yesterday. Mahomes became the fastest quarterback to throw for 15,000 career yards. Travis Kelce broke the Chiefs franchise record for the most 100-yard receiving games with his 27th yesterday. He had 104 yards.
After the game, head coach Andy Reid was taken to the hospital for dehydration. He has now been released and is in good spriits.
Now, the Chiefs face adversity as they are at the bottom of the AFC. Next week, they travel to Philadelphia to take on the Eagles on Sunday at 12 CST on CBS.