The LA Chargers were unable to split the season series with the Kansas City Chiefs, falling on primetime in yet another close game between the two teams. At the end of the day, an ugly second half gave Patrick Mahomes the chance to drive down the field and win the game and he did just that.
For the most part, this loss is pinned directly on the shoulders of the Chargers and the coaching staff. The Bolts, yet again, came out in the second half and were timid, not playing to win, but playing not to lose.
However, like the first game, there still was some bad refereeing going on. The Chargers lost the first matchup to the Chiefs off of horrible referee decisions and while the refs were not completely to blame in this game, they certainly did have a factor on the last drive.
Mahomes started his game-winning drive with a big completion to Marquez Valdes-Scantling that looked like it might have been a case of offensive pass interference. Nothing was called. After the game, Bryce Callahan shook hands with MVS, bringing up that it was a push-off. MVS didn't deny the fact, simply saying "do what you got to do."
There is a big difference between an 18-yard completion to start a drive and an offensive pass interference on the first play that would have put the Chiefs behind the sticks. With how the Chargers were playing defense, though, it would still be really hard to be confident in them.
That was not the only bad call on the Chargers from the Chiefs' winning drive.
Later in the drive, Derwin James was called for holding on a third-down incompletion in which he had nothing to do with the play. James and Travis Kelce were battling all night and getting physical and in the biggest spot of the game, the referees decided to call a ticky-tacky penalty.
By the book, it was a hold on Derwin. The problem is as a referee is that you establish a level of contact and physicality that has been allowed all game only to completely go against that in a big spot. If it takes slo-mo replay to see clearly where the hold was, and you have allowed it all game, then you probably shouldn't pick that time to get flag happy.
The Chiefs got a first down and the rest was history. If that was not called, the Chiefs would have been backed up with a fourth and four. There is no guarantee that the Chargers would have stopped them, but all it would have taken was one good rep and suddenly the conversation around the Bolts would be much different.
Instead, as is often the case with Chargers fans, we are left wondering what could have been after a disappointing loss.