The Chargers possibly played their final game in San Diego, and it was ugly. The Bolts could not keep up with the red-hot Chiefs on Sunday, losing 37-27 in front of very few fans. Antonio Gates tied the all-time NFL record for touchdown catches by a tight end with 111, and Tyrell Williams surpassed 1000 yards receiving in only his second season. Unfortunately for the bolts, that was really the only good that came from this game.
Almost immediately after the game, the Chargers informed head coach Mike McCoy that he will not return for the 2017 season. He finished his tenure with a 28-38 record while losing an unacceptable 13 of his last 14 divisional games.
The Chargers would move the ball effectively on the first drive but would have to settle for a short Josh Lambo field goal to make it 3-0.
The Chiefs would answer the opening strike with a field goal of their own, but the Chargers would regain the momentum. Newly promoted running back Andre Willams gave the offense a spark in the running game moving the ball down the field setting the stage for a historic score. Rivers found Antonio Gates from 2 yards out, to record 111th touchdown catch tying Tony Gonzalez for most touchdowns in NFL history by a tight end. That score moved the bolts on top 10-3 lead.
Albert Wilson would put Kansas City right back into scoring position, taking a short pass 42 yards all the way down to the Charger 5-yard line. On the next play, Alex Smith would keep it himself on a designed run, to tie the game at 10.
Philip Rivers continued his recent turnover struggles on the next drive, overthrowing Dontrelle Inman and watching the ball sail into the waiting arms of Marcus Peters. This critical mistake would prove to be extremely costly, as the Chiefs would score a touchdown shortly after, to take a 7-point lead.
The Chargers would move the ball back into Kansas City territory, but Philip Rivers made another bad decision. Philip tried to squeeze a pass into Isaiah Burse in the back corner of the end zone only to be picked off again, on a great play by Chiefs safety Daniel Sorenson. This was the 21st interception of the season for Philip Rivers, a new career-high.
The Chiefs took only 1:10 to make it all the way down to the San Diego 7-yard line, before kicking a field goal. Kansas City would go into half time scoring 17-straight points increasing their lead to 20-10, and 10 of those points came off of Chargers turnovers.
The game looked as if it could turn into a blowout early in the second half, as Kansas City quickly moved into scoring position on their first drive. As things were looking bad, someone made a big play. Safety Jahleel Addae jumped in front of the Alex Smith pass and followed his blockers down the field for a 90-yard touchdown.
The celebration was short-lived, however, as the Chiefs would keep coming back. Charcandrick West would finish a 12-play drive with a 2-yard touchdown catch, increasing the Chiefs lead to 27-17.
The Bolts biggest mistake of the next drive was kicking to Tyreek Hill. The Chargers punt team over-pursued, and Hill made them pay, leaving defenders in the dust for a 95-yard punt return touchdown, giving the Chiefs a commanding 17-point lead.
The Chargers would add a field goal, but it cost them almost 6 minutes. Mike McCoy made the questionable decision to attempt an onside kick, but Kansas City was ready for it, recovering the football on the 50-yard line.
The onside kick put the Chiefs right back on the verge of scoring position and they took advantage, killing 5:48 of the clock, and negating the Chargers field goal with one of their own to put the lead back at 17.
With only 4:21 left in the game, Rivers orchestrated a quick scoring drive, finding Hunter Henry wide-open for a 12-yard touchdown. It would be too little, too late.
Josh Lambo tried his second onside kick, and once again the Chiefs would recover sealing the win and a first-round bye in the playoffs.
The defense could not come up with an answer for the Chiefs, and the turnovers and Special teams blunders made it impossible to win. Joey Bosa continued to look like the best defensive rookie in the league, raising his sack total to 10.5 to lead all rookies. He also had the second-most sacks ever by a Chargers rookie and did it in only 12 games.
With Mike McCoy done with the Chargers, they will now immediately start the search for a new head coach, and it might be a tough sell with the franchise in disarray. What they do have is young talent and a franchise quarterback, which you would struggle to find on any team with a head coach vacancy.
San Diego fans are now left to play the waiting game as the Chargers will have to announce their decision on relocation by January 15th. There has not been great news in favor of the Chargers staying, but it’s not over yet. At the very least, in less than two weeks, we will finally have a concrete answer.