Chiefs vs. Chargers score: Justin Herbert throws winning TD with under minute to play to stun Kansas City

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Justin Herbert and the Los Angeles Chargers pulled off one of the biggest shockers of the NFL season, defeating the Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium to make a statement in the AFC West. Justin Herbert's 4-yard touchdown pass to Mike Williams with 32 seconds left gave Los Angeles a stunning 30-24 victory. 

Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs offense had opportunities to win the game in the fourth quarter. In a tied game at 24-24, Mahomes threw an interception with 1:42 left to give Herbert and the Chargers the ball with an opportunity to win the game. Herbert took advantage thanks to a DeAndre Baker pass interference penalty on fourth-and-9 at the Chiefs' 35-yard line to extend the drive. A gutsy fourth-down call by Chargers head coach Brandon Staley paid off, which led to the winning touchdown three plays later. Mahomes heaved the ball into the end zone with no time left, but the Hail Mary pass was short. 

Herbert withstood every punch Mahomes and the Chiefs offense threw, tossing two touchdowns to Williams in the second half to take the lead twice. He finished 26 of 38 for 281 yards and four touchdowns to lead Los Angeles, while Williams led the Chargers with seven catches for 122 yards and two touchdowns. 

The Chiefs rallied from a 14-0 deficit to take a 17-14 lead in the second half. Kansas City had spotted the Chargers the early lead thanks to some costly first-half turnovers. The Chiefs turned the ball over on their first three possessions of the game, all of which were inside the Los Angeles 40-yard line. An interception credited to Mahomes off a drop from Marcus Kemp was the first turnover, followed by a Tyreek Hill fumble, then a Clyde Edwards-Helaire fumble -- his second in two weeks. Dating to last week, the Chiefs turned the ball over on four consecutive possessions -- the first time this has occurred since Mahomes became the starting quarterback. 

Kansas City fell to 9-3 in games where Mahomes trailed by double digits in his career (including the postseason). The Chiefs fell to last place in the AFC West at 1-2 while Los Angeles improved to 2-1. 

Check out all our takeaways from this game below.

Why the Chargers won

Los Angeles was able to take advantage of the Chiefs' turnovers, scoring 21 points off them in the victory. Even when Kansas City rallied back with 17 unanswered points, the Chargers withstood the punches to take the lead -- not once, but twice in the second half. 

Herbert gave the Chargers the lead in the fourth quarter on a 20-yard pass to Mike Williams, then led Los Angeles to the tying field goal with 2:14 to play, followed by the winning touchdown pass to Williams in the final minute that gave the Chargers the lead for good. 

With four touchdown passes, Herbert out-dueled Mahomes on the road -- ending a seven-game home win streak for the Chiefs quarterback. That isn't easy to achieve. 

Why the Chiefs lost

Four turnovers were the culprit for Kansas City. Finishing minus-4 in the takeaway/giveaway department is not a formula for success, especially with all the miscues early on. Fumbles by Tyreek Hill and Clyde Edwards-Helaire led to 14 points in the first half for the Chargers -- and Mahomes' interception late led to the winning touchdown for Los Angeles in the final minute. 

The Chiefs punted once the entire game and were into Chargers territory on eight of their 10 possessions. Their first three drives went inside the Chargers' 40-yard line, yet they had three turnovers and came away with zero points. Miscues cost Kansas City in a crucial AFC West game, enough not even Mahomes and company couldn't overcome. 

Turning point

Easy to point to Mahomes' interception with the game tied at 24-24 with under two minutes left, but an aggressive call by Chargers head coach Brandon Staley was the difference. The Chargers faced a fourth-and-9 at the Chiefs' 35 as a 52-yard field goal was in sight for the lead with 48 seconds left. Facing the wind, Staley decided to go for it -- even if it gave the Chiefs great field position in a tie game. 

Herbert's pass intended for Jalen Guyton was incomplete, but a flag was thrown on DeAndre Baker for pass interference. That penalty extended the drive -- and Herbert found the end zone on the 4-yard touchdown to Williams two plays later to give Los Angeles the lead. 

Staley's aggressiveness paid off, but he did catch a break with the pass interference call. 

Play of the game

There were a lot of crucial plays in this one, but Herbert's 4-yard touchdown pass to Mike Williams to win the game is the play here. With just under 40 seconds left, Los Angeles could have ran the ball and burned Kansas City's last time out. Instead Brandon Staley had other plans, going with the gutsy decision to throw on first-and-goal and go for the go-ahead touchdown.

Herbert found Williams on a jump ball to give Los Angeles a 30-24 lead with 32 seconds to play -- the second touchdown of the day for Williams. Staley made a lot of aggressive play calls in this game, but this was his best. 

The Chargers are 2-1 as a result.

The quote

"I think we'll be ready for the challenge. The bright spot is we've got a long season to go." -- Patrick Mahomes in the Chiefs post-game press conference after their 1-2 start. 

The Chiefs are under .500 for the first time since 2015 and sit last place in the AFC West. Despite the surprising start, their losses are by a combined seven points and all came down to the final possession. 

Up next 

The Chargers will host the Raiders on "Monday Night Football" while the Chiefs head to Philadelphia to face the Eagles. 

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Season Leaders

passing
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J. Herbert 3230 YD, 24 TDS, 10 INTS
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J. Herbert 3230 YD, 24 TDS, 10 INTS
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P. Mahomes 3200 YD, 25 TDS, 11 INTS
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P. Mahomes 3200 YD, 25 TDS, 11 INTS
rushing
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A. Ekeler 135 ATT, 604 YD, 7 TDS
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A. Ekeler 135 ATT, 604 YD, 7 TDS
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C. Edwards-Helaire 77 ATT, 367 YD, 1 TD
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C. Edwards-Helaire 77 ATT, 367 YD, 1 TD
receiving
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K. Allen 81 REC, 895 YD, 2 TDS
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K. Allen 81 REC, 895 YD, 2 TDS
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T. Hill 84 REC, 932 YD, 8 TDS
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T. Hill 84 REC, 932 YD, 8 TDS
Live updates
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@Chargers via Twitter
September 26, 2021, 8:34 PM
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Unbelievable finish. the Chargers roll into arrowhead and BEAT the Chiefs. Kansas City falls to 1-2 while Los Angeles goes to 2-1. We'll have takeaways coming in a bit in this one. Heck of a game. 

September 26, 2021, 8:19 PM
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No flag on Hill? The Chiefs WR may have pushed off too. 

September 26, 2021, 8:07 PM
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A missed extra point and Patrick Mahomes has 32 seconds left -- and a timeout -- to pull off a miracle. 

30-24 Chargers. 32 seconds left. 

September 26, 2021, 8:04 PM
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Baker gets the penalty on the 4th-and-9 incomplete pass. Williams for 16 yards on the next play. The Chargers have a chip shot FG to win it. 

September 26, 2021, 8:02 PM
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Have to go for this now. Whatever happens happens. Playing to win the game. 

September 26, 2021, 8:01 PM
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Penalties are killing this team. A false start takes the FG away! 

September 26, 2021, 8:00 PM
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The Chargers call timeout. Here's a 4th-and-4 at the Chiefs 30 into the wind. That's a 48-yard FG. I don't know what I'd do if I was Brandon Staley. I guess go for it. 

September 26, 2021, 7:59 PM
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Mahomes threw an interception and now the Chargers have the ball! Arrowhead is dead silent! 

September 26, 2021, 7:54 PM
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Mahomes has the ball at the Chiefs 27. 2 minutes to go. 

September 26, 2021, 7:52 PM
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Chargers have to kick after the illegal shift penalty pins them back. These penalties took away a TD last week that had L.A. beating Dallas. Tied 24-24 with Mahomes getting the ball. 

September 26, 2021, 7:47 PM
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A PASS INTERFERENCE ON SNEED! Chargers get a 1st-and-goal at the 1. The appeal won't work. 

September 26, 2021, 7:43 PM
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Biggest play of the game coming. 3rd-and-goal from the 4. 

September 26, 2021, 7:43 PM
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The Chargers are already at the Chiefs 6. A false start pushes them back to the 11. 

September 26, 2021, 7:41 PM
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It's Herbert's turn now. Of course he goes to Mike Williams right away for the first down.

Two of the game's best in a shootout. 

September 26, 2021, 7:40 PM
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