KANSAS CITY, Mo. (WDAF) — The Kansas City Chiefs remain at the top of the AFC West.
The Chiefs sat on an explosive first half to cruise to a 31-17 win over the Los Angeles Chargers for their fourth straight win over the AFC West rival.
After stopping the Chargers on the opening drive of the game, the Chiefs drove the field and took a 3-0 lead to start the game.
Chiefs running back Jerick McKinnon scored a 48-yard touchdown on a screen play that was called back because of a block in the back penalty by guard Joe Thuney. Left tackle Donovan Smith also received a holding penalty, which pushed the Chiefs from 1st & 10 on the 20-yard line to 1st & 20 on the 30.
The Chargers responded back with their own field goal near the end of the first quarter.
The Chiefs only needed five plays for Mahomes to find Marquez Valdes-Scantling on a scramble drill for a 46-yard TD, MVS’ first TD this season. He had 84 yards to go with that TD.
The Chargers punched right back six plays later, with running back Joshua Kelley breaking free for a 49-yard TD.
Travis Kelce collected his second straight game with 100+ first-half receiving yards after a 54-yard reception got the Chiefs into the red zone, and rookie receiver Rashee Rice caught a Mahomes drop in the bucket pass to the back of the end zone for a 17-10 lead.
The Chargers answered back with their own explosive plays. Receiver Joshua Palmer was wide open downfield for quarterback Justin Herbert and took the pass 60 yards to the red zone.
Tight end Gerald Everett caught a wide-open touchdown three plays later to tie the game at 17 midway through the second quarter.
On the next drive, Mahomes underthrew receiver Mecole Hardman on a deep pass that was intercepted by cornerback Asante Samuel Jr.
The Chiefs got the ball back with less than three minutes to go, and Kelce got his first touchdown of the game thanks to an inside pass from Mahomes to take a 24-17 lead into halftime.
Kelce ended the first half with 143 receiving yards and a TD; it is the most first-half receiving yards in a game in his career.
It was also the 50th touchdown for the Mahomes-Kelce connection, the fourth most TDs for a QB-TE duo in NFL history.
The Chiefs’ lead held firm in the third quarter, with both sides committing turnovers in the red zone (Chiefs TE Blake Bell fumble, Herbert tipped interception to cornerback L’Jarius Sneed).
Hardman was crucial to finishing the game with a 50-yard punt return with 6:16 to go and catching a six-yard pass to convert
Mahomes ended the night with 424 passing yards, four TDs and an interception. It is the 10th time Mahomes has passed 400 passing yards in a game in his career.
Running back Isiah Pacheco was stifled by the Chargers run defense with only 32 rushing yards, but his eight-yard receiving TD sealed the win for the Chiefs with less than four minutes to go.
It was the first receiving TD of his career.
Kelce garnered 179 yards and a TD on 12 catches. He finished just shy of his career-high 191 yards that he gained against the Chargers in 2021.
Defensive end Charles Omenihu had an excellent game in his first action of the season since coming back from suspension. He garnered a sack, two quarterback hits and a tipped pass that led to a Chiefs interception.
The defense collected five sacks as a whole.
The Chiefs are on the road to a rematch with AFC West rival Denver Broncos on Sunday at 3:25 p.m.