Late turnovers doom Chargers in loss to Kansas City

KANSAS CITY, MO - DECEMBER 16: Running back Kareem Hunt
KANSAS CITY, MO - DECEMBER 16: Running back Kareem Hunt /

The Los Angeles Chargers weren’t able to avenge their earlier loss to the Kansas City Chiefs this season. On Saturday night, they looked nothing like the resurgent team that has stormed back in the division race.

The Chargers’ playoff hopes took a big step backward as they were beaten 30-13 by the Chiefs. I documented things that needed to go differently this time from when these teams played back in Week 3 and the two main things on that list went exactly the same way.

Kareem Hunt must really enjoy playing the Chargers because he’s had two of the biggest games of his rookie season against them. On Saturday, Hunt ran for 155 yards on 24 carries and scored a touchdown. But he also chipped in as a receiver, catching seven passes for 51 yards and another touchdown.

But it was turnovers that led to the loss for the Chargers.

When Philip Rivers hit Antonio Gates on a 10-yard touchdown pass in the third quarter, it seemed that the Chargers had seized momentum and were ready to deal a knockout blow to the Chiefs. But the Chiefs answered with a 12-play, 69-yard drive that ended with a 3-yard touchdown pass to Hunt.

On the ensuing possession, Rivers threw up a terrible pass intended for Tyrell Williams and Marcus Peters picked it off, returning it 62 yards all the way to the Chargers’ 6-yard line. This led to a Chiefs field goal. The Chargers got the ball back and on 3rd-and-1, Rivers hit Austin Ekeler for what would have been a first down but he had the ball knocked out of his hands and the Chiefs recovered. This was the play that really swung things in the Chiefs’ favor as they were able to get another field goal to go up 23-13 in the fourth quarter.

On the Chargers’ very next possession, Rivers threw another interception as he overshot Gates and the ball went into the hands of Ron Parker on a 4th-and-1 play.

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The Chargers just weren’t able to make the plays that they’ve been making of late and Rivers looked like a quarterback trying to do too much, something we’ve seen from him before. Keenan Allen was held to five catches for 54 yards on the night.

Injuries were another story as it seemed there was a Chargers’ player down after every play in the second half. Russell Okung and Joe Barksdale were both shaken up in this game. Denzel Perryman was hurt and Ekeler was shown with a soft cast on his hand late in the game. Finally, Allen was shown being carted off the field in the game’s final moments. He seemed to be in good spirits as he was driven away.

This was a tough loss for the Chargers who may now have to get in the playoffs as a Wild Card. They drop to 7-7 on the season and will have an extra day of rest before facing the New York Jets on Christmas Eve.