Chiefs fall to 1-2 after after turnover-plagued loss to Chargers

·3-min read

The Kansas City Chiefs were on the verge of surviving a 3-0 turnover deficit against the Los Angeles Chargers on Sunday. 

A fourth giveaway proved one too many.

A late Patrick Mahomes interception set the Chargers up with a chance to score a win over their AFC West rivals. Justin Herbert and the Chargers offense made good. Los Angeles converted on fourth-and-9 thanks to a pass interference penalty en route to a go-ahead touchdown late in the fourth quarter for a 30-24 win. 

Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes (15) watches during the first half of an NFL football game against the Los Angeles Chargers, Sunday, Sept. 26, 2021, in Kansas City, Mo. (AP Photo/Ed Zurga)
Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs dropped to sole possession of last place in the AFC West. (AP Photo/Ed Zurga)

No late-game heroics for Chiefs offense

The Chargers left 32 seconds on the clock for Mahomes to work with, but it wasn't enough. A Los Angeles defense that came up with big plays all day got one last stop to secure the win and improve to 2-1. The Chargers survived plenty of mistakes of their own, but capitalized on Chief miscues to pull off the road upset and drop the Chiefs to 1-2, good for sole possession of last place in the AFC West.

Herbert finished the day completing 26-of-38 passes for 281 yards with four touchdowns and no turnovers. Mahomes completed 27-of-44 attempts for 260 yards with three touchdowns and two costly interceptions, including his late pick to Alohi Gilman that set up the Chargers' game-winning drive. 

That pick concluded a Kansas City drive that started on the Chiefs' 25-yard line with 2:14 remaining and the game tied at 24. It was a spot where a Mahomes-led offense is almost expected to convert to a game-winning drive. Instead, Sunday's game swung on a late turnover for a second straight week after Clyde Edwards-Helaire's fourth-quarter fumble sealed a loss to the Baltimore Ravens last week. 

Chargers win despite their own mistakes

The Chargers responded by converting the turnover into a touchdown, a possession after a penalty wiped one off the board. Los Angeles drove 59 yards on eight plays that ended with a Herbert touchdown pass to Mike Williams.  

The score made up for the previous possession that saw the Chargers settle for a game-tying field goal after facing first-and-goal from the Kansas City 1-yard line. Los Angeles thought it had a touchdown on that possession from Herbert to fullback Gabe Nabers. 

But an illegal shift penalty on Jared Cook negated the score and backed the Chargers up to the 6-yard line, where Tristan Vizcaino converted a 24-yard field goal to tie the game at 24. It was the fourth pre-snap penalty of the day for the Chargers a week after they saw two touchdowns negated by penalties in a 20-17 loss to the Dallas Cowboys.

But Chiefs mistakes proved more costly on Sunday. Kansas City started the game with three turnovers in three possessions, including Edwards-Helaire's second lost fumble in two weeks. The Chargers responded by opening up a 14-0 lead. 

Kansas City's offense eventually got on track with scores on four straight possessions. But a Chargers defense built around Joey Bosa and Derwin James intent on wreaking havoc in the pass game came up with one last play to secure the win and send the Chiefs to the AFC West basement. 

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