NFL News & Analysis

NFL Week 17 PFF ReFocused: Los Angeles Chargers 38, Kansas City Chiefs 21

Kansas City, Missouri, USA; Los Angeles Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert (10) throws a pass against the Kansas City Chiefs during the first half at Arrowhead Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

There was nothing other than draft position and statistics on the line in this one. When the dust settled, the statistics for one rookie quarterback were special this season: Justin Herbert sent a reminder to Chiefs fans everywhere that he’ll be a thorn in their side for the foreseeable future.

Editor's note: All of PFF's grades and advanced stats from this game will be finalized and made available to ELITE subscribers within 24 hours of the final whistle.

Story of the Game

The story of the game was quite easily the Chargers quarterback. Even without top target Keenan Allen, Herbert still made quick work of the Chiefs' depleted defense. He didn’t have a single turnover-worthy play on the day. With his one big-time throw, he finished the season with 30 total. In what was a special rookie season, Herbert set the rookie record for touchdown passes (31) and completions (396). 

Jan 3, 2021; Kansas City, Missouri, USA; Los Angeles Chargers wide receiver Mike Williams (81) reacts after catching a pass for a touchdown against Kansas City Chiefs cornerback Antonio Hamilton (20) during the second half at Arrowhead Stadium. Credit: Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

Sunday also marked a nice little silver lining in what was a disappointing year for wide receiver Mike Williams. Williams took a massive back seat to Allen for much of the year in terms of target share in the offense, but with Allen out, Williams showed he can still carry a WR1 workload. He caught six balls for 108 yards, including a 48-yard score where he manhandled Antonio Hamilton.

Rookie Watch

Besides Herbert, the Chargers also got some of their best contributions of the season from their other first-round pick. Kenneth Murray had a bit of an up and down year, but against the Chiefs he did exactly what was asked. He had two stops on the day and wasn’t targeted once on 30 coverage snaps.

The Chiefs used the glorified bye week to get a look at some of their rookies. Once again it was the UDFA defensive tackle Tershawn Wharton who stole the show. He missed two tackles, but he also had multiple impact plays against the run and will finish the season as a top-three graded rookie defensive tackle. 

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