The Kansas City Chiefs came away with a thrilling win over the Los Angeles Chargers on Thursday night to remain unbeaten on the season through two weeks.
Here are some quick notes and facts about the game.
1. Cornerback Jaylen Watson was responsible for the play of the game.
Watson changed the game on Thursday night with a 99-yard interception return for a touchdown midway through the fourth quarter. The play, which constituted a 14-point swing, provided the Chiefs with their first lead of the game.
Watson’s efforts made him the first player since 2017 to record a pick-six of at least 99 yards during the fourth quarter of a game. Additionally, Watson now owns the longest go-ahead, fourth-quarter touchdown scored by a rookie in NFL history.
Players in Recorded NFL History to have a 99+ Yard Pick-Six in the 4th Quarter to take the lead: Jaylen Watson – Last Night vs. LAC Shaun Gayle – 12/23/95 vs. NYG pic.twitter.com/BwMB6SKr1J
2. Defensive lineman Chris Jones came up with some big plays, too.
Jones was outstanding throughout Thursday’s game, racking up six pressures and two sacks. It’s worth adding that both of his sacks occurred on third downs, the latter of which led to a short field offensively that helped the Chiefs tie the game at 17 points apiece.
The Chiefs’ pass-rush, in general, was relentless on Thursday, as Chargers’ quarterback Justin Hebert was pressured on 18 of his dropbacks. That swarming effort included a total of eight quarterback hits spread out among Chris Jones (2), defensive end Frank Clark (1), defensive end Mike Danna (1), defensive end Carlos Dunlap (1), defensive end George Karlaftis (1), linebacker Willie Gay (1) and linebacker Leo Chenal (1).
Congratulations, @StoneColdJones!! 🥶👏 pic.twitter.com/IYBleAGsKN
3. The defense in general was impressive on Thursday night.
The Chargers moved the ball at times on Thursday, but when it counted, the Chiefs’ defense often showed up in a big way. In fact, Los Angeles was just 5-of-16 on third down and punted six times. Additionally, after scoring on each of its first two possessions, Los Angeles tallied points on just one of its next eight drives.
Third down has been a major area of success for the Chiefs’ young defense through two games, as Kansas City has held opponents to just 8-of-28 on third down this season. For context, seven teams allowed 8+ third down conversions in Week 1 alone.
4. Quarterback Patrick Mahomes put together a gutsy performance.
It wasn’t the offensive explosion that took place in Week 1, but Mahomes and the Chiefs’ offense battled through some early adversity to get the job done on Thursday night.
Mahomes completed 24-of-35 passes for 235 yards and two scores in the game, moving past former quarterback Alex Smith for the third-most passing completions (1,604) in franchise history. Only Len Dawson (2,115) and Trent Green (1,720) recorded more.
The 26-year-old Mahomes now has seven passing touchdowns and zero interceptions on the season.
QBs in the Super Bowl era with 70+ comp pct, 7+ pass TD & 0 INT in their first 2 games of a season@PatrickMahomes in 2022Mahomes in 2019 (SB MVP)@Lj_era8 in 2019 (NFL MVP)#ChiefsKingdom #TNFonPrime
5. Tight end Travis Kelce continues to climb up the record books.
Kelce – who led all pass-catchers with five receptions for 51 yards – now has the sixth-most catches for any tight end in NFL history, passing Jimmy Graham. Kelce is just 26 catches shy of passing Greg Olsen and moving into the top-five.
The All-Pro tight end was one of nine players to catch a pass on Thursday, marking the second-straight week that exactly nine pass-catchers hauled in at least one reception.
Travis Kelce is the 3rd TE in NFL history with 100+ rec yds in at least 30 career games.With 1 more such game, Kelce will tie fellow @Chiefs TE and @ProFootballHOF @TonyGonzalez88 for the 2nd-most such games (31) by a TE all-time behind @RobGronkowski (32).#ChiefsKingdom
6. Wide receiver Justin Watson had a home debut to remember.
Watson, much like his defensive counterpart with the same surname, was responsible for one of the biggest moments of the game on Thursday when he brought in a 41-yard touchdown reception midway through the third quarter.
Prior to the grab, the Chiefs were trailing by 10 points and facing a long third down at midfield. It was a moment in the game in which it felt imperative that the Chiefs came away with points, and Watson came through.
The 41-yard grab was the longest reception of Watson’s career, which began back in 2018.
7. Tailback Clyde Edwards-Helaire picked a good time for the longest rush of his career.
Edwards-Helaire racked up 118 yards of total offense on Thursday, rushing for 74 yards on eight attempts while also catching four passes for 44 yards. That total was the fourth-highest of Edwards-Helaire’s career and represented his best tally since 2020.
He managed to save his biggest rush for last, too, escaping for a 52-yard run on the Chiefs’ penultimate possession that helped set up a critical, game-sealing field goal attempt. It was the longest rush of his career.
8. Punter Tommy Townsend had a night to remember.
The offense never wants to punt, but when it’s necessary, the effectiveness of the punter can sometimes represent the difference between winning and losing. The Chiefs are fortunate to have a strong one in Tommy Townsend, who was at his best on Thursday.
Townsend punted six times in the game, dropping three kicks inside the Chargers’ 20-yard line. One of those punts traveled a ridiculous 74 yards, marking a career-best for the Chiefs’ young punter. It was the longest punt by any player this season and the third-longest punt since the beginning of 2021.
9. The Chiefs continue to be the kings of the comeback.
The Chiefs have become synonymous with late-game heroics, and the numbers back up that reputation. In fact, since 2018, the Chiefs are now 28-15 in games in which they trailed at some point. They have the most such wins in the NFL during that span despite trailing in the third-fewest games (43) among all teams.
The Chiefs don’t trail often, but when they do, the game isn’t over until the clock hits zeroes.
10. Kansas City extended its dominance over the AFC West.
Thursday’s victory moved the Chiefs to 42-13 vs. divisional opponents since 2013, which is by far the best record for any team against their own division during that span. Additionally, in games that Mahomes has started, Kansas City is 22-3 vs. the AFC West.
The Chiefs will now enjoy some time off this weekend before traveling to Indianapolis to take on the Colts on Sept. 25.