Mahomes era off to a strong start as Chiefs top Chargers 38-28
CARSON, Calif. (AP) — Tyreek Hill scored three touchdowns, Patrick Mahomes passed for his first four NFL scores and the Kansas City Chiefs opened the season with a 38-28 victory over the Los Angeles Chargers on Sunday.
Hill had a 91-yard punt return for a score and a 58-yard TD reception during the first quarter before adding a 1-yard reception for a score in the fourth quarter to put the game out of reach.
Hill also had 169 yards on seven receptions, which is the second-most yards by a Chiefs receiver in an opener, according to Pro Football Reference. Carlos Carson had 173 yards receiving against New Orleans in 1985.
Mahomes, who moved into the starting spot after Alex Smith was traded to Washington in the offseason, was 15 of 27 for 256 yards as the Chiefs extended their winning streak over the Chargers to nine.
After the Chargers got the opening kickoff but went three-and-out, Hill took Drew Kaser’s punt 91 yards for a touchdown just 1 minute, 57 seconds into the game. The third-year receiver fielded the punt near the right hash mark, but quickly found an opening up the left sideline.
It was Hill’s fourth punt return for a touchdown in 32 games and the Chiefs’ league-leading seventh since 2013.
After Caleb Sturgis’ 45-yard field goal got the Chargers on the board, Mahomes threw his first touchdown pass in the NFL, connecting with Hill for 58 yards. Hill caught the pass at the Chargers 47 and eluded a diving tackle by Jahleel Addae as he found a seam up the left sideline.
Los Angeles would get within two at 14-12 with 7:47 remaining in the second quarter on Philip Rivers’ 13-yard touchdown pass to Austin Ekeler. The Chargers were unable to tie as their 2-point attempt failed.
Kansas City would take control in the third quarter on a pair of TD passes by Mahomes passes to make it 31-12. He had a 1-yard shovel pass to De’Anthony Thomas and then had a 36-yard score to Anthony Sherman after Ron Parker intercepted a pass by Rivers at the Chiefs 14.
A 20-yard TD reception by Keenan Allen and 2-point conversion catch by Antonio Gates brought the Chargers within 11, but JJ Jones’ fumble of a punt at the Chargers 2 and subsequent Hill touchdown made the deficit too much to overcome.
Rivers had a pair of touchdowns in the fourth quarter, a 20-yarder to Allen and 4 yards to Tyrell Williams.
Rivers was 34 of 51 for 424 yards with three touchdowns and an interception. Allen had eight receptions for 108 yards and Melvin Gordon nine for 102.
Chargers: RT Joe Barksdale was carted off after injuring his right knee during the first quarter and did not return. He missed five games last season due to a turf toe injury.
Chiefs: Continue their road trip next Sunday at Pittsburgh. Kansas City has dropped three of its last four to the Steelers in the regular season.
Chargers: Travel to Buffalo next Sunday in the first of two straight road games. The Chargers have won three straight and five of the last six against Buffalo.