The Los Angeles Chargers finished the 2019 season at 5-11 but the story of the day was how the Kansas City Chiefs snuck into a first-round bye.
The Chiefs defeated the Chargers 31-21 at Arrowhead Stadium on Sunday, sweeping the season series in the process. Their victory came on the strength of a huge day by Damien Williams, who cranked out 124 yards rushing and two touchdowns. He was aided by many missed tackles by the Chargers.
For the Chargers, Philip Rivers completed 31-of-46 passing for 281 yards and two touchdowns, but he also threw two bad interceptions in what very well could have been his last game as the team’s starting quarterback.
That will be the biggest question facing the Chargers this offseason.
The Chargers were able to cut the Chiefs’ lead to 24-21 with just over five minutes left in the game following an 8-yard touchdown pass from Rivers to Hunter Henry. However, the defense couldn’t get the ball back with a chance to win the game.
The Chiefs went right down the field with a key third-down completion from Patrick Mahomes to Tyreek Hill. On the play, a gain of 47 yards, Mahomes found Hill matched up against Drue Tranquill and it was no match. That led to a 7-yard run by Williams which put the game out of reach.
Almost simultaneously, fans at Arrowhead saw that the Miami Dolphins had gone ahead of the New England Patriots with just seconds left in the game. With the win and the Patriots’ loss, the Chiefs will have a first-round bye in the playoffs.
The season doesn’t end on anywhere near as good of a note for the Chargers.
They finish the season at 5-11 and will be searching for an identity this offseason. What will the team do with Rivers, Melvin Gordon and Hunter Henry? Those are some of the key decisions ahead for general manager Tom Telesco.
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On a bright note, Keenan Allen eclipsed 100 receptions on the season after catching nine passes on Sunday and Mike Williams went over 1,000 yards receiving for the first time in his career. Running back Austin Ekeler, who added nine receptions on Sunday, missed the 1,000-yard receiving barrier by a mere seven yards.
Still, he had one of the best receiving seasons for a running back in league history.
For the Chargers, the offseason is now here. Though 12 teams will continue their quest for the Super Bowl, talk of free agency and the NFL draft is what the team should be focused on right away. It will certainly be one of the most interesting offseasons in team history for a team that will also begin play in a brand new stadium next season.