The Kansas Metropolis Chiefs noticed their bandwagon empty throughout a midseason swoon, followers leaping ship virtually as rapidly as Kareem Hunt hitting a gap or Tyreek Hill rushing to the tip zone.
They by no means misplaced religion in one another, although.
The Chiefs as a substitute rallied to beat the Oakland Raiders final week, organising a vital AFC West showdown with the Los Angeles Chargers. And in a dominant efficiency paying homage to earlier this season, the Chiefs rolled to a 30-13 victory Saturday night time to grab management of the divisional race.
“It feels good to be again on this place,” stated Chiefs security Ron Parker, who had one of many three interceptions thrown by the Chargers’ Philip Rivers. “We caught it out as a household the final couple weeks, did a very good job of staying collectively. It might have been simple to crumble.”
The one manner the Chiefs can squander the division and automated playoff berth is by shedding their final two video games and the Chargers or Oakland Raiders successful out.
“It felt like a playoff sport,” Parker stated. “That is the closest factor it will get to a playoff sport.”
The Chiefs (Eight-6) acquired manufacturing from their largest stars: Alex Smith threw for 231 yards and two touchdowns, Kareem Hunt ran for 155 yards and accounted for 2 touchdowns, Tyreek Hill hauled in a 64-yard landing move and Marcus Peters had a hand in forcing three turnovers.
All of it added as much as an eighth straight win over the Chargers.
“I did not suppose we performed our greatest. Now we have to take a look at ourselves and ask why,” Chargers coach Anthony Lynn stated. “We missed tackles. We did not execute effectively on offense. We went again to some dumb penalties we had early within the yr. We made this sport larger than it actually was.”
The Chargers (7-7) led 13-10 early within the second half, however Rivers threw three interceptions – two of them to Peters – and Austin Ekeler coughed up a fumble down the stretch.
That ended their four-game win streak and fairly probably their playoff hopes.
Rivers completed with 221 yards passing and a landing, however has thrown 13 interceptions throughout the Chargers’ shedding streak to the Chiefs. Melvin Gordon added 78 yards dashing and a rating.
“We took a step again in the present day,” Lynn stated.
The sport formed up as a matchup of groups stepping into reverse instructions: The Chiefs had been 5-Zero earlier than watching their division lead waste away, whereas the Chargers began out Zero-Four however gained seven of their subsequent 9 to forge a near-winner-take-all divisional showdown at Arrowhead Stadium.
As an alternative, the Chiefs regarded like they did of their Week Three win over the Chargers.
So did the Chargers, for that matter.
The Chiefs’ protection, which performed so salty final week towards Oakland, was buoyed by the return of Peters from a one-game disciplinary suspension in serving to to construct a 10-6 halftime lead.
Rivers finally acquired on monitor, going 5 for five for 88 yards on his first drive of the second half, and his 10-yard landing move to trusty tight finish Antonio Gates gave Los Angeles its solely lead.
One that did not final very lengthy.
The Chiefs answered with a methodical, 69-yard scoring drive of their very own. Hunt provided many of the work, and he capped the drive by catching Smith’s brief TD toss to present the Chiefs a 17-13 lead.
“He is such a well-rounded soccer participant,” Smith stated. “He is so good within the passing sport, has such a very good really feel, which is so essential for a working again.”
Two performs later, Rivers floated a move downfield and Peters leaped as much as make a straightforward interception, and his lengthy return arrange first-and-goal on the Chargers 6. The Chiefs practically turned it into one other TD when Smith discovered Hunt once more, however the tip of the ball hit the turf for an incompletion.
The Chiefs’ problem failed and Harrison Butker knocked by way of a discipline purpose for a 20-13 lead.
The Chargers’ offense, which had dedicated simply six giveaways over the past 9 video games, coughed it up once more three performs later. Peters helped to pry unfastened the ball from Ekeler, and Butker tacked on a 51-yard discipline purpose a short time for a snug cushion.
Rivers threw two extra picks within the fourth quarter, giving him six in two video games towards Kansas Metropolis this season, and ending any hopes of Los Angeles mounting a comeback.
“We positively needed to place stress on Philip. We all know he is a gunslinger,” Chiefs cornerback Darrelle Revis stated. “He does take dangers within the passing sport. We simply occurred to place stress on him within the entrance seven, guys did a terrific job and we got here out with a whole lot of turnovers.”
The Chiefs got here out with a vital victory, too.
STATS AND STREAKS
Chiefs coach Andy Reid is 10-Three towards the Chargers. Smith is 7-1. … The Chiefs additionally gained eight straight towards the Chargers from 1990-93. … Chargers WR Keenan Allen had 58 yards receiving, ending a streak of 4 straight 100-yard video games.
AILING BUT ACTIVE
Chargers CB Casey Hayward was lively regardless of lacking observe with a calf damage this week. That will have contributed to the star cowl man getting burned by Tyreek Hill on his 64-yard first-half TD catch.
Chargers LB Denzel Perryman left with a hamstring damage late within the first half. S Adrian Phillips left with an ankle damage early within the second. DT Corey Liuget (knee) and LT Russell Okung (groin) additionally went down within the second half. … Chiefs LB Kevin Pierre-Louis (shoulder) and DL Jarvis Jenkins (elbow) left with accidents within the third quarter.
Chargers go to the New York Jets subsequent Sunday with fading postseason hopes.
Chiefs attempt to clinch the AFC West towards the Dolphins subsequent Sunday.
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