By Terrance Turner
November 20, 2022
Tonight the Kansas City Chiefs were in LA, playing the Los Angeles Chargers. Inside SoFi Stadium, the two teams battled it out in a tough, physical game that came down to the final seconds. The Chiefs prevailed in large part because of their dynamic tight end Travis Kelce. He electrified the crowds with three touchdowns; all came courtesy of quarterback Patrick Mahomes.
Kansas City opened the proceedings with an 11 play, 60-yard drive. It culminated in a field goal by kicker Harrison Butker. (He was good from 33 yards out.) The Chiefs jumped out to an early lead. But the chargers found the end zone almost immediately. On the third play of their first drive, quarterback Justin Herbert threw to wide receiver Josh Palmer for a 50-yard touchdown.
The Chiefs responded with another field goal. This time Butker drilled a 52-yard attempt to make it 7-6. The Chargers extended their lead when their kicker Cameron Dicker made a 46 yard field goal attempt. But it was a drive fraught with injuries. Chargers wide receiver Mike Williams got hurt on one play. And Josh Palmer was injured a few plays later. NBC cameras showed him lying on his back in the end zone while staff tended to him.
Meanwhile, the Chiefs took their first lead of the game with a seven-play, 75-yard drive. Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce capped the drive when he caught a pass from Mahomes for a four-yard touchdown.
After a punt apiece by each team, the Chargers answered. Running back Austin Ekeler had a 1-yard rush for the touchdown. That made it 17-13. Later, Cameron Dicker added another field goal to give the Chargers a 20 to 13 lead at the half.
As the third quarter wore on, the Chiefs embarked on a drive that had three third down conversions. Mahomes (crazily) converted a third and 17 with a pass to WR Justin Watson. And then he completed a pass to tight end Noah Gray. The drive continued. Later, on 3rd and 7th, Mahomes threw a pass short right to Skyy Moore for 15 yards.
And moments later, he converted yet another third down. On 3rd down and 4th, just as the fourth quarter began, Mahomes tossed the ball to Travis Kelce, who stutter-stepped and then dashed down the sideline into the end zone. His 32-yard touchdown gave the Chiefs their first lead of the half.
The Chargers took over. The drive moved forward…until wide receiver Keenan Allen fumbled the ball. It tumbled down the field and a handful of Chiefs defenders surrounded it. Defensive end Frank Clark ended up with the ball. Refs ruled it a fumble, recovered by Kansas City.
But Kansas City gave the ball right back. Chiefs WR Jerick McKinnon fumbled the ball. It was recovered by the Chargers defense. The Chiefs paid dearly for that fumble; Los Angeles moved down the field quickly, aided by an incredible highlight reel catch from Keenan Allen.
That play helped propel the Chargers to first and goal. When Herbert’s pass was deflected, he caught it himself. And then, on the very next play, he threw to Palmer for their second touchdown of the night.
That left just over 90 seconds for the Chiefs to take the lead and potentially win the game. But Mahomes struggled to make progress against a stout Chargers defense. On 3rd down, the drive was saved thanks to a penalty. Derwin James got flagged for holding. That was a 5-yard penalty, which led to an automatic first down.
Kansas City took advantage. Mahomes hit Moore for another first down. Then he took off running on the next play, sliding to a stop and calling a timeout with 37 seconds left. In an improbable twist, Mahomes completed yet another pass to Travis Kelce, who streaked his way into the end zone for the touchdown.
The Chargers had less than a minute to respond. But they were doomed. Herbert was sacked by Chris Jones. (In total, Herbert was sacked five times, the most ever in a game in his career.) And Jones forced Herbert into what would be a game ending mistake. While running from defenders, he threw a ball that was deflected; it then landed in the hands of Chiefs linebacker Nick Bolton. Game over.
Chiefs won, 30-27. Kelce finished with six catches for 115 yards and three touchdowns.