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Week 11 Game Recap: Kansas City Chiefs 24, Los Angeles Chargers 17


What you need to know

Kansas City Chiefs

The Kansas City Chiefs beat the LA Chargers 24-17 to improve their record to 7-4 on the season. Patrick Mahomes completed 19 of 32 passes for 182 yards with one touchdown and one interception. Mahomes also rushed five times for 59 yards. Damien Williams rushed four times for seven yards, LeSean McCoy rushed seven times for 29 yards and a touchdown, and Darrel Williams rushed 11 times for 35 yards and a touchdown. Tyreek Hill was held to zero catches on two targets before leaving the game with a hamstring injury, while Sammy Watkins caught two passes for 26 yards. Mecole Hardman caught two passes for 13 yards. Tight end Travis Kelce led the Chiefs with seven receptions for 92 yards and a touchdown.

Los Angeles Chargers

Philip Rivers continues to make poor decisions while being constantly harassed by the opponents' pass rush. Despite a fair amount of early success, he threw four more interceptions in this game including a back-breaker on the game's final drive with the Chargers just 14 yards away from possibly tying the game.

Austin Ekeler was unstoppable in the passing game, and both he and Melvin Gordon were extremely effective on the ground as well. The Chargers lost this game because of turnovers and costly penalties, not because the offense or defense struggled in any way.

Keenan Allen tied Austin Ekeler for the team lead in targets and did manage to find the end zone, but he continues to do an inordinate amount of work close to the line of scrimmage. Thirty of his 71 yards came on one play, meaning that his other seven receptions went for just 41 yards. Owners won't complain about his stat line, but he just hasn't had those deep gains like we saw from him a year ago or even earlier this season.

Kansas City Chiefs

QB Patrick Mahomes, 68 offensive snaps, Pass: 19 - 32 - 182 - 1 TD / 1 INT, Rush: 5 - 59 - 0
Patrick Mahomes completed 19 of 32 passes for 182 yards with one touchdown and one interception in the Chiefs win over the Chargers on Monday. Mahomes also rushed five times for 59 yards, leading the Chiefs in rushing yards on the evening. The rushing total was a career high for Mahomes, and this speaks volumes about Mahomes ability to impact a game because it came on a night when he had his career low with respect to passing yards. Mahomes could not get much going on a night where he lost Tyreek Hill early in the game with a hamstring injury. The Chargers were dropping into coverage and forcing the Chiefs to beat them on the ground, but in doing so they lost track of Mahomes ability to scramble. This directly influenced the game as Mahomes was able to run for critical first downs on third and two (20 yard run) and third and seven (24 yard run). Both of these plays highlighted the fact that the Chargers were willing to let the Chiefs beat them on the ground, as they had dropped so many men into coverage that once Mahomes got outside the pocket he didn’t hit his first defender until nearly 20 yards downfield. Mahomes only touchdown pass of the night came with the Chiefs facing a first and ten from the Chargers 23 yard line. Mahomes took the snap out of the shotgun and while dropping back, was hit with a Chargers pass rush from both sides. Mahomes continued to fade back, giving himself time to throw the ball downfield. Mahomes made a very accurate throw to Kelce, who was running an outside post from the left side of the formation. The ball was exactly where it needed to be, out in front of Kelce and out of range of the two Chargers defenders that had let Kelce get to the perfect spot in between them. Kelce made a fantastic toe tapping catch in the end zone, and this touchdown proved to be the difference in the game.

RB Darrel Williams, 29 offensive snaps, Rush: 11 - 35 - 1, Rec: 2 - 8 - 0 (3 targets)
Darrel Williams rushed 11 times for 35 yards and a touchdown, while also catching two passes for eight yards on three targets. Williams saw all of his work in the fourth quarter after Damien Williams and McCoy were both forced to leave the game with injuries. Williams doesn’t have the dynamic skillset of McCoy, or the overall ability of Damien Williams, but he is a consummate pro and a player that Andy Reid trusts and depends on. In many ways he reminds me of Jamaal Williams (Packers), as he is not going to come in and make plays all on his own. However, if you put him in the right position with playmakers around him, he will take advantage of the opportunities he is given. With the Chiefs facing a second and two from the Chargers six yard line, Mahomes took the snap under center and handed the ball off to Williams on a play that resembled the off-tackle-right play that McCoy scored on earlier in the game. This time though, the Chargers sealed off the right edge and forced Williams back to the middle of the field. Williams stopped with a jump cut back to the left and patiently found a hole in the middle of the line to squeeze through. He then put his head down and ran over a Chargers defender at the goal line for the six yard touchdown. Williams is really good in the red zone, as his patient running style and vision give him an advantage when the Chiefs spread out the defense in the short field. The Chiefs do not play again until week 13, so it will be interesting to see how McCoy and Damien Williams fare with their injuries. If Williams is the lone healthy back for the Chiefs, he becomes the most important free agent pickup of the season.

RB LeSean McCoy, 27 offensive snaps, Rush: 7 - 29 - 1, Rec: 4 - 28 - 0 (6 targets)
LeSean McCoy rushed seven times for 29 yards and one touchdown, while also catching four passes for 28 yards on six targets. A week after being a healthy scratch, McCoy was playing well while sharing time with Damien Williams. In the first half, McCoy scored the lone Chiefs touchdown, and looked very good with respect to his speed and quickness. Unfortunately for McCoy, he had to leave the game in the second half with a suspected concussion, which led the way for Darrel Williams to come in and have the Chiefs backfield all to himself. McCoy’s touchdown run came with the Chiefs facing a first and goal from the Chargers six yard line. Mahomes took the snap under center and handed off the ball to McCoy on an off-tackle right play. McCoy took his time and waited for his blockers, allowing them enough time to open a hole which he easily broke through for a six yard touchdown. While McCoy looked very fresh in this game, he did have another fumble, which came on the play where he was concussed. Luckily for McCoy, the fumble in the red zone was recovered by the Chiefs. Still, it is unnerving that McCoy fumbled again, especially at a time when he was going to see the majority of the touches with Williams injured. McCoy will have two weeks to clear the concussion protocol before the Chiefs next game in week 13.

RB Damien Williams, 12 offensive snaps, Rush: 4 - 7 - 0, Rec: 1 - 6 - 0 (1 targets)
Damien Williams rushed four times for seven yards and had one catch for six yards before leaving the game with a rib injury just before halftime. His injury status has not been updated yet but look for more news on Wednesday regarding this injury.

WR Sammy Watkins, 56 offensive snaps, Rec: 2 - 26 - 0 (3 targets)
Sammy Watkins caught two passes for 26 yards on three targets in the Chiefs win over the Chargers on Monday night. Even with Hill leaving the game early in the first half, Watkins did not see the targets that you would expect as the #1 receiver in the Chiefs offense. Outside of week one, Watkins does not have a touchdown or game with more than 65 receiving yards, a puzzling stat considering his quarterback as well as the talent surrounding him. If Hill were to miss time, Watkins becomes an auto-play, yet barring that, Watkins can only be depended on for his rather mediocre floor.

WR Mecole Hardman, 52 offensive snaps, Rec: 2 - 13 - 0 (4 targets)
Mecole Hardman caught two passes for 13 yards on four targets in the Chiefs win over the Chargers on Monday. Hardman doesn’t have a ton of value in the Chiefs offense when everyone is healthy, however with the top two running backs injured, and Hill leaving this game with an injury, Hardman may have stumbled into a great position during the stretch run of the regular season. Hardman was contained in this game, partly because the Chiefs could not get much going in the passing game, and partly because the Chargers were not going to let the Chiefs beat them down the field. It would have been the perfect game to unleash Hardman on some end-around’s, reverses or receiver screens, but Reid did not go in that direction. This isn’t a great sign for Hardman, but pay attention to the injury report before the Chiefs week 13 game against the Raiders. Hardman makes for an interesting play if Hill, Williams and McCoy were to miss time.

TE Travis Kelce, 65 offensive snaps, Rec: 7 - 92 - 1 (10 targets)
Travis Kelce caught seven passes on 10 targets for 92 yards and a touchdown in the Chiefs win over the Chargers on Monday. Kelce was the extent of the Chiefs passing game, leading the team in receptions, yards, touchdowns and targets, while being responsible for more than half of Mahomes passing yards on the night. The Chargers chose to drop their defenders into coverage in an effort to minimize the big play potential of the Chiefs pass catchers, and for the most part they did just that. With that said, Kelce made them pay for in the intermediate passing game, and when he lined up outside, the Chargers guessed that he would be breaking towards the middle of the field. They guessed wrong on Kelce’s touchdown catch. With the Chiefs facing a first and ten from the Chargers 23 yard line. Mahomes took the snap out of the shotgun and while dropping back, was hit with a Chargers pass rush from both sides. Mahomes continued to fade back, giving himself time to throw the ball downfield. Mahomes delivered a great throw to Kelce, who was running his post-route to the front left corner of the end zone. The ball was dropped directly in front of Kelce, but was close enough to the sideline that Kelce had to make a fantastic catch by outstretching his arms and then tapping both feet before his momentum carried him out of bounds. It was a play that not many tight ends in the league can make, as Kelce had to be fast enough to beat the Chargers zone defense, with great hands to make the catch, and the athleticism to get his feet down before he went out of bounds. On a night where the Chiefs desperately needed a win, they turned to Kelce after Hill went down with an injury, and their star tight end did not disappoint. He continues to be far and away the best fantasy tight end in the league.


Los Angeles Chargers

QB Philip Rivers, 80 offensive snaps, Pass: 28 - 52 - 353 - 1 TD / 4 INT
It was a very bizarre game for Rivers, a game that kind of mirrors how the season has gone to this point for Los Angeles. Rivers threw 52 passes in the game, most of which were very crisp and on-target. At times, he picked apart the defense with chunks of yards at a time and looked very efficient in doing so. The problem is, the passes that were NOT crisp and on-target were so incredibly bad, that they were game-changing mistakes. He utilized the short passing game for most of the first half, finding Austin Ekeler on swing passes and screens for huge gains at a time. He leaned on Hunter Henry along the sidelines. And he repeatedly found Keenan Allen over the middle. But on one pass, his arm was hit as he threw it and the ball popped right into the hands of a waiting defender. Late in the first half, Rivers made what looked to be a very foolish decision on an attempt to Allen. It appeared he simply didn't see the defender, who stepped right into the passing lane and nearly returned it for a touchdown. Early in the second half, he again had his arm hit as he threw. This time, a defender was camped out under it for what should have been the easy interception, but the ball simply slipped through his fingertips. The Chargers capitalized, as Rivers later found Keenan Allen with a bullet pass for the short score. He then found a wide open Hunter Henry for the two point conversion to bring the Chargers within seven points. In the fourth quarter, the Los Angeles defense held strong multiple times, giving Rivers four separate drives with a chance to move the ball downfield for the tie or win (they trailed by seven at the time). The first two drives were four and out followed by three and out, and the last two drives both ended with interceptions. The first interception was a bad decision and a forced pass down the seam into triple coverage to Andre Patton. That represented the first time in his career that Rivers had ever thrown six interceptions over a two-game span. After the Charger defense held, Rivers got the ball back at his own 9-yard line with no timeouts left and under two minutes left to play. Rivers threw an absolutely perfect pass down the sideline to a diving Mike Williams, who was ruled to have gotten out of bounds to stop the clock. That enabled the Chargers to regroup the offense and try and move towards the end zone. They got as close as the Kansas City 14-yard line. On a second down pass play with :24 left to play, Rivers flipped a fade pass to the end zone for Austin Ekeler. The defender read it the whole way, stepping in front of the undersized receiver for the interception to end the game (and perhaps the season for Los Angeles). Poor offensive line play was certainly to blame for a lot of Rivers' mistakes, since he is so often under duress and forcing passes is something that tends to happen with pressure all around. But there have been some whispers that Rivers may actually be benched relatively soon in favor of Tyrod Taylor, since his athleticism may enable him to avoid some of the pressure that Rivers simply cannot elude. The Chargers will go into the bye week with a lot of questions, including the one position that has had zero question marks since Rivers took over in 2006.

RB Melvin Gordon, 42 offensive snaps, Rush: 14 - 69 - 0, Rec: 3 - 21 - 0 (5 targets)
Gordon's evening started off strong, with big chunk gains throughout most of the first half. The Kansas City defense was getting carved up by Gordon, who was running over, around, and through them almost at will. After scuffling a bit in his first few games back, Gordon definitely looks fully back to his old self. The offensive line opened up some nice holes for him, including excellent downfield blocking. But even without that, his own athleticism enabled him to slash through the defense and continuously power ahead for extra yardage after contact. But after halftime, the Chargers took to the air a lot more with very little success for the most part. About the biggest contribution Gordon made in the offense after halftime was an easy drop in the flat that could have gone for nice yardage. But he tried turning upfield before fully securing the ball, as it went for a drop.

RB Austin Ekeler, 46 offensive snaps, Rush: 5 - 24 - 0, Rec: 8 - 108 - 0 (12 targets)
Ekeler was very efficient in both the running and the passing game (though it should be noted that 18 of his 24 rushing yards came on one play, so his other four carries went for just six yards). That one long run resulted in taking it down nearly to the goal line early in the second quarter, a drive that resulted in a field goal. But it was the passing game where Ekeler certainly did the majority of his damage. His first reception was a swing pass where he was hit perfectly in stride. Rivers fired it out to him up the right side, and Ekeler did the rest darting 37 yards up the sideline for the huge early gain. Ekeler then saw a look from the 5-yard line on a crossing route, but the defender knocked it away at the last second. Even if it had been caught, the play wasn't really going anywhere. Ekeler had two more chunk plays late in the half, for 16 and 18 yards as he continued to be the go-to guy in the passing game for Rivers. In the second half, Ekeler was seen briefly getting looked at by the training staff, but he came back in a few plays later. Ekeler was targeted deep down the seam and while the pass fell incomplete, Ekeler did draw the long pass interference penalty when his arm was grabbed with the ball in the air. Curiously, Ekeler was also the target on the final play of the game. With the Chargers deep in Kansas City territory and driving for the potentially game-tying or game-winning score, Ekeler was targeted on a fade pattern in the end zone. The diminutive Ekeler was beaten to the ball by the much taller defender, which sealed the victory for Kansas City.

WR Keenan Allen, 71 offensive snaps, Rec: 8 - 71 - 1 (12 targets)
Allen was targeted twice on the opening drive, both for minimal yardage. The second one was from the 10-yard line, but never had a chance to get into the end zone. Soon after, he picked up 30 on an in and out move when the defender bit hard on the inside cut. He took off up the left side for big yardage after the catch. Rivers again looked Allen's way at the 3-yard line, but Allen was drilled upon getting the ball in his hands and it was jarred loose. Even if he had held on, he would have been down at the 3 and not in the end zone. He was helped off the field with the help of the training staff after the hard hit. He did eventually return and was actually targeted on a deep ball in the end zone. He was essentially triple-covered on the play and still almost came down with the pass, but it fell incomplete. In the second half, he made a terrific diving grab stretching out to pick up a much-needed first down late in the third quarter. He capped that drive by snagging a bullet pass in a tight space and then lunging into the end zone. Hunter Henry followed with a two point conversion that cut the deficit to seven points, but the Chargers wouldn't get any closer than that.

WR Mike Williams, 74 offensive snaps, Rec: 2 - 76 - 0 (5 targets)
Williams may not have seen a great deal of targets, but he made them count. He went up high on a deep ball down the sideline and looked like he had the ball in his hands as he was being dragged down, but it popped out just as he hit the ground. He made up for that on the ensuing drive to pick up 26 yards on a deep shot over the middle. He went high over the defender to snatch the pass at its highest point to come down with it. In the second half, he drew a 25-yard pass interference penalty on a fade pattern down the sideline. But he saved his best for last on the team's final desperation drive. With the Chargers backed up on their own side of the field and no timeouts remaining, Williams made one of the best plays of the year in hauling in a 50-yard bomb down the sideline. He was ruled to have gotten out of bounds to stop the clock, which enabled the team to settle in and get the ball into scoring position. Unfortunately for the Chargers, the drive stalled there as Williams wasn't targeted again with the team in the red zone.

TE Hunter Henry, 61 offensive snaps, Rec: 6 - 69 - 0 (9 targets)
Henry snagged a 16-yard floater on the first offensive play of the game. He tripped just as he hauled it in, otherwise it could have gone for 25+ yards easily. He picked up a strong grab over the middle later in the first half, showing excellent strength to hang on despite a defender all over him. Following the Keenan Allen touchdown in the second half, Henry got wide open along the back of the end zone for an easy two point conversion. Henry capped his evening with an awesome leaping grab along the sideline late. He showed full extension with the leaping/diving catch to turn in yet another solid fantasy performance since returning from injury.

TE Virgil Green, 24 offensive snaps, Rec: 1 - 8 - 0 (1 targets)
Green caught just one short pass, an 8-yard gain over the middle that came on a blitz pickup that left him wide open. He was otherwise uninvolved in the gameplan.