With an electrifying punt return to start off his day, Tyreek Hill was just getting started on a magnificent performance against the Los Angeles Chargers. Hill began with the 91 yard return for a touchdown, then caught a slant that he took 58 yards to the house, before completing the trifecta with a 2 yard shovel pass. After his third touchdown of the day, Hill gave his best Ozzie Smith impression with a celebratory backflip in the end zone.
Hill and the rest of the Chiefs would have a lot to celebrate, as they began the season with a 38- 28 victory. The Chiefs’ new starting quarterback, Patrick Mahomes, would have a stellar game,
going 15 for 27 with 256 yards and 4 touchdowns. This is the second consecutive season opener where the Chiefs’ starting quarterback had 4 touchdowns, as Alex Smith did so last season in the Thursday night trashing of the Patriots. The opposing quarterback, Philip Rivers,
spoke glowingly of Mahomes, saying that he “would like to borrow his arm sometime”.
The Chiefs’ offense flourished, despite a lack of production from Kareem Hunt, Travis Kelce and
Sammy Watkins. Hunt carried the ball 16 times for 49 yards, while Kelce and Watkins combined
for 4 catches and 27 yards on 11 targets.
Spencer Ware made his return after missing all of last season with a torn PCL. Ware had 3
carries for 32 yards, including a 27 yard rush where seemingly no Chargers could tackle him.
The Chiefs’ elite safety Eric Berry was out, still recovering from the Achilles tear he suffered last
season. His absence showed, as Philip Rivers threw for 424 yards and 3 touchdowns. The
worrying part for the Chiefs’ defense is that it still could have been much worse. Chargers’
receivers dropped 5 passes throughout the game, with 4 coming in the first half. Two of those
drops would have easily been touchdowns, had they been caught. With the Steelers looming
next week, the Chiefs’ secondary is going to have to improve immensely if they plan to keep
Antonio Brown from tearing them apart.
Two members of the secondary did have a nice game. Kendall Fuller, who was acquired in the
off-season in the Alex Smith trade, played well, only beaten once on a route by Keenan Allen.
The play was subsequently called back due to Allen stepping out of bounds then returning
inbounds to make the catch. Ron Parker also had a great performance, picking off Philip Rivers
in the 3rd quarter and nearly picking him off again in the 4th. Parker returned to the Chiefs four
days prior to this game, following a brief preseason stint on the Atlanta Falcons.
Elsewhere in the AFC West, the Broncos defeated the Seahawks 27-24 in Case Keenum’s
Bronco debut. The Raiders were defeated by the Rams on Monday Night Football, by a score of
33-13. And in semi-Chiefs related news, Alex Smith made his Redskins debut, going 21 for 30
with 255 yards and 2 touchdowns in a victorious effort against the Cardinals.
As it stands, the Chiefs and Broncos are tied for first in the West. Next Sunday, the Chiefs play
the Steelers at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh at noon, in what is sure to be a high scoring game.
Despite the Steelers tying with Cleveland, expect them to give the Chiefs a fight as they have seemed to be KC’s kryptonite in the past few years. But with a new quarterback in Mahomes,
the Chiefs may finally be able to break the spell.