Kansas City Chiefs get huge nights from Mahomes, Kelce, beat Chargers 30-27

The Kansas City Chiefs rode big performances from their biggest stars to a Sunday Night Football victory in Week 11, coming back late to down the Los Angeles Chargers 30-27.

That’s also the fourth win in a row for the Chiefs.

As has been the case for several of the head-to-head matchups for the Chiefs and Chargers in recent memory, Sunday’s meeting went right down to the wire. In fact, five of Kansas City’s last six wins in the series have been by just one score.

After trailing for much of the contest, the Chiefs jumped ahead of the Chargers just 10 seconds into the fourth quarter thanks to a touchdown pass from quarterback Patrick Mahomes to tight end Travis Kelce, already their second scoring connection of the night.

The Chargers would answer and reclaim the lead with under two minutes to go, withstanding dueling lost fumbles by the two squads to eventually complete a 10-play, 64-yard drive with a touchdown pass from quarterback Justin Herbert to wide receiver Joshua Palmer, his favorite target on the night.

With 1:46 left in the game, however, there was a quick answer to the nearly omnipresent question, “Did they leave the Chiefs too much time?”

Kansas City Engineered by Mahomes, Kansas City needed just 1:15 to answer and score the game winner. It took merely six plays for the offense to work its way down the field, including a 43-yard strike to wide receiver Marquez Valdes-Scantling and a pair of Mahomes scrambles, plus a holding penalty against the Los Angeles defense.

To cap off the comeback drive, Mahomes hit Kelce again, who waltzed into the end zone with his third score of the night.

For a team that’s made a living on late comebacks in recent years, both in the regular season and the playoffs, Sunday’s game-winning drive was business as usual.

“We’ve done it with 13 seconds, so a minute feels like an eternity,” Chiefs coach Andy Reid said.

The Chargers did get one more chance to make some magic of their own with 31 seconds to play, but a sack by defensive end Chris Jones and a tipped-ball interception by linebacker Nick Bolton sealed the Chiefs’ victory.

Mahomes is in the midst of one of the best stretches of his career, adding to this latest run with a 20-of-34 passing performance on Sunday, good for 329 yards and three touchdowns, all of which went to Kelce. The standout tight end hauled in six passes total for 115 yards along with the scores.

Kelce also received effusive praise from his quarterback after the game.

“He’s one of the best, if not the best, tight end of all-time,” Mahomes said.

No tight end in NFL history has more 100-yard receiving games than Kelce.

Kansas City also got its best individual rushing performance in over a year this weekend courtesy of rookie running back Isiah Pacheco. The Rutgers product carried the ball 15 times for 107 yards, the first time a Chiefs player has gone over 100 yards on the ground since Clyde Edwards-Helaire accomplished the feat in Week 4 of last season.

In unfortunate news from this weekend regarding Edwards-Helaire, he suffered an ankle injury in the first half and didn’t return to the game.

“He’s a tough kid, but that doesn’t look good,” Reid said regarding Edwards-Helaire’s injury.

While the offense performed well for most of Sunday night’s game, the Chiefs’ defense overcame some early struggles and made just enough plays late to contribute to the victory. Specifically, the Kansas City pass rush stepped up in convincing fashion, recording five sacks for the second week in a row.

This week’s effort was especially dazzling considering the Chargers had allowed an NFL-low 13 sacks all year entering this week. They’re now tied for the sixth fewest allowed.

Jones had two sacks for the game, including the one on L.A.’s final drive, while defensive end Mike Danna also added a pair and linebacker Willie Gay tacked on his second in as many games.

Seven weeks remain in the NFL season, but Kansas City’s lead in the AFC West may already be insurmountable following its most recent victory. The Chiefs hold a three-game edge on the second-place Chargers and they own the head-to-head tiebreaker.

As far as the race for the top seed in the AFC playoff picture, the Chiefs remain one game ahead of the Buffalo Bills after the latter won their game against the Cleveland Browns this week. Buffalo also owns the tiebreaker in that race over Kansas City.

Next up for the Chiefs is a meeting with the other Los Angeles team, the Rams, next weekend at home in Kansas City. The Rams, the reigning Super Bowl champions, have lost four games in a row and may have lost their quarterback, too. Matthew Stafford was knocked out of their game against the New Orleans Saints on Sunday and didn’t return.

That matchup is set for a 3:25 kickoff next Sunday.

For more reaction to the Kansas City Chiefs’ 30-27 win over the Los Angeles Chargers, check out Mic’d Up with Jake and Fulton from noon-3 p.m., and 580 Sports Talk with Brendan and Dan from 3-5:30 p.m. Monday on 580 WIBW.