The Chargers and Chiefs have been must-see TV over the past two seasons and Sunday Night’s Exhibition was no exception.
The Chargers and Chiefs wrote another epic chapter in the saga of the Justin Herbert and Patrick Mahomes rivalry. The Chiefs have always had a lot of issues playing Los Angeles, it’s been their toughest test every season because the matchup has a lot of talent on both sides. The Chargers were playing for their season against Kansas City and they came out swinging against the Chiefs, scoring 20 points in the first half as the Chiefs’ defense made a lot of mistakes and the offense was stagnant in the second quarter.
But in the second half, the Chiefs found a rhythm on the offensive side of the ball and were able to keep the Chargers out of the end zone throughout most of the second half on defense. It took a last-minute touchdown by Travis Kelce to get the lead and Nick Bolton sealed the game with a diving interception off of a tip by L’Jarius Sneed.
The Chiefs were able to gut out a win against the Chargers and now that the Chiefs have effectively clinched the AFC West, with a four-game lead in the vision, here are the takeaways.
Isiah Pacheco earned his starting spot
The running back position for Kansas City has been a revolving door since Kareem Hunt was cut in 2018. Damien Williams and Darryl Williams helped the Chiefs win a Super Bowl ring in 2019 and Clyde Edwards-Helaire has been in and out of the lineup since he was drafted in 2020. But the Chiefs finally seem to have found a consistent starting running back with the seventh-round pick out of Rutgers, Isiah Pacheco.
Pacheco had his first 100-yard game as a Chief and really helped the Chiefs keep the Chargers’ defense honest, they had to watch for the run throughout the game due to the explosiveness of Pacheco. He even started the game off with a 28-yard run, he is super dangerous once he gets past the first wave of the defense, and if you are a safety you have to wrap because he’s a load to tackle.
Pacheco had four runs over 10 yards on the game, something he’s shown potential to do over the past couple of weeks and he finally was able to break those runs. He should be really fun to watch over the second half of the season, and if he can be the lead back going to the postseason.
Skyy Moore has arrived
The rookies really showed their value in this game, Isiah Pacheco had his career game and so did the Western Michigan product, Skyy Moore. Moore has shown flashes of his explosiveness and catching ability, but his snaps were limited due to the depth at wide receiver and his miscues as a returner. But with the injuries to JuJu Smith-Schuster, Mecole Hardman, and Kadarius Toney aggravating his injury, he was thrust into the starting lineup.
He only had seven catches on ten targets coming into this game and caught five catches for 63 yards and shook Derwin James out of his boots on multiple plays to get open. Skyy was always seen as a decent receiver who could fill the slot role they’ve needed since the loss of Tyreek Hill.
Skyy has earned a lot more playing time and with the possible injuries looming on the horizon, watch for him to get a lot more targets. This year’s Chiefs offense hasn’t had a steady number-one receiver outside of Travis Kelce and with the depth they have, watch for Skyy Moore to emerge as one of the big keys as the Chiefs head toward the playoffs.
Chris Jones should be the Defensive Player of the Year front runner
The Chiefs’ defense hasn’t been a top-10 unit this season, but they are one of the better-scoring defenses in the league. They bend but don’t break on a lot of possessions and it’s really due to the brilliance of Chris Jones’ play. Jones has quietly had one of his best seasons, and his best season since his All-Pro 2018 season, he has 9 sacks and 14 tackles for loss.
Chris Jones probably had one of the best halves of his career against the Chargers, he had four pressures and a sack on the game-sealing defensive stand. He has been so disruptive that even the double and triple teams the Chargers were sending his way didn’t stop him from getting to Justin Herbert. He has his eyes in the backfield at all times and is able to beat double teams on the inside and mash offensive tackles when he’s outside on pass-rushing downs.
With how good Chris Jones has been this season he should be considered for Defensive Player of the Year. Even though the Chiefs’ defense hasn’t been stellar, he has been a force of nature that has helped the Chiefs win games all season long.
The Charger Killer: Travis Kelce
The undefeated, unified, unanimous, and undisputed best tight end in football scored all three touchdowns on Sunday Night in Los Angeles. Travis Kelce has been so good for so long, many forget how unreal he actually is. There hasn’t been a tight end this consistent and dynamic in the league’s history. Not only did Travis Kelce pull off a hat trick of touchdowns and have 115 yards receiving, he only had six receptions, making every other reception a touchdown for Kelce.
The Chargers know how dangerous Kelce can be as he torched them for ten receptions for 191 yards and touchdowns in the overtime win last year. But they continue to leave him on an island with Derwin James and he feasts in these opportunities, he and James have battled over the years, but Kelce has gotten the best of him in the last three matchups.
To put it lightly, Travis Kelce is the Charger Killer, no other player has tormented the Chargers’ secondary like Kelce since the likes of Tony Gonzalez and Tim Brown. Kelce has single-handedly closed the door on the Chargers and the Chiefs ran the same play to win as they did the last time they played in LA. Travis Kelce is the best tight end in the game and is in the conversation for the GOAT at the position.
For more Chiefs news, analysis, and articles please follow Arrowhead Live on Twitter or visit our website.