INGLEWOOD, Calif. -- With three defensive starters out of their lineup, the Kansas City Chiefs needed a big game from Patrick Mahomes in Thursday night’s game against the Los Angeles Chargers for first place in the AFC West.
After a shaky first three quarters, he delivered. Mahomes threw two touchdown passes and a 2-point conversion in the final period to rally the Chiefs into overtime.
Mahomes led the Chiefs down the field on the first possession of overtime, throwing a 34-yard touchdown pass to Travis Kelce to give the Chiefs a 34-28 win. Mahomes completed 31 of 47 passes for 410 yards.
"We got heart, that's the biggest thing," Mahomes said on NFL Network postgame. "It hasn't been pretty the entire season, but guys stepped up and showed that championship swagger we had a couple years back. Now, we just have to keep this momentum going.
"We're trying to get to the playoffs and make something happen."
The Chiefs won their seventh straight game to move to 10-4. They are two games ahead of the Chargers, their closest pursuers in the AFC West. The Chiefs can clinch their sixth straight division title by winning two of their final three games.
Kelce crushes: Kelce, who had 10 catches for 191 yards and two touchdowns, has 1,000 receiving yards in a season for the sixth time in his career, which extends his record for a tight end. He is also the only player with 1,000 receiving yards in each of the past six seasons.
Quarterback breakdown: Mahomes led a nice touchdown drive on the Chiefs’ first possession, completing 6 of 7 passes. But they didn’t score a touchdown again until the fourth quarter.
Their next three drives inside the 20 produced two field goals. They came away with nothing on one such possession when Mahomes badly missed an open Mecole Hardman on a fourth-down play. His interception in the fourth quarter looked for a time like it would be the game’s single biggest play as it allowed the Chargers to expand their lead to 21-13. But he got hot again in the fourth quarter and overtime and threw three touchdowns overall.
Troubling trend: Except in their two recent games against the Raiders, when they topped 40 points in each game, the Chiefs many times have had a long touchdown drive to start the game only to have their offense stall from that point. That happened again against the Chargers. The Chiefs don’t figure to go far in the playoffs without getting a more consistent game from Mahomes and the offense.