Chiefs vs. Chargers final score: Kansas City ruins Justin Herbert's debut with a 23-20 victory in overtime

NFL: Kansas City Chiefs at Los Angeles Chargers
Robert Hanashiro / USA TODAY Sports

The Kansas City Chiefs and Los Angeles Chargers gave us the best matchup of Week 2, as Patrick Mahomes and Co. defeated the Chargers in overtime, 23-20. Chargers rookie quarterback Justin Herbert was told just moments before the start of the game that he would be registering his first start, but in no way did it faze him. He led Los Angeles on an eight-play, 79-yard drive which ended in a touchdown, and even did enough for the Chargers to enter the halftime break with a 14-6 lead! Unfortunately, the Chiefs are used to orchestrating incredible comebacks, and they scored 17 points in the second half, including overtime, to move to 2-0.

After the Chargers punted off of a three-and-out in overtime, Chiefs kicker Harrison Butker was faced with a 53-yard field goal that would send Kansas City home with a win. After a timeout and a five-yard false start penalty, Butker made the game-winner a total of three times, and his final 58-yard attempt was tried and true -- right down the middle. 

Why the Chiefs won

It would be too simple to say that the Chiefs won because of Mahomes. The truth is that Kansas City won because of Mahomes' legs. The 2018 NFL MVP led the Chiefs in rushing yards with 54 on six carries, and came up clutch running the ball at several points in this contest. Even on the drive which resulted in the game-tying field goal, Mahomes rushed right up the middle for a gain of 21 when the Chiefs were facing a 3rd-and-20 on the Chargers' 45-yard line. It was a play that may have won the game for the Chiefs. This is not the first time the big-armed quarterback made things happen with his legs, as he also used them to defeat the Tennessee Titans in the AFC Championship game last season. He's not Michael Vick, but teams need to start realizing Mahomes is athletic enough to scramble. 

Why the Chargers lost

It is very, very hard to pick one reason why the Chargers lost on Sunday. Herbert performed beyond expectations, Austin Ekeler and Joshua Kelley were great, Keenan Allen and Hunter Henry were a major part of the game plan and the defense held Mahomes at bay as long as they could. If anything, you could say the Chargers failed to match the Chiefs' energy in the second half, as they were outscored 14-6 in the final two quarters. After Herbert led two touchdown drives in the first two quarters, the Chargers did not score a touchdown in the final two stanzas despite having their chances. 

Turning point: The Chargers electing to punt in OT

When the Chargers won the overtime coin toss, it really appeared they had a chance to win this game. Then, Herbert and Co. went three-and-out and decided to punt on 4th-and-1 on their own 34-yard line. When you're playing the reigning Super Bowl champions with the game on the line and just one yard to gain, you should go for it. Needing just a field goal to win in overtime, you had to have known there was a good chance Mahomes was going to lead his team to victory if he got the ball back. The Chargers should have gone for it, and they didn't. Mahomes then led the Chiefs on a 13-play, 39-yard drive which ended with a game-winning field goal. The Chiefs did have to overcome a few third downs and even a fourth down during their game-winning drive, but it still felt like the more-experienced team was in control. 

Play of the game

Sometimes it feels like there are football plays only Mahomes can make. With his big arm and his ability to throw on the run, he has registered his fair share of highlight plays and he added another one to his collection with this 54-yard touchdown to Tyreek Hill.

This play tied the game, and it arguably was the point where everyone realized that the Chiefs were not going to suffer a loss to a rookie quarterback.

What's next

The Chiefs travel to Baltimore for a highly-anticipated showdown against the Ravens while the Chargers stay at SoFi Stadium to take on the Carolina Panthers. 

It was truly a wild matchup. Relive all the action in our live blog below while you're here: 

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SUN 4:25 P
LAC +8.5, o47
LAC 8.5, O/U 47

Season Leaders

passing
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P. Mahomes 1134 YD, 11 TDS
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P. Mahomes 1134 YD, 11 TDS
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J. Herbert 931 YD, 5 TDS, 3 INTS
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J. Herbert 931 YD, 5 TDS, 3 INTS
rushing
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C. Edwards-Helaire 71 ATT, 304 YD, 1 TD
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C. Edwards-Helaire 71 ATT, 304 YD, 1 TD
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A. Ekeler 49 ATT, 248 YD, 1 TD
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A. Ekeler 49 ATT, 248 YD, 1 TD
receiving
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T. Kelce 24 REC, 297 YD, 2 TDS
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T. Kelce 24 REC, 297 YD, 2 TDS
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K. Allen 32 REC, 327 YD, 1 TD
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K. Allen 32 REC, 327 YD, 1 TD
Live updates
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What an incredible game. Check back soon as this piece will be turned into more analysis. The Chargers took the Chiefs to overtime, but they just didn't have enough to dethrone the division champs.

September 20, 2020, 11:48 PM
@Chiefs via Twitter
September 20, 2020, 11:46 PM
@Chiefs via Twitter
September 20, 2020, 11:44 PM

The Chargers absolutely should have gone for it on 4th and 1 in OT. That is the real turning point to me.

September 20, 2020, 11:35 PM
@Chargers via Twitter
September 20, 2020, 11:24 PM

Bend but don't break! Great stand for the Chargers there. I'm not a fan of NFL overtime because this game could come down to who wins the coin toss. Absolutely incredible contest, however.

September 20, 2020, 11:23 PM

I can't imagine more of a backbreaker than allowing Patrick Mahomes to rush for 21 yards on 3rd and 20 with the game on the line. Total breakdown in coverage. Mahomes is now leading the Chiefs in rushing yards!

September 20, 2020, 11:20 PM
@Chiefs via Twitter
September 20, 2020, 11:18 PM

If this comes down to a field goal, remember that the Chargers did block an extra-point attempt earlier today.

September 20, 2020, 11:17 PM

Many are already writing the Chargers off, but LA's defense has been great today. I'm just saying.

Joey Bosa needs to get to the quarterback here.

September 20, 2020, 11:11 PM

This drive has been incredible. But you have to be looking at the clock constantly if you're a Chargers fan. 30 seconds is 30 seconds too much for Mahomes and Co. Then gain, the Chargers D has been great.

September 20, 2020, 11:04 PM
@Chargers via Twitter
September 20, 2020, 10:57 PM

Let's see how Herbert responds to that big play. Could be a turning point when it comes to him starting again this year. I would keep him as the starter, but I'm certainly not Anthony Lynn.

September 20, 2020, 10:54 PM
@Chiefs via Twitter
September 20, 2020, 10:51 PM
@Chiefs via Twitter
September 20, 2020, 10:47 PM

Watkins is concussed. He just got rocked.

September 20, 2020, 10:45 PM
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