The Kansas City Chiefs roll into the postseason with a 31-21 win over the Los Angeles Chargers. With this win and the surprising defeat of the New England Patriots by the Miami Dolphins, the Chiefs are now the No. 2 seed in the playoffs with a bye and home-field advantage in the AFC Divisional round.
The Chiefs did seem to start off slow and were ambivalent about winning, but eventually, they did wake up and realize they were playing a game. Once they did, it was spectacular. A 104-yard return by Mecole Hardman for a touchdown could be the highlight of the game and deemed the turning point in the game.
The Chargers didn’t give up and gave the Chiefs something to think about. They were looking to halt the momentum of the Chiefs, and they were able to for a while. The offense was still able to run effectively against the Chiefs’ defense, but their defense still had issues containing the Chiefs’ offense.
The lackluster start to the game quickly went away. The Chiefs will need to bring their A-game if they want to make it to the Super Bowl. There needs to be better communication between Mahomes and his receivers, as it was noticeable in the game leading to incompletions and an interception. Their running game seemed non-existent until Damien Williams and his 84-yard touchdown run.
Their defense still needs to continue to practice stopping the running game. In the playoffs, they will have to find a way to make up for the loss of rookie Juan Thornhill, who tore his ACL. Terrell Suggs was able to pick up his first sack with the Chiefs, proving he was a great late-season pickup.
Despite giving the Chiefs a run for their money, Philip Rivers was held to 281 passing yards and he had two touchdowns and two interceptions. Despite the team keeping up with the Chiefs, they were not able to put the game away. This seems to have been a theme throughout the entire season: playing well, but not good enough to win the game. This game showed us more questionable throws, dropped passes, and missed tackles.
The defense will need to work on consistency and how they approach third-down situations as they allowed the Chiefs to convert seven out of their 10 attempts. What they have been able to do is keep Mahomes under 200 passing yards and kept him from having multiple passing touchdowns. They’ve been able to do this both times they’ve faced the Chiefs.
The Chiefs are heading into the playoffs at 12-4 with a bye, but will be missing key players like Thornhill.
The Chargers will have to decide the fate of Philip Rivers and Melvin Gordon while attempting to shore up positions on the offensive line.