Courtesy of the Kansas City Chiefs
The Kansas City Chiefs fell to the Los Angeles Chargers, 38-21, on Sunday afternoon to wrap up the regular season.
The Chiefs rested several of their regular starters with the top seed in the AFC playoff picture already locked up, including quarterback Patrick Mahomes. That meant backup signal caller Chad Henne earned the nod under center for Kansas City – marking his first start since 2014 – to go along with several young players receiving an extended look at live game action.
Many of them made the most of it, too, leading Kansas City to touchdowns on each of their first two possessions, but the Chargers built a multi-score lead late in the second quarter and didn’t look back.
Henne completed 23-of-32 passes for 218 yards and two touchdowns, finding the end zone through the air on Kansas City’s opening drive. The 35-year-old Henne found tailback Darwin Thompson for 37 yards on a quick third down pass to move the chains on the Chiefs’ third play from scrimmage, and just a few snaps later, Henne hit wide receiver Byron Pringle for a 3-yard score to put Kansas City in front.
Los Angeles responded with a touchdown drive of their own, as quarterback Justin Herbert found tight end Donald Parham for an 8-yard score, but Henne had the Chiefs back in front just a series later with a 12-play, 72-yard scoring drive that Thompson punctuated with a 1-yard touchdown plunge.
The Chargers again tied things up on their next series, however, knotting the score up at 14 points apiece. Los Angeles then added a safety late in the second quarter to take a two-point lead when defensive end Isaac Rochell sacked Henne in the end zone, and following the ensuing free kick, the Chargers drove down the field and extended their advantage when Herbert plunged ahead for a 1-yard touchdown.
That made it a 10-point advantage heading into halftime, but the Chiefs managed to hold Los Angeles off the board to begin the second half when Alex Okafor and Tim Ward tallied back-to-back sacks to thwart the Chargers’ opening series.
For Ward, who made the first appearance of his career on Sunday, it was his first sack as a professional.
The Chiefs’ ensuing drive ended when a fourth-down attempt came up just inches short though, and the Chargers added to their advantage after taking over on offense when Herbert found wide receiver Mike Williams for a 48-yard score.
Los Angeles carried that 17-point lead into the fourth quarter, but the Chiefs kept fighting. Following Williams’ score, Henne led Kansas City on a 9-play, 74-yard drive that ended with an 8-yard scoring strike to Thompson.
That made it two scores on the night for Thompson, marking the first multi-touchdown game of his young career. In fact, the former sixth-round pick had just one career touchdown before tallying two on Sunday afternoon.
The Chargers quickly answered with a score of their own, however, as tailback Kalen Ballage plunged ahead for a 1-yard touchdown to restore Los Angeles’ 17-point lead a possession later and essentially seal the game.
Thompson led Kansas City with 110 yards from scrimmage, compiling the most productive outing of his career. In total, seven different players caught a pass for the Chiefs while Ward, Okafor and cornerback Deandre Baker each tallied sacks.
Kansas City wrapped up the regular season with a franchise-best 14-2 record on the year, and following a first-round bye next weekend, the Chiefs will return to Arrowhead Stadium to kick off the Divisional Round of the postseason in their pursuit of another title.