The Kansas City Chiefs made a huge statement with a 30-13 win over the Los Angeles Chargers on a brisk Saturday night.
Chiefs running back Kareem Hunt sealed the deal with his second rushing touchdown of the night late in the fourth quarter.
Kansas City scored 17 points off of three turnovers committed by the Chargers. Three interceptions thrown by quarterback Philip Rivers didn't matter at all. In his two games versus the Chiefs, Rivers' passed for 500 yards, one touchdown and six interceptions.
"We didn't play our best, we have to look ourselves in the mirror, figure out why we didn't come prepared for a big game like this," Chargers head coach Anthony Lynn said. "Maybe we made this game bigger than what it was."
With the AFC West division on the line, both the Chargers and the Chiefs were tied at 7-6 entering this game. Kansas City not only captures sole possession of first place in the AFC West, but now has a great chance to win the division.
The Chiefs have won eight straight games against the Chargers, matching the team’s longest win streak over the Chargers franchise (from 1990-93).
The last time the Chargers beat the Chiefs was Dec. 29, 2013 -- a Week 17 game at Qualcomm Stadium that the Chargers won in overtime, 27-24. The Chargers are seeking their first five-game winning streak since 2014.
A gutsy call by head coach Andy Reid on 4th down and 3, allowed quarterback Alex Smith to remain on the field as he found Kareem Hunt for 21 yard catch and run for the first down. Two plays later, Kansas City settled for a 31-yard field goal by Harrison Butker just before the end of the first quarter for a 3-0 lead.
Kansas City continued their offensive onslaught, as Alex Smith found a speedy Tyrek Hill on a go -rout for a 64-yard catch and run for a touchdown. Hill scored his 10th touchdown of the season for the 10-0 lead early in the second quarter. The Chargers responded back in a huge way off of the running talents of Melvin Gordon, who made tremendous runs in that drive. That eventually led to a 2-yard run up the middle for the touchdown. Los Angeles didn't enter the red zone until 3:53 of the second quarter.
A marvelous effort by the Bolts defense early in the third quarter set up a magnificent drive led by Gordon's 49-yard catch. Several plays later, Rivers found Allen for a 15 yard catch near the Chiefs 10 yard line. Eventually Rivers found Antonio Gates for his 113th career touchdown and the 13-10 lead.
Gates' recorded his first touchdown catch since his record-setting grab in Week 2. It was the 86th time that Rivers found Gates in the end zone, second only to Peyton Manning and Marvin Harrison.
Kansas City decided to retaliate as Smith spreads the ball around to various targets that included Travis Kelce, and capped off by a supreme 3-yard touchdown run for the 17-13 lead. With the Bolts backs against the wall, Rivers threw a crucial interception to cornerback Marcus Peters who took it back 62 yards to the Chargers' 6-yard line. Hunt nearly caught his second touchdown, but the ball hit the ground while he was trying to pull it in. Kansas City settled for a field goal taking a 20-13 lead over the Chargers with 28 seconds left in the third quarter.
Rookie running back Austin Ekeler fumbled the ball at the next Bolts possession, as Marcus Peters stripped the ball from Ekeler, and Ron Parker recovered for a 7 yard return to the Chargers 41 yard line. The Bolts defense led by Joey Bosa held the Chiefs in check and only allowed a 51-yard field goal midway through the final quarter.
Philip Rivers completed 20-of-36 passes for 227 yards, three interceptions and a touchdown.
RB Melvin Gordon finished with 169 total yards and one touchdown in the loss.
Melvin Ingram captured his 10th sack of the season on Alex Smith in the opening quarter. The first time he's hit double digit sacks since 2015. Joey Bosa has 11.5 sacks on the season. This is the first time defensive coordinator Gus Bradley has had two players with multiple sacks in nine seasons as a head coach or coordinator. Bosa and Ingram are the first Chargers duo to have double digit sacks in the same season since 2006.
Alex Smith completed 23-of-30 passes for 231 yards and two touchdowns.
RB Kareem Hunt ran for 172 yards in Week 3, the most the Chargers have given up to any running back this season. Hunt ran for 155 rushing yards on Saturday night.
The Chargers must win their last two remaining games against the N.Y. Jets and Oakland Raiders, and will need help to get into the playoffs.
The Bolts also lost players due to injuries such as Denzel Perryman (hamstring), Keenan Allen (back), Austin Ekeler (hand), Austin Philips (ankle).
If Kansas City defeats the Miami Dolphins next Sunday at Arrowhead Stadium, they will win the AFC West.