‘Thursday Night Football’s’ Hits and Misses as Week 2 of the NFL Gets Underway

Posted on: September 16, 2022, 07:26h. 

Last updated on: September 16, 2022, 03:51h.

The Thursday Night Football duel between two of the best quarterbacks in the NFL, Patrick Mahomes of the Kansas City Chiefs and Justin Herbert of the L.A. Chargers, didn’t disappoint. In an AFC West fight for first place, fans and sports bettors got their money’s worth.

NFL Week 2 Chiefs vs Chargers
George Karlaftis of the Kansas City Chiefs gets in front of L.A. Chargers QB Justin Herbert in a Week 2 matchup. The final score wasn’t what sports bettors hoped for. (Image: Kansas City Star)

The Chargers took a 3-0 lead in the first quarter. In their first two offensive drives, the Chiefs leaned on their ground attack to try to put points on the scoreboard. Both attempts failed. Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes, harassed by constant pressure, suffered a sack from Chargers linebacker Khalil Mack that deflated the team’s energy.

A seventh-round rookie made the biggest play Thursday night, putting Kansas City ahead for good in the fourth quarter.

Having trailed throughout the game, the Chiefs (2-0) took the lead thanks to cornerback Jaylen Watson, who intercepted a pass from Herbert on the 1-yard line, running it back 99 yards to score his first career touchdown. From there, the Chiefs wouldn’t let go.

Defense Saves the Day

The Chargers were having a great day on offense and defense. In the second quarter, Herbert connected in the end zone with running back Zander Horvath, a rookie drafted in the seventh round of this year’s draft, to extend the lead 10-0.

A series later, the Chiefs offense finally found its place. It marched 70 yards in 10 plays before Mahomes’ touchdown pass to Jerick McKinnon. That made the game 10-7 before halftime.

After the break, the Chargers continued to dominate. Herbert hurt Kansas City’s deep defense with receiver Mike Williams, who made a spectacular one-handed catch in the end zone that extended the lead to 17-7.

The Chiefs managed to close that gap in the third quarter. Mahomes, who completed 24 of 35 passes for 235 yards, picked up his second aerial TD when he connected with wide receiver Justin Watson. That moved the Chiefs within three as the third quarter ended.

On the first play of the fourth period, Chiefs kicker Matt Ammendola tied the game 17-17 with a field goal. He recently moved up from the practice squad to replace injured starter Harrison Butker.

Chargers Run Out of Juice

With five minutes remaining, Chiefs defensive end Mike Danna penetrated the line and dropped Herbert with a devastating hit. It was a blow that anyone watching the game could feel.

Danna’s hit, while powerful, wasn’t the worst part. He went down under Herbert, who then planted his rib cage on the defender’s helmet. The QB was slow to get up and wouldn’t be the same for the rest of the game.

Despite that, Herbert, with a total of 334 yards in the air and three touchdowns, showed why he’s one of the best athletes in the league. It was obvious by his reactions on the field that he was playing in pain. But he got his third touchdown pass one minute from the end. That was enough to push the Chargers to within three of the Chiefs. But the offense would go no further.

Watson shut L.A. down for good with 10 minutes left in the game when he jumped on a pass from Herbert and took it the other way for a Pick-6 off a 99-yard run.

With that, Kansas City rallied from a 10-point deficit to beat the Chargers 27-24 to kick off Week 2. The Chiefs improve to 2-0 and grab the AFC West lead, although the Chargers (1-1) remain a threat.

Sportsbooks had the Chiefs winning by a small margin and didn’t disappoint. The Chargers covered the 4-point spread, which will make more than a few sports bettors happy.

The over/under for the game was 54. History and the competitive nature of these two teams seemed to indicate an over was in order. It missed, but not by much. Who knows what would have happened if Herbert hadn’t suffered his debilitating injury.