Good teams win their clunkers.
The Kansas City Chiefs didn’t play crisp football Thursday night but found a way to overcome a 10-point second-half deficit to defeat the Los Angeles Chargers, 27-24.
Quarterback Patrick Mahomes made some fantastic plays to lead the Chiefs, but his play was sporadic, tossing several balls that could have been picked off on the night.
“First off, I’m livin’ right,” Mahomes said via the official transcript. “Because I had a couple interceptions that didn’t get called with flags because there were flags and then that one got overturned when it hit the ground. Yeah, whenever you get that second opportunity where you’re going to go back out there and they had had the ball 17-7 with the ball already in the red zone and getting another opportunity to go back out there and score you have to capitalize on it when you’re playing great football teams and so it was a great job as an offense that we found a way to score on that drive. I had to stop giving them even chances. It’s just too close sometimes and I’m going to make sure I get better at that.”
A key sequence came midway through the third quarter, with K.C. trailing by double digits. Mahomes threw a wayward pass to Travis Kelce that corner Asante Samuel Jr. jumped and appeared to intercept. However, officials ruled that Samuel didn’t control the ball to the ground, overturning the call.
Six plays later, Mahomes made the Chargers pay, stepping up in the pocket and rifling a perfect off-balance laser to Justin Watson for the TD.
Mahomes credited the Chargers’ defense with making life difficult on him, particularly the overturned interception.
“So, you hope that it’s overturned obviously, but on the play they got me,” he said. “They were all game. They were playing one coverage and out of nowhere they threw me with a shell coverage with a corner who had been playing just kind of getting out of there the whole time. He dropped down to play Cover 2 and so it got me. I don’t throw just straight to guys most times and so (we) got lucky enough that it bounced around, hit the ground and I was able to get another chance at it. I’m sure PFF will have me at a low grade for that, but I’ll keep rolling.”
L.A.’s reworked defense got its hands on a host of Mahomes passes. His 24-of-35 passing, 235-yard and two-TD stat line could have looked much worse had the INT luck not bounced the Chiefs’ way.
But K.C. made the Chargers pay for those missed opportunities, and the defense roared to life in the second half. On a short week, not playing their best football against a good division opponent, the Chiefs will bank the comeback W.
“I think this year we found a way to win it,” Mahomes said. “That’s going to be a team that’s going to be in the playoff picture. They’re Super Bowl contenders. They have a great defense, great offense, great special teams so to find a way to win and keep that home field advantage, I think it was huge and it’ll be something that we’ll look back on at the end of the season and say that was a big win for us.”