Instant analysis of Chiefs’ Week 3 loss to Chargers

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The Kansas City Chiefs never get a chance to play in the easy games and this week was no different.

After the first defensive drive and most of the first offensive drive, it looked like things were going to swing their way before everything came crumbling down. Three turnovers and a 14-point deficit later, this game was looking like it was going to end in disappointment. Sure enough, this team didn’t give up and battled their way back to a chance to win the game. Ultimately, the mistakes were too much for the team to overcome.

So what did we learn about the Chiefs in their third game of the 2021 NFL season?

Final score: Chargers 30, Chiefs 24

Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

The Chiefs started this game off in the best possible way, forcing a three-and-out against the Chargers offense. Patrick Mahomes got the ball and the Chiefs offense was dealing until they dug themselves a massive hole with three consecutive drives with turnovers. In true Chiefs fashion, the team managed to score 17 unanswered points to go up over Los Angeles in the third quarter. It really came down to a late-game interception thrown by Mahomes. The game was tied up at 24 and Mahomes was trying to put the team on his back to win the game. He heaved the ball downfield toward Travis Kelce and the Chargers came away with the interception that put the Chiefs defense back on the field. No matter how much improvement the defense showed during the course of the game, they didn't show up in crunch time and neither did the offense.

Weekly awards

AP Photo/Ed Zurga

  • Chiefs Wire Game Ball: TE Travis Kelce

  • Harrison Butker Rookie of the Game: LB Nick Bolton

  • Casey Wiegmann Veteran of the Game: Chiefs WR Mecole Hardman

  • Jamaal Charles Offensive Player of the Game: RB Clyde Edwards-Helaire

  • Bobby Bell Defensive Player of the Game: DE Mike Danna

  • Morten Andersen Special Teams Player of the Game: K Harrison Butker

  • Otis Taylor Play of the Game: TE Jody Fortson 2-yard touchdown catch

  • Wesley Roesch Stat of the Game: 33 first downs by Kansas City Chiefs

Quick-hitting observations and analysis

Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

  • Opening the game with a three-and-out that featured good tackling and rush defense was a huge statement by the defense. It was exactly what you want to see from the defense after a listless performance in Week 2.

  • The first offensive drive was really impressive for the Chiefs until the turnovers began to happen. The team was really getting anything they wanted, but things snowballed once the first interception happened.

  • Patrick Mahomes is typically infallible, but he really struggled with the pocket today. He was hesitant to step up into the pocket at times when it was very clearly clean. Not sure if this is still a trust issue with the new offensive line, but they've got to do a better job there.

  • The defense helped keep Kansas City in this game, showing signs of improvement against the run. The area where they need desperate improvement and have seen none is in the red zone. Opponents have taken 12 trips to the red zone and the Chiefs have in turn surrendered 11 touchdowns. Do you want a blueprint to beating Kansas City? Get your team to the red zone and 91.6% of the time you'll end up with a touchdown.

  • Chiefs linebackers continued to have their issues in coverage. It's to be expected against a dominant pass-catching back like Austin Ekeler, but you hoped to see some improvement there.

  • You can't take away Clyde Edwards-Helaire's fumble in the first quarter, but he put in his best day of work this season on Sunday. He was running the ball and seeing the field well, notching over 100 yards from scrimmage for the first time this season. They kept going back to him and it paid off for the team. Credit to the offensive line too. They were opening up some nice rushing lanes for Edwards-Helaire and company.

  • Pressure still didn't come easily for Kansas City in Week 3. Mike Danna got the lone sack of the game, his second career sack of Justin Herbert. It's disappointing because the Chargers had a backup right tackle in the game.

  • The Chiefs put themselves in the position to lose this game. Sure they were in it until the end of the game, but tell me a team that is expected to win when you lose the turnover battle 4-0. Kansas City is the only team even capable of having a chance. Those are games that most teams lose and right now, the Chiefs are looking like most teams.

Up next

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The Chiefs will head to Philadelphia to take on the Eagles in Week 4. This is the second time that Andy Reid has returned to Philadelphia since he's been the head coach in Kansas City. His first trip was back in 2013, resulting in a 26-16 win. These teams last played at Arrowhead in 2017 with a 27-20 win by the Chiefs.

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