At Los Angeles
4:05 p.m. ET
85 degrees and clear
Key Coaching Decision #1 (LA ball trailing 14-12 / 2-point conversion attempt / 7:47 Q2)
• The Chargers were down 14-3 at one point in the first half. They came back and managed to get to within two points. Instead of kicking the PAT, the Chargers attempted a two-point conversion pass to Mike Williams that fell short. There was no need to try to tie the game here. There was plenty of time left to get those two points back later. The Chargers would never come within two points again during the game.
Key Coaching Decision #2: (KC ball, leading 17-12 / first-and-10, LAC 38 / Approximately 0:30 Q2)
• After a 20-yard completion to Tyreek Hill, the Chiefs crossed over into Chargers territory. The Chiefs have explosive players in Hill, Sammy Watkins, Travis Kelce among others. They have players that can run after the catch and have sure hands. Rather than try to move the ball this way, QB Patrick Mahomes wanted to take shots downfield. They had one timeout remaining and could have scored before the half if they had put their foot on the gas pedal. The Chiefs were also getting the ball back after the half. Perhaps they were reluctant to take a chance as they were afraid of a turnover that would see them losing the lead.
Key Coaching Decision #3: (LA ball trailing 38-26 / 2-point conversion attempt / 5:01 Q4)
• After the Chargers scored on a Philip Rivers 4-yard pass to wide receiver Tyrell Williams, the Chargers were successful on a 2-point conversion that got them to within 10 of the Chiefs. This would not have been necessary had the Chargers not gone for and missed a 2-point conversion in the second quarter. Had they not been successful here, it would have required two touchdowns for the Chargers to either tie or go ahead in the game. With this conversion, the Chargers would need a combination of a touchdown and field goal to possibly tie the game.
• Kansas City’s use of personnel was outstanding. Tyreek Hill was part of the game-plan throughout the game. He caught seven of Mahomes’ completed passes, with a number of those being short shovel passes that gave Hill the ball in the open field and near the line of scrimmage. This allowed Mahomes to get into rhythm, gain confidence and, more importantly, play with a lead. Hill also made a number of catches down field.
• Similarly De’Anthony Thomas, a Hill clone, also scored a touchdown and was featured in the offense. He is coming off a major injury. It will be interesting to see whether Hill and Thomas will have the same roles going forward in this offense as you have to run special plays for Thomas and Hill at times. Also, this takes away touches from others on this team like Travis Kelce (1 catch) and Sammy Watkins (3 catches).
•The Chargers made few adjustments defensively to what the Chiefs were doing. They certainly missed defensive lineman Joey Bosa, who might be out for an extended period with a foot injury. This limits what they can do schematically. They do have 2018 first-round pick, safety Derwin James all over the field.
• To the Chargers’ credit, they did not ignore the run after going down early. They ran the ball consistently throughout the afternoon with Melvin Gordon and Austin Ekeler. Both of them featured prominently in the passing attack as well.
• This was Andy Reid and the Chiefs’ ninth straight win over the Chargers.
• The Chargers really have no home-field advantage. The stadium appeared to be covered in red. We wonder if the Chargers coaching staff has to pump in crowd noise to simulate conditions at home as well. This isn’t meant to be snarky. That’s a serious question.