Travis Kelce had accomplished this in opposition to the Chargers earlier than.
However by no means in opposition to Derwin James Jr. — till Sunday night time.
The Kansas Metropolis tight finish beat James on a drag route for a 17-yard landing with 31 seconds remaining, lifting the Chiefs to a 30-27 victory at SoFi Stadium.
“It was just a tough situation,” James stated. “He made a play.”
Kelce scored a landing late in regulation after which once more early in extra time in Week 15 final 12 months on this similar venue as Kansas Metropolis triumphed in a equally dramatic method.
That night time, James had been injured early within the recreation and was not obtainable to defend Kelce.
On Sunday, the 2 had been matched up all through the Chiefs’ game-winning drive. Kansas Metropolis moved 75 yards in six performs, together with an 18-yard go (to Marquez Valdes-Scantling) and a 16-yard scramble by Patrick Mahomes.
James additionally was referred to as for holding Kelce on one play, the Chiefs changing on third and 4.
On the ultimate play, James bought caught up in the course of the sector whereas chasing Kelce by one other crossing large receiver, Justin Watson.
“They ran a good play, executed it …” James stated. “The dude kind of got in my way, but I gotta make that play.”
Getting into Sunday, James and Kelce had shared the sector six occasions. When paired in protection, Kelce had solely 5 receptions on six targets for 32 yards and no touchdowns, in line with Professional Soccer Focus.
The landing was Kelce’s third of the sport. He completed with six catches for 115 yards.
The ultimate scoring play additionally marked a little bit of revenge for the veteran tight finish. When these groups performed at Arrowhead Stadium in September, James tackled Kelce as soon as by selecting him up and physique slamming him in a spotlight that has been proven repeatedly since.
“They made a few plays,” Chargers coach Brandon Staley of the Chiefs on their closing possession. “They were contested the whole series. We just didn’t rush or cover well enough to finish it.”
Kansas Metropolis went these 75 yards Sunday in 1 minute 15 seconds, spoiling what seemed briefly like one other fourth-quarter comeback victory for Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert.
The Chargers went 64 yards in 10 performs to take a 27-23 lead with 1:46 remaining. The large play was a Herbert completion to Keenan Allen for 46 yards to transform on third and 18.
Allen returned to the lineup after being restricted to 45 snaps all season due to a hamstring concern. He completed with 5 receptions for 94 yards, his huge catch late making up for a fumble he misplaced on the Chargers’ earlier possession.
“I felt like I owed them,” Allen stated of his teammates. “Fumble in the fourth quarter against a team like that, it can go down way harder than it did.”
Herbert completed the collection by hitting Joshua Palmer for a six-yard landing, Palmer’s second of the sport. He ended up with eight receptions for 106 yards.
Together with Allen returning, the Chargers additionally welcomed again large receiver Mike Williams — however solely briefly.
Williams had missed the earlier two video games due to a excessive ankle sprain. He tweaked the identical ankle on his solely reception, a 15-yarder within the first quarter. Williams left the sport and didn’t return.
After the Chargers opened a 20-13 halftime lead, the Chiefs closed to inside 20-16 on Harrison Butker’s 30-yard discipline purpose, the one factors of the third quarter.
The Chargers (5-5) amassed 240 yards of whole offense within the first two quarters however managed solely 23 yards and one first down on eight performs within the third quarter.
Kansas Metropolis (8-2) seized on its protection’s efficiency by scoring on the opening play of the fourth quarter to take a 23-20 lead.
The Chiefs went 86 yards in 10 performs, with Mahomes hitting Kelce for a 32-yard catch-and-run for the landing.
The drive included Kansas Metropolis changing on third and 17 and third and 7 earlier than Kelce’s rating got here on third and 4.
Kelce beat cornerback Asante Samuel Jr. on the route and eluded the tackling try of security Nasir Adderley en path to the top zone.
Along with his receiving corps again intact, Herbert opened the sport explosively with a 50-yard landing toss on his crew’s first collection.
He faked a handoff to Austin Ekeler, dropped to the far hash and unleashed the ball 55 yards within the air to Palmer, who made the reception simply inside Kansas Metropolis’s five-yard line earlier than lunging into the top zone.
The play marked Herbert’s longest landing go since Week 14 of final 12 months when he related with Jaylen Guyton for a 59-yarder in opposition to the New York Giants. Palmer’s longest profession landing catch earlier than the play had been 24 yards.
Herbert completed 23 for 30 for 280 yards and two touchdowns. His closing, desperation go of the night time was intercepted by Kansas Metropolis’s Nick Bolton off a deflection to seal the sport.
The Chargers’ destiny, although, was largely decided by Kansas Metropolis’s two largest stars.
“They always find a way to win the game,” Allen stated. “Travis Kelce. Pat Mahomes. They’re magicians. They always find a way.”