The Kansas City Chiefs had to battle in Week 17, but they held off the Los Angeles Chargers en route to a 24-21 win. The win was key because the Patriots lost to the Dolphins meaning Kansas City secured the No. 2 seed and first round bye.
With these two results, the top five seeds of the AFC playoff picture are now settled. The Ravens locked up the No. 1 seed last week and the Bills were locked into the No. 5 seed as the top wild card team. With these early results, the Chiefs now secure the second first round bye and the Patriots are the No. 3 seed. The Texans kick off shortly and are now locked in as the No. 4 seed.
It was not a pretty game for the Chiefs, but divisional games rarely are. For much of the first three quarters, the teams exchanged the lead. The Chiefs took a 3-0 lead in the first quarter, and then the two teams exchanged touchdowns until KC took a 17-14 lead on a Mecole Hardman kick return for a touchdown.
The Chiefs took a 24-14 lead on an 84-yard rush by Damien Williams, but the Chargers managed a big drive down to the Chiefs 5-yard line. However, they failed to convert a 4th and 2 and turned the ball over on downs.
The game was another solid defensive outing for an improving Chiefs defense. They sacked Philip Rivers twice and forced an interception. Austin Ekeler had an efficient rushing day, but Melvin Gordon was ineffective with the bulk of the carries rushing for under 3.5 yards per carry.
Patrick Mahomes finished the game with 174 yards, which was a season low if we remove the injury-shortened game against Denver. Damien Williams 84-yard run and Mecole Hardman’s 104-yard kickoff return were the keys to the game for an otherwise ineffective Chiefs offense.
The Chiefs will get some key time off to prepare for the divisional round of the 2020 NFL playoffs.