The LA Chargers' loss to the Kansas City Chiefs on Thursday Night Football was frustrating for a myriad of reasons. The Bolts looked to be the better team throughout but could not execute in key moments, leading to a classic Chargers game where they should have won but ultimately didn't.
There were several things that went wrong in this game. Patrick Mahomes threw several should-have-been interceptions that were either overturned by bad penalties or by drops that probably weren't actually drops.
Offensively, the Chargers were without Keenan Allen as well as Corey Linsley and Trey Pipkins in the second half. The second that Linsley and Pipkins went out the offensive line looked like the 2020 offensive line, hindering the offense and leading to Justin Herbert getting hurt.
All that being said, the Chargers still could have won the game. If several things went differently they could have won the game but there was one self-inflected wound that ultimately cost the Chargers the outcome against the Chiefs on primetime.
The decision to run hurry-up at the goal-line, leading to a pick-six, cost the Chargers the game vs. the Chiefs.
With the game tied 17-17, the Chargers put together a nice drive that started at their 40 all the way down to the Chiefs' three-yard line. Los Angeles did this without Linsley and Pipkins, and while Joe Lomardi gets a lot of flak, he called a great drive here.
Then there was a decision to go up-tempo to not allow the Chiefs to switch their personnel. This is something that the Chargers do often and it is something that traditionally works very well for them. In this instance, it lost them the game.
Gerald Everett was gassed after two big plays for the Chargers in the passing game and called for the sideline to switch him out for a play. The switch didn't happen, leading to a miscommunication with Herbert and a great play by Jaylen Watson. Watson took the interception to the house for six, essentially creating a 14-point swing.
There is a lot to dissect and potentially blame from this play. More so than anything, though, is the decision to go with this hurry-up approach and then throw the ball into traffic on the right side of the field.
Despite the rushing numbers not being very high, the Chargers had a lot of success in this game when they handed the ball off and ran behind Rashawn Slater. If the team is going to run a hurry-up play to keep the Chiefs' personnel on the field, why throw into it?
The Chiefs were geared more for a pass in this situation than they were a hand-off. Conventional wisdom says that the Chargers hurried this up so they could have an advantage in the run game to try and get Austin Ekeler his first touchdown of the game. And if not, the Bolts would have had three more downs to try and score.
Is it guaranteed that the Chargers would have scored a touchdown if they went this route? Not at all. But is it guaranteed that Justin Herbert wouldn't throw a pick-six in the direction of a gassed Gerald Everett? Absolutely.