The Los Angeles Chargers ended their third disappointing season since leaving San Diego with a 31-21 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs Sunday in Missouri. It was their sixth loss in seven games.
Two big plays in a three-play sequence in the third quarter gave Kansas City the lead for good.
After Melvin Gordon’s 5-yard touchdown run on the Chargers’ first drive of the third quarter gave them a 14-10 lead, Mecole Hardman returned the ensuing kickoff 104 yards for a touchdown, the third-longest kickoff return in the franchise’s 60-season history.
On the first play after a punt, Damien Williams ran 84 yards for a touchdown, increasing the Chiefs lead to 24-14 with six minutes, 26 seconds left in the third quarter. The run matched the fourth-longest in franchise history.
The Chargers cut the deficit to 24-21 with 5:23 remaining in the fourth quarter on Philip Rivers’ 8-yard touchdown pass to Hunter Henry. Kansas City responded by driving 77 yards on eight plays, sealing the victory on Williams’ 7-yard touchdown run with 2:37 to play.
The Chargers led 366 yards to 336, 25-16 in first downs and 36:04- 23:56 in time of possession before a crowd at Arrowhead Stadium announced at 73,680.
Rivers completed 31 of 46 passes for 281 yards and two touchdowns with two interceptions for the Chargers (5-11).
Patrick Mahomes completed 16 of 25 passes for 174 yards, including a 24-yard touchdown pass to Demarcus Robinson 2:16 before halftime, helping the Chiefs (12-4) to their sixth consecutive victory. He also had one pass intercepted.
Williams ran for 124 yards on 12 carries, one yard short of his regular-season high, set Nov. 3 in a 26-23 victory over the Minnesota Vikings. He also rushed for 129 yards in a 31-13 playoff victory over the Indianapolis Colts Jan. 12.
Kansas City opened the scoring on Harrison Butker’s 40-yard field goal with 1:29 left in the first quarter, completing a 15-play, 62-yard drive.
Keenan Allen made a game high-equaling nine catches, giving him 104 for the season, erasing the previous Chargers record of 102 he set in 2017.
Allen moved into a tie for 10th with Malcom Floyd in team history in touchdown receptions with 34 when he caught a 12-yard pass from Rivers with 11:44 left in the second quarter.
Austin Ekeler also made nine catches giving him 90 for the season, second-most by a Charger running back behind Pro Football Hall of Fame member LaDainian Tomlinson, who made 100 in 2003.
The Chargers seven-victory dropoff from their 12-4 record in 2018 matched the second-largest in team history. They were 1-15 in 2000 after going 8-8 in 1999. The Chargers were 4-10 in 1962 after going 12-2 the previous season.
The Chargers were winless in division play for the fourth time, losing all six games to AFC West opponents. They were also 0-6 against AFC West opponents in 2015 and 1973 and 0-8 in 1984.
— City News Service
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