By Tim Peterson
(Carson) – There was one big difference between the Chargers and the Chiefs Sunday. One had Tyreek Hill and one didn’t. Hill, wearing red, caught seven passes for 169 yards and two touchdowns and oh by the way, returned a punt 91 yards for a score to spark Kansas City to a 38-28 win over LA Sunday at StubHub Center.
The Chargers rallied late to get within ten in the fourth quarter but couldn’t overcome Hill’s heroics.
After the Chargers went three and out on their initial possession, Hill returned the punt 91 yards for a touchdown to give the Chiefs a quick 7-0 lead.
Caleb Strurgis kicked a 45-yard field goal for the Chargers to make it 7-3 on the next series but then Hill struck like lightning again. On the Chiefs next possession Patrick Mahomes hit him over the middle and he was off to the races for a 58 yard score. There were still over six minutes left in the first quarter but the Chargers were shell shocked.
Sturgis countered with a 39-yard boot later in the quarter to cut the KC lead to 14-6.
The Chargers got their first touchdown of the afternoon in the second quarter when Philip Rivers found Austin Ekeler for a 13-yard score to finish a Chargers drive of 12 plays and 96 yards.
Harrison Butker kicked a 46-yard field goal with 2:00 left in the half to increase the Chiefs advantage to 17-12 at the break.
Kansas City picked up right where it left off in the third quarter marching 75 yards on 11 plays to go up 24-12. De’Anthony Thomas completed the drive with a one-yard run.
The rout seemed to be on after Ron Parker picked off Rivers setting up KC again. Mahomes found fullback Anthony Sherman circling out of the backfield for a 36 yard touchdown just before the end of the third quarter and KC was cruising 31-12. The Chiefs needed just six plays to go 86 yards after Parker’s interception.
Kansas City carried that lead into the fourth quarter when LA began its late surge. Rivers hit Keenan Allen in the corner of the endzone for a score and then hooked up with old friend Antonio Gates for a two-point conversion to make it 31-20.
The Chargers had regained momentum after forcing the Chiefs to punt and then disaster struck. Dustin Colquitt’s punt was muffed by JJ Jones at the two-yard line. James Winchester fell on the loose pigskin, KC was back in business and the tide had turned to red.
From there Hill, who else?, caught a shovel pass from Mahomes and scooted across the goal line to essentially ice it.
The Chargers scored once more on a one-yard pass from Rivers to Williams and also converted the two point conversion on a Melvin Gordon run but that as close as they could get.
LA had its opportunities throughout. Williams and Travis Benjamin both dropped passes in the end zone. The interception also hurt.
Hill was the big gun for the Chiefs but Mahomes also had nice numbers completing 15 of 27 for 256 yards and four touchdowns. Rivers was 34 of 51 for 424 yards and three scores for LA with the pick. Ekeler had 87 yards receiving and a score and 39 yards rushing. Gordon had 15 carries for 64 yards.
“A team like that you can’t give them anything,” said Chargers head coach Anthony Lynn. “You’ve got to take everything and we didn’t do that. We gave them too much and they out played us.”
The Chargers will travel to Buffalo next week to take on the Bills.