The LA Chargers face off against the Kansas City Chiefs on Thursday Night Football in Week 2 of the 2022 NFL season, as it was revealed during the NFL Draft this year. Last year, the two met in a pivotal game that had the potential to shake up the AFC West standings.
Let's look back at that game and break down what the Bolts could do differently this time around.
2021 Week 15 TNF: Chiefs at Chargers
Coming off two commanding wins against an AFC foe in the Cincinnati Bengals, as well as the NFC East’s New York Giants, the LA Chargers, seemed poised to make a run for the AFC West title, something that the Kansas City Chiefs have been controlling for the past five years. It all came down to Thursday night, Kansas City at Los Angeles. One-time MVP and Super Bowl champion Patrick Mahomes versus second-year Pro Bowler Justin Herbert.
These two playing each other on their own will grab the attention of any football fan, as you have two of the best young stars in the league leading their teams to the playoffs. Both quarterbacks are top five in passing yards and touchdowns and are set to keep that up going into the end of the regular season.
A sensational return by the three-time Pro Bowler Andre Roberts to begin the game is something that Chargers fans were impressed to see considering the difficulties the Chargers have dealt with on special teams. Following the return, an unfortunate and scary injury to second-string tight end Donald Parham on a fourth and goal opportunity left the Chargers scoreless on the first drive, putting the ball into the hands of Patrick Mahomes and the red-hot Kansas City Chiefs.
Four turnovers, two of them on downs, caused the game to go into halftime with a low score of 14-10 in favor of the Chargers. Going into the second half, more importantly, the fourth quarter, the Chargers held two separate leads of seven and eight points. Mahomes relied on his two playmakers in the two All-Pro players, Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce, to march them back and send the game into overtime.
Overtime was short-lived, taking just two minutes for Kansas City to win the toss, drive down the field, and score the game-winning touchdown for a 34-28 win putting them two games ahead in the AFC West and back on top in the AFC standings.
How the Chargers can flip the script and win in Week 2:
In every game that the Chiefs and Chargers play, there is always going to be a big storyline associated with it. With a lot of changes surrounding both the Chargers and the Chiefs, here is how the Bolts could come out with a win and start their season off strong.
Luckily, superstar Tyreek Hill will not be playing alongside Travis Kelce and company, which always showed to be a problem against the Chargers. However, Travis Kelce is and has always been a problem for the Chargers. The superstar tight end had 10 receptions for 191 yards and two scores in week 15 last season, so focusing on stopping Kelce will be key to winning in LA this year.
Another key factor would be to win the turnover margin. Being able to keep control of the football and causing Mahomes to feel uncomfortable and turn the ball over is a key way to beating the Chiefs, who have reigned supreme in the AFC West for the past six years.
The additions the Chargers have made on defense hopefully can make a great impact when playing Super Bowl contenders, such as Kansas City.
The Chargers have a lot of firepower, and with that, a lot of high expectations. In what is Justin Herbert's best overall roster since entering the NFL, we should be excited to see what he can do this season.
More importantly, we should be looking to see what run the Chargers can make, starting with winning the very difficult AFC West.