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Two and a half months ago, the Kansas City Chiefs lost to the Los Angeles Chargers, and nothing was OK.
Things have changed.
In a rematch that lived up to the hype, the streaking Chiefs topped the Chargers 34-28 in an overtime thriller for Kansas City's seventh straight win. All-Pro tight end Travis Kelce notched a career-high 191 receiving yards, plus the game-winner:
Patrick Mahomes finished the game 31-of-47 for 410 yards, three touchdowns and an interception, with Tyreek Hill also adding 148 receiving yards and a touchdown.
The win improves Kansas City to an AFC-best 10-4, denying the Chargers a chance to share the division lead in the AFC West.
Failed fourth-down attempts abound early
The drama started early, with L.A.'s Andre Roberts returning the opening kickoff 75 yards to set up a short field. The Chargers proceeded to Kansas City's 5-yard line, but had three Justin Herbert passes fall incomplete.
Rather than take the field goal, Staley went for the touchdown and saw Herbert's pass drop incomplete again, this time accompanied by a horrifying injury to tight end Donald Parham. The Chiefs responded with a touchdown drive, then add a field goal after a Herbert interception for a 10-0 lead.
Momentum went back to the Chargers as they posted two straight touchdowns for a 14-10 lead, then got the ball back on a Joey Bosa strip sack. Once again, the team got inside the Chiefs' 5-yard line and, once again, fell short on a fourth-down attempt.
Two more fourth-down attempts would fall short on two of the next three drives, with the Chiefs getting in on the action and watching a Mahomes pass fall comically short for a turnover on downs.
At that point, the Chargers and Chiefs had posted the most failed fourth-down conversions in a single game in the NFL this season, with three of them coming inside their opponent's 5-yard line.
A trade of turnovers on the next two drives gave the Chargers the ball at the Chiefs' 2-yard line, and they thankfully didn't need another fourth-down attempt. Austin Ekeler punched the ball in, giving them a 21-13 lead.
All of those mistakes loomed large for the Chargers in a game that was tied at regulation, but Staley's famed fourth-down aggression at least paid off with two conversions that extended long drives.
Mahomes and Herbert took over
The Chiefs tied it at 21 on the next drive thanks to a vintage performance from Mahomes, plus a 69-yard catch and run by Travis Kelce. Mahomes capped the drive with a scramble and running toss to Clyde Edwards-Helaire for a successful two-point conversion.
The Chargers took the lead back on a similarly impressive drive from Herbert, who hit Keenan Allen with a fastball for a touchdown.
— Los Angeles Chargers (@chargers) December 17, 2021
The score left more than enough time on the clock for Mahomes to grab the lead back, hitting Kelce for a game-tying touchdown, and a pair of failed game-winning drives sent the game to overtime.