Kansas City Chiefs rally in fourth quarter to outlast LA Chargers on 'Thursday Night Football'
The first "Thursday Night Football" regular-season game on Amazon Prime Video didn’t disappoint. The Los Angeles Chargers went into the AFC West showdown riding a two-game winning streak in Kansas City, but their good fortune ended this year.
The Chiefs intercepted Justin Herbert near their end zone early in the fourth quarter to take a 24-17 lead and they never gave it up.
Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes had a gritty performance. He went 24-of-35 passing for 235 yards and had two touchdowns in the 27-24 victory over the Chargers.
The victory earned the Chiefs their fifth 2-0 start in the last six seasons. Mahomes improved his career record to 22-3 versus AFC West opponents.
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Here is what we learned from the Chiefs-Chargers tilt:
Jaylen Watson first NFL interception goes for six
Herbert didn’t make many bad throws on Thursday night, but he made a terrible decision at the goal line. The Chargers' quarterback tried to force a pass to tight end Gerald Everett. Herbert thought that Everett had inside leverage, but he didn’t in what appeared to look like some miscommunication between the quarterback and tight end. Rookie Jaylen Watson picked off Herbert’s pass and took it to the house for a 99-yard touchdown.
“The ball just ended up in my chest and I took it home. It was a surreal feeling. I’m just so grateful and blessed to be in this position. I didn’t even know what to do when I got into the end zone," Watson said. "It’s a moment I’ll never forget.”
It was Watson’s first interception and it was the decisive play in the contest. The pick six gave the Chiefs their first lead of the game and they didn’t relinquish it.
"I'm so proud of those young guys on defense. You just don't know until you get in these situations," Mahomes said. "For the defense to keep us around, it's a big, big step I think in the right direction."
Chiefs balanced on offense but lack explosiveness through air
Nine different players caught passes from Mahomes for the second straight week. The Chiefs' quarterback had to be patient in the pocket and did an excellent job of creating off-script plays.
Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce led the team with five catches for 51 yards. Eight players had at least two receptions.
“It’s going to be everybody,” Mahomes said of Kansas City’s balanced passing attack. “It’s not gonna be one guy.”
The Chargers defense didn’t make it easy for Kansas City’s offense. The Chiefs are going to have to manufacture explosive plays versus good defenses.
Chiefs WR Justin Watson turned around Chargers cornerback J.C. Jackson, who was out of position, for a 41-yard touchdown reception in the third quarter. That served as Kansas City’s longest passing play of the night.
The Chiefs missed the vertical threat and big-play ability from former wide receiver Tyreek Hill.
Mike Williams a man amongst boys
The Chargers played without WR Keenan Allen (hamstring). They missed the five-time Pro Bowler, but Williams did an admirable job carrying the load for the Chargers receivers.
Williams was a mismatch for Chiefs cornerbacks for most of the game. The 6-foot-4 wideout used his size and sure hands to gain an advantage over Kansas City’s smaller defensive backs. He had a one-handed touchdown catch in the third quarter that earned shout outs from both LeBron James and Kevin Durant.
Williams’ circus touchdown catch was his seventh career TD at GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium. The most ever by a visiting player at Arrowhead Stadium.
Williams finished the loss with eight catches for 113 yards and a touchdown.
Justin Herbert briefly gets knocked out of game
Herbert took a big shot in the ribs in the fourth quarter and had to exit the game for a play. Herbert returned but he was visibly bothered by the big hit.
Herbert went 33-of-48 passing for 334 yards, and he had three touchdowns and one interception in the loss.
Chargers coach Brandon Staley said postgame that Herbert was "OK" and didn't expect his injury to be a long-term issue.
"You're not going to see a quarterback in any level of football play tougher, do more for their team and will their team to give them a chance than him. There's nobody that can do what he can do," Staley said of Herbert postgame. "He showed a lot of guts."
Follow USA TODAY Sports' Tyler Dragon on Twitter @TheTylerDragon.