Courtesy of the Kansas City Chiefs
The Kansas City Chiefs defeated the Los Angeles Chargers, 23-20, in a thriller on Sunday afternoon at SoFi Stadium as kicker Harrison Butker connected on a 58-yard, game-winning field goal in the closing minutes of overtime.
Butker’s kick – his second 58-yard field goal of the afternoon – moved the Chiefs to 2-0 on the season and marked their 11th-straight victory dating back to last season. Additionally, Butker’s two 58-yarders matched Nick Lowery for the longest kicks in franchise history.
Trailing by three points with just over two minutes to play, Chiefs’ quarterback Patrick Mahomes led a 12-play, 63-yard drive that set up a game-tying, 30-yard field goal by Butker as time expired in regulation. Kansas City converted two third downs as part of the series – including a third-and-20 – to position Butker’s game-tying kick.
Kansas City’s defense held Los Angeles to a three-and-out on the Chargers’ opening series of overtime, and following a 13-play, 39-yard drive that included a fourth-down conversion at midfield, Butker nailed his 58-yarder and the Chiefs had the victory.
The win completed a thrilling comeback after a slow start on both sides of the ball.
Chargers’ quarterback Justin Herbert made the surprise start for Los Angeles in relief of fellow signal caller Tyrod Taylor – who couldn’t play at the last minute due to a chest injury – and made an impact right out of the gate.
Herbert found the end zone on a 4-yard touchdown run to begin the game, punctuating a 79-yard scoring drive on the Chargers’ opening series as part of a strong debut for the No. 6 overall pick in the 2020 Draft.
Kansas City answered the Chargers’ early score with a touchdown of its own midway through the second quarter, as Mahomes found tight end Travis Kelce on a 10-yard scoring strike. It was part of a strong game for Kelce, who hauled in nine grabs for 90 yards and a score in the contest.
Herbert then responded with a 14-yard touchdown strike on the Chargers’ ensuing drive, however, pushing Los Angeles’ advantage to eight points heading into halftime.
The two teams traded field goals to begin the second half – including Butker’s first 58-yard kick – before Mahomes fired a 54-yard touchdown to wide receiver Tyreek Hill early in the fourth quarter.
The speedy Hill flew by two defenders, hauled in the pass and somersaulted into the end zone, narrowing the deficit to two points. Mahomes then found wide receiver Mecole Hardman on the two-point try, knotting the game up at 17 points apiece.
It marked Hill’s 18th touchdown that covered 50 or more yards since entering the NFL in 2016, which are the most in the league in that span and nine more than second place.
Los Angeles then re-claimed the lead with a 23-yard field goal following a 17-play drive that ate up more than 10 minutes of clock, leaving Mahomes and the Chiefs’ offense with just under two and a half minutes remaining in the game.
Kansas City proceeded to move right down the field – including a Mahomes’ scramble on third-and-20 to move the chains – to set up Butker’s game-tying kick. The Chiefs then positioned Butker for yet another 58-yarder in the closing minutes of overtime, and despite the immense weight of the moment, the four-year veteran connected on the game-winner.
Mahomes completed 27-of-47 passes for 302 yards and two touchdowns in the game, finding Hill five times for a team-high 99 yards.
Defensively, rookie cornerback L’Jarius Sneed tallied his second interception in as many career games, snatching Herbert’s pass out of the air late in the third quarter that eventually set up Hill’s touchdown grab. Fellow rookie defensive end Mike Danna also tallied his first-career sack in the contest.
It all culminated in Kansas City’s 28th victory in 31 divisional matchups since the beginning of the 2015 season, which are by far the most for any team against their own division in the NFL during that span.
The Chiefs return to action next week with a prime-time showdown with the Baltimore Ravens on Monday Night Football.