May 29, 2024

After being torched by Kansas City’s offense in the first half, the Chargers responded in the second…

It still wasn’t enough.

The Chiefs’ seven-point halftime lead remained intact deep into the fourth quarter before they put the Chargers away with a late score 31-17.

Quarterback Patrick Mahomes and tight end Travis Kelce tormented the Chargers early. Mahomes finished 32 of 42 for 424 yards and four touchdowns and Kelce with 12 catches for 179 yards.

The presence of Chargers’ safety Derwin James Jr., who was questionable for the game but played despite an ankle injury, wasn’t enough in the first two quarters to dissuade Kelce.

As their defense gave them a chance, the Chargers’ offense was unable to produce any points after halftime. Their five possessions ended in two interceptions and three punts, each of which came following a three-and-out.

Justin Herbert was 17 of 30 for 259 yards and one touchdown. Joshua Palmer had five receptions for 133 yards.

The Chargers fell to 2-4 with their second straight loss and the AFC West-leading Chiefs improved to 6-1.

The brutal first half for the Chargers’ defense was summed up by Kansas City’s final possession when Mahomes needed only six plays to go 96 yards for a touchdown that put the Chiefs up 24-17.

Mahomes and Kelce teamed up for a one-yard scoring pass with 15 seconds remaining before halftime.

Through two quarters, Mahomes was 20 of 23 for 321 yards and three touchdowns. Kelce had nine catches for 143 yards.

Of its 29 first-half plays, Kansas City ran the ball only six times, again exposing a Chargers’ defense that entered the game ranked last in the NFL in yards passing allowed.

Taylor Swift celebrates with Brittany Mahomes as they watch the Chiefs beat the Chargers.

Taylor Swift celebrates with Brittany Mahomes as they watch the Chiefs beat the Chargers.

(Ed Zurga / Associated Press)

The Chiefs averaged 11.5 yards per play despite gaining only 12 yards on those six rushing attempts.

After a 3-3 first quarter, the Chiefs produced the game’s first touchdown 49 seconds into the second quarter when Mahomes connected with Marquez Valdes-Scantling for a 46-yard score.

Mahomes shook loose from some Chargers’ pressure, rolled to his right and then tossed to Valdes-Scantling, who separated from cornerback Asante Samuel Jr. for the big play.

The Chargers answered immediately after the Kansas City kickoff when running back Joshua Kelley went 49 yards for a touchdown.

The six-play, 75-yard drive included a conversion on third-and-eight, Herbert hitting tight end Donald Parham Jr. for nine yards.

But the Chargers’ defense collapsed again on the Chiefs’ ensuing drive, which included Mahomes completions to Kelce of 53 and 13 yards. Mahomes hit Rashee Rice for a six-yard touchdown to make it 17-10 midway through the second quarter.

Herbert and Chargers responded with a game-tying touchdown just 91 seconds later. The quarterback passed seven yards to Gerald Everett for the score after hitting Palmer for a 60-yard gain three snaps earlier.

Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert (10) throws against the Chiefs during the first half.

Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert (10) throws against the Chiefs during the first half.

(Charlie Riedel / Associated Press)

The Chiefs took a 3-0 lead on their first possession when Harrison Butker kicked a 35-yard field goal.

Kansas City scored an apparent touchdown earlier in the series on a 48-yard pass from Mahomes to running back Jerick McKinnon, but the play was nullified by an illegal block penalty on the Chiefs.

The Chargers pulled even 3-3 on a career-long 55-yard field goal by Cameron Dicker on their next series.

They had moved inside the Kansas City 25-yard line, but the possession stalled when linebacker Willie Gay came unblocked on a blitz and sacked Herbert for a 13-yard loss.

The Chargers’ opening series of the game also was derailed by a sack, George Karlaftis going wide around right tackle Trey Pipkins III to get to Herbert for a six-yard loss leading to a punt.

The Chargers return to prime-time for the their next game, Sunday night against Chicago at SoFi Stadium. The Bears (2-5) just picked up their second victory over the season, beating Las Vegas 30-12.

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