Coming into the new NFL season, the AFC West looked absolutely loaded, and all four teams were thought to have had a real shot at winning the division and possibly reaching the Super Bowl.
At the top of that food chain lies the Los Angeles Chargers and Kansas City Chiefs, who faced off against each other on Thursday in the first matchup of Week 2.
Both teams came in with a 1-0 record and were feeling reasonably confident about walking out of Arrowhead Stadium undefeated.
In the end, the Chiefs treated their fans to a come-from-behind 27-24 win, and in doing so, they proved that, at least for now, they’re still the chiefs of the division.
The Chargers Blew A Golden Opportunity
In the first quarter, Los Angeles built a 10-0 lead, and things looked good for Justin Herbert and company.
When he found Mike Williams for a 15-yard touchdown reception early in the third quarter, the Chargers went up 17-7, and the Chiefs were in trouble.
Luckily for them, Patrick Mahomes is perfectly capable of playing well from behind.
He got Kansas City a touchdown, then helped set up a field goal to start the fourth period that tied the game at 17.
Herbert got the Bolts into the red zone at the three-yard line, but he threw a pick-six that changed and defined the complexion of the contest.
Good morning #ChiefsKingdom
— Let’s Chat Chiefs (@LetsChatChiefs) September 16, 2022
Chargers fans feel they were robbed of a victory, as an apparent interception by Asante Samuel was overturned over the officials claimed he didn’t maintain control of the ball.
Asante Samuel Jr. was ROBBED!!
— Michael Maclane (@Michael_Maclane) September 16, 2022
But excuses are excuses, and L.A. failed to get the job done when the pressure was on, while the Chiefs responded the way one would expect a recent Super Bowl champion to respond.
Even without star wideout Tyreek Hill, they are looking about as dangerous as ever.
The Chargers Were Shorthanded, And Their Injuries Are Piling Up
The Bolts were without lead wide receiver Keenan Allen, who has made the Pro Bowl each of the last five years.
His absence was surely a factor in the Chiefs win, as it made L.A. much easier to defend.
But the team got much more banged up during the contest.
But the huge concern is with Herbert, who took a shot to the ribs, not once but apparently twice late in the contest.
He remained on the field, but he was clearly in pain, not to mention limited.
On one play with just over two minutes remaining in the contest, he had an opening to run a few yards for a first down, but he instead threw the ball out of bounds, presumably because he wasn’t able to run even a short distance.
Kansas City Has A Rough Stretch Ahead
The Chiefs will continue to be tested over the next several weeks, as they will face the Indianapolis Colts, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Las Vegas Raiders, Buffalo Bills, and San Francisco 49ers in that order.
It will give the rest of the division an opportunity to leapfrog them in the standings.
Meanwhile, the only challenging game the Chargers will have between now and their bye in Week 8 is their Week 6 tilt versus the Denver Broncos.
Of course, if Herbert isn’t healthy or able to play for a while, the Chargers will likely be unable to take advantage of a very manageable schedule in the coming weeks.